What are the job opportunities for studying English Language and Linguistics?

More Info about the jobs for English Language course in Linguistics.

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You could get a job as a teacher or researcher, of course.  However, you could go to graduate school and become a speech pathologist.  This is a very interesting, very important profession.  You can work as a school or as a private practice.

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The degree you are asking about is more popular on the British/European side of the Atlantic than on the American side. This degree usually has two focuses: (1) further research in linguistics fields in doctoral studies, often with university professorship in mind; (2) teaching in multi-dialectical or multilingual school environments.

Two ways to expand career options for English Language and Linguisitcs degrees is to modify the degree with (1) Communications by either adding communications modules to your existing course or by switiching to English Language and Communications or with (2) English as a Second or Learned Language (ESL/ELL) or TEFL abroad focus. This second option seems almost exclusively geared to teaching.

The University of Essex, UK, has a very helpful list of positions their students have undertaken with English Language and Linguistics degrees. Some are:

  • Editorial Assistant, McGraw-Hill
  • Production Assistant, Channel 5
  • Reporter, Boston Target
  • Research journalist, IT Europa
  • Conference Co-ordinator, Posthouse Hotel
  • Brand Development Executive, Holsten UK
  • Foreign Exchange Consultant, Thomas Cook
  • Travel Agent, All Star Services
  • Sports Development Assistant, Essex County Council

The University of Essex also has a very nice list of jobs links:

Careers in English Language & Linguistics ...
Courses in ... English Language or Linguistics equip graduates with a wide range of skills ... highly prized by employers in a variety of professions.

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Without a good knowledge of the English language a graduate is severely handicapped in the job market. This does not mean, however, that it is necessary to major in English. A student can take courses in composition and literature which will improve his or her English, and good English can be learned in studying history, philosophy, and many other subjects. A student can, and should, also continue to improve his or her knowledge of English independently by reading good books and magazines and by practicing writing essays, stories, articles, even poetry. It is very difficult to become proficient in English (or any other language). It takes years of study and practice. It includes adding to one's vocabulary, conversation, listening, following intelligent and informed persons on TV and radio. It is actually a lifelong pursuit, but one with increasing satisfactions.

English majors who go out into the world looking for jobs are often in for a shock. They are scattered to the four winds like dandelion seeds. Many end up in the business world as management trainees, pharmaceutical representatives, bank tellers, real estate salesmen--they are to be found everywhere because there are so many English majors and there is usually a demand for clean-cut young trainees who can express themselves well in English. But there is a danger of ending up in a line of work that is not compatible with one's interests and personality. 

Every intelligent person who lives in an English-speaking country should strive to become proficient in the English language but not necessarily expect to make a career out of just being able to speak and write good English.

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A B.A. in English is a generalist degree that certifies that you have good reading and writing skills. It is not really a vocational degree. If you are a strong writer, you could consider journalism, marketing, PR, corporate communications, etc., especially if you have strong computer skills as well. If you are a native speaker of another language fluent in English, you might also work as a translator.

An English degree with a low GPA and weak writing skills really is not a solid job qualification.

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