Career in English and Applied Linguistics
Most of us become English majors because we enjoy reading and writing, but it is not always clear how these interests translate into a career path.
Once you become an English major, people will sometimes assume that you plan to teach grammar or become a librarian. Though these are noble professions, your career options are richer and more varied than this.
English majors find work in a variety of different fields. They often work in education as both teachers and administrators. They also work in publishing and media fields, as well as business, public relations, banking, real estate, government, health care and legal professions. English majors are able to find careers in any profession where reading, writing, research and communication skills are valued and rewarded.
This recent USF graph demonstrates the diverse career options that are open to English majors:
Resourceful Generalists and Writing Specialists
One thing employers consistently want from employees is the ability to process written information and communicate clearly.
Writing, research and critical thinking skills are essential to high level work in almost every business or institution. This is good news for HPU English majors and writing minors.
If you can demonstrate an ability to write/analyze reports, write letters, develop clear written instructions and prepare presentations, you will increase your chances of getting hired (and promoted) in a variety of different professions.
Links to career resources that may be suitable for English majors
Continuing your education is certainly an option, but you should consider the following things:
Cost (How will you pay?)
Location (Where are you willing to go?)
Time (2-3 years for an MA or 5-8 for a PhD)
If you are passionate about your studies, want to continue them,and have a clear career goal, then graduate school may be a good investment. Avoid going just because you can't think of what else to do or dislike the idea of starting other work.
More information on applying to grad school
It is never too early to start thinking about your plans. Imagine where you would like to be in 5 - 10 years and consider small steps that will help to get you there.
This could involve taking a class, applying for an internship to gain experience, or stopping by the HPU Career Services Center to learn about job fairs, workshops and counseling services.
It could also just mean having a conversation with your professors about career paths.
Remember that your career is not your life. Most people will end up doing multiple jobs during the lives. Leave yourself room to explore and experiment.
Our graduates typically move on to a teaching career. Some pursue a doctoral degree immediately after our program or a few years later.
There are many different kinds of jobs in the field of teaching English as a second or foreign language. The lists below are not exhaustive but are meant to demonstrate the range of career opportunities available. Opportunities range greatly from place to place.
Teaching Positions in the United States
- State or district departments of education (public schools), public colleges and universities, and private schools on all levels.
- Private language schools and universities which offer courses that may be described as academic English programs (AEP) or college prep courses, or English for Special Purposes (ESP) such as preparing students for careers in business or the travel industry.
- State-funded community schools for adults or state libraries. For example, in Hawai‘i, Farrington, McKinley, Kaimuki, ‘Aiea, Kalāheo, Hilo, and other sites have classes for immigrant adults. The Chicago and New York public libraries offer ESL literacy courses for immigrants.
- Bilingual education classes. These programs are found in Canada and some US states.
- Citizenship classes. Such classes are common in states where there is heavy immigration. In Hawaii, citizenship classes are offered through the community schools and some not-for-profit agencies such as Adult and Family Services.
- Developmental English classes. These are classes in academic writing and study skills for native speakers of English who are not adequately prepared for college-level work. Community colleges often hire people with M.A. degrees in ESL for such classes.
- Companies or corporations with English language programs for immigrant employees.
Teaching Positions Abroad
Our graduates can find teaching careers in countries where English is spoken as a foreign language (EFL).
- Public schools, from kindergarten to college levels.
- Private schools, with both for-profit and not-for-profit entities. For example, native speakers of English are employed as language professors in the medical schools and technical training institutions in Japan.
- International companies or corporations with English language programs for employees or clients. For example, the Walt Disney company in China sometimes hire English teachers to work with children in their programs.
A TESOL graduate may also find jobs in fields related to language education such as:
- CALL Coordinator Program Coordinator
- Course Developer Resource Teacher
- Department Head Student Advisor
- Literacy Center Director Student Life and Activities Coordinator
- Materials Developer Teacher Trainer
- Media Center Director Testing and Assessment Coordinator
- Parent-School Liaison Tutoring and Writing Center Coordinator
Government-sponsored and non-governmental agencies that recruit, place, and oversee ESL/EFL positions in the U.S. and abroad:
- AmeriCorps offers two-year positions in urban and rural schools in the United States. Some of this work is in ESL.
- English Language Fellows (ELFs) are English language resource teachers sponsored by the U.S. State Department and stationed around the world.
- The English Program in Korea (EPIK) is a government sponsored program that seeks to place native speakers of English in schools throughout Korea.
- The Fulbright Teaching Fellows program places qualified language specialists in positions throughout the world.
- The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) selects native English speakers from all over the world to work 1-3 years as assistant language teachers (ALT) to teach English in all parts of Japan.
- The U.S. Peace Corps sends and supports English teachers (among many other jobs) to developing countries around the world on two-year assignments.
For information about current job listings in TESOL, email our Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org to request to be on our job email list, or check out TESOL bulletin board on the 2nd floor of the MP building.
Our TESOL Working Paper Series is an excellent place for students to publish their first papers, which often prepares them well for further graduate studies.