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Job and Wage Outlook for Those with a Master’s Degree in English

Job Market Outlook June 18, 2015

Armed with a master’s degree in English, a graduate can avail opportunities for a career in numerous fields, such as advertising, publishing, education, marketing, and media. While career opportunities can vary by sector, these graduates can seek employment in editing, teaching, and writing positions.


Editors are in many sectors, including magazines, newspapers, businesses, publishing companies, and organizations. These professionals edit the work of writers and content developed for publication; they may also do some writing. A production team is typically relied on by an editor to ensure the timely completion of content and articles. Freelancing is preferable to some editors, who choose to do project work with one or more organizations or companies.

Job Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a negative job growth of two percent has been predicted for editors (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The growth of technology, including the rise of websites, drives the job growth. With the increasing use of the Internet and other electronic media by organizations, businesses, and educational institutions, there is a growing need for editors. Individuals interested in the profession could benefit from the knowledge of electronic media and digital tools such as software.

Wage Outlook

In 2012, editors in the book, newspaper, and periodical publishing industry brought in an average hourly wage of $30.02 (BLS). Salaried editors employed by software publishers earned $87,060 per annum, on average. Many companies hire freelance editors and may pay them on a project-basis, varying according to the project or organization.


Writers are in numerous industries, including technology, publishing, not-for-profit, business, media, and advertising, to write website copy, technical manuals, magazine articles or company newsletters. As with editors, freelancing is the chosen option of some writers.

Career Information

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, the job growth of three percent has been predicted for writers. Technical writers could witness a 15% growth during that period (BLS). Science and technology could drive job growth rapidly for these workers, leading to the need for skilled writers of manuals and other literature on the related subject areas.

Wage Outlook

In 2012, writers and authors brought in an average annual wage of $55,940. Technical writers earned $65,500, on average per annum, and salaries range from $38,700 to $101,660 (BLS). Electric power generation companies and software publishers most commonly hire writers and pay respective average annual wages of $104,100 and $78,110. Writers hired by the advertising and public relations sector earned an average annual wage of $76,790.


Holders of a master’s degree in English can seek college and high school level teaching jobs. English, literature, and writing may be taught by them, in accordance with the areas they studied in graduate school. English teachers are required to plan lessons, give lectures and grade papers.

Job Outlook

Holders of a Ph.D. can seek full-time teaching assignments at colleges and universities; community colleges may also hire them. They can seek high school level English teaching jobs after pursuing continuing education, such as a dual teaching degree and licensure. Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, college teachers are expected to see a job growth of 19% (BLS). Over the same period, a job growth rate of six percent has been predicted for secondary school teachers (BLS).

Wage Outlook

In 2012, college teachers brought in an average annual wage of $64,290. English teachers within junior colleges earned $65,500, on average per annum, and high school teachers banked average annual wages ranging between $36,930 and $85,690. In May 2012, the average annual wage earned by high school teachers was $55,050 (BLS).

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