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.

View popular schools

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.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agricultural Education for Teachers
  • Art Teacher Education
  • Biology Education for Teachers
  • Business Teacher Education
  • Chemistry Teacher Education
  • Drama and Dance Teacher Education
  • Driver Safety Teacher Education
  • English Teacher Education
  • Foreign Language Education for Teachers
  • French Language Teacher Education
  • Geography Teacher Education
  • German Language Teacher Education
  • Health Occupations Teacher Education
  • Health Teacher Education
  • History Teacher Education
  • Home Economics Teacher Education
  • Industrial Arts Teacher Education
  • Latin Teacher Education
  • Mathematics Teacher Education
  • Music Teacher Education
  • Physical Education and Coaching
  • Physics Teacher Education
  • Psychology Teacher Education
  • Sales and Marketing Teacher Education
  • Science Teacher Education
  • Social Science Teacher Education
  • Social Studies Teacher Education
  • Spanish Education for Teachers
  • Speech Teacher Education
  • Teaching, Computers
  • Teaching, Reading
  • Technical Teacher Education
  • Vocational Teacher Education

Alternative Career Options

Similar career options include:

Archivist

An archivist collects, appraises, and preserves historically important documents and materials. Archivists may also organize these materials and create finding aids so that they can be accessed from storage easily and used for research purposes. Some archivists pursue an area of specialty, either in a subject or period in time. Entry-level employment is possible with a bachelor's degree in history, library science, or a related field; however, advanced and management positions may require a Ph.D. in one of these or a related field. The BLS reports that jobs for archivists are expected to increase 7% from 2014-2024. The BLS also reported that archivists earned median pay of $50,250 in 2015.

Archaeologist

An archaeologist studies past civilizations, including their culture, language, and social development through examination of artifacts that illuminate the historical record. Fieldwork includes locating, observing, and analyzing found items, such as pottery, artwork, or structural remains, to build a narrative about past cultures. A minimum of a master's degree is required for employment; a Ph.D. is typically required for international fieldwork or advancement, including employment as a museum curator. According to the BLS, jobs for anthropologists and archaeologists are expected to increase 4% from 2014-2024. The median pay of anthropologists and archaeologists was $61,220 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?