Career and Salary Info for a Masters Degree in English

Sep 23, 2019

A master's in English includes advanced classes in writing, editing and communications. Find out about the curricula for the master's program, and learn about career options, job outlook and salary information for English major graduates.

You know how to consolidate, summarize and present information in a way that is easily understood and interesting to read. You're the creative and detail oriented person who can capture the attention of students, root out grammatical mistakes, fine tune content with edits, or demonstrate proficiency with multimedia software. With a master's degree in English, you can use your writing and communication skills to pursue a career in editing, writing or teaching.

Essential Information

Holding a master's degree in English provides opportunities for a career in multiple industries, including publishing, advertising, marketing, education and media. Before you obtain a master's in English, you'll have to complete a bachelor's degree program. The type of bachelor's degree you graduate with depends on the career path you decide to take. Read on for more information about the careers and jobs available for a master's in English.

Careers Editor Writer Postsecondary Teacher
Required Education for career advancement Bachelor's degree in communications, journalism or English is typically required Bachelor's degree in English, journalism, or communications is typically required Master's in English for community college
Other Requirements Internship Internship, on-the-job training Ph.D. to teach at four-year school
_Median Annual Salary (May 2018)*_ $59,480 $62,170 (for all Writers and Authors) $66,590 (for English language and literature teachers, postsecondary)
Projected Job Outlook (2018-2028)* 3% decline 0% (for all Writers and Authors) 4% growth (for English language and literature teachers, postsecondary)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Editors are found in many sectors, including newspapers, magazines, publishing companies, businesses and organizations. These professionals edit writers' work, help develop content for a publication and may even do some writing themselves. Typically, editors work with a production team to ensure articles and content are completed on schedule. Some editors choose to freelance, doing project work either with one or more companies or organizations.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for editors is projected to see a 3% decline from 2018-2028. The rise of websites and other new technology could see a growing need for editors, especially as businesses, organizations and educational institutions begin to utilize the Internet and other electronic media. In that respect, it could be useful to have knowledge of electronic media and an understanding of software or other digital tools.

In 2018, editors in the newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers averaged $31.68 an hour, based on BLS data. Salaried editors working for colleges, universities, and professional schools had an average salary of $64,550 and editors in all fields received an annual median salary of $59,480. Freelance editors typically acquire income through many companies and might be paid on a project-basis, which can vary depending on the organization or the project.


Writers work in many industries, such as publishing, technology, business, not-for-profit, advertising and media. They might write technical manuals, website copy, company newsletters or magazine articles. Just like editors, some writers choose to freelance as a source of income.

Employment for writers is projected to have no change within the 2018-2028 periods, although technical writers might see a 8% growth in employment, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Science and technology might see rapid growth in employing writers. This growth is due to the advancement of technology and the need for skilled people to write manuals and other literature on the topic.

In 2018, the BLS reported that salaried writers and authors had a median income of $62,170. Technical writers' median income was $71,850, with most incomes ranging from $43,110 to $114,930. Computer systems design services and management, scientific, and technical consulting services were among the top two employers of technical writers, paying $78,630 and $74,990 respectively. Writers in the independent artists, writers, and performers industry had a mean salary of $104,450.


Individuals holding a master's degree in English can choose to teach in colleges and high schools. They might teach English, writing and literature classes, depending on the areas studied during graduate school. English teachers are responsible for planning lessons, giving lectures and grading papers.

While teaching full-time at the college and university level usually requires a Ph.D., individuals might be able to find work at community colleges. They can teach high school English courses by completing additional education, such as pursing a dual teaching degree and acquiring a teaching license. Employment growth for postsecondary teachers is projected to grow 11% between 2018-2028, according to the BLS. Employment for secondary school teachers is projected to grow 4% within the same time period, based on the BLS' data.

The BLS indicates in 2018 the median salary for English language and literature postsecondary teachers was $66,590. Most high school teachers earned salaries ranging from $39,740 to $97,500. As of May 2018, the median wage for high school teachers was $60,320.

The fields with the largest job growth for applicants holding a master's degree in English are postsecondary education and technical writing. In order to work at a four year school, English professors will likely need to obtain a Ph.D. Many technical writing positions will also require knowledge in a specific field, such as medicine, computer science, or web design.

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