English Literature Professor: Job Description and Requirements

Find out what a job as an English literature professor entails. Learn about education requirements for employment. Get the career prospects and earning potential for this career to see if it's a good fit for you.

Career Definition for English Literature Professors

An English literature professor often holds a teaching position at a post-secondary institution like a college or university. Duties of an English literature professor include delivering lectures, developing and grading test papers, reviewing textbooks and other course supplemental materials, and interacting with students and peers. An English literature professor may choose to publish research materials in a chosen area of specialization.

Education Graduate degree in related field of study
Job Duties Delivering lectures, grading papers, reviewing textbooks
Median Salary (2015)* $61,990 per year
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 13% (all postsecondary teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

An English lit professor at an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university will often hold a graduate degree such as a doctorate in English literature. Many institutions award tenure status to full professors who have demonstrated a strong record of teaching, administrative service, and published research. Tenured positions are those where the holder is protected from termination.

Skills Required

A major requirement for a career as an English lit professor is the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in written form. An ability to interact with others is also important. An English literature professor often enjoys reading and research, and is able to explain difficult concepts to others.

Career and Economic Outlook

The career outlook for English lit professors is generally strong. Employment opportunities for post-secondary teachers are projected to increase at a rate of 13% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). This rate is faster than average for all jobs. The BLS reported the median annual salary of an English lit professor as $61,990 in 2015. An English literature professor may earn additional income from writing, lecturing, or textbook endorsements.

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