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"What can you do with a degree in English?"
Maybe your parents have asked you that. Or maybe you've asked yourself. You know that you love to read and write, but you're unsure if you can make a living from it.
Relax. Majoring in English remains one of the smartest career choices you can make. That's because English majors cultivate skills that are at once applicable to particular careers (such as publishing and teaching) and transferrable to a great variety of fields-anything that requires analytical and critical abilities, writing and speaking prowess, creativity, and versatility.
Want proof? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations that employ English majors will grow at the average rate for all occupations between 2006-2016. For teachers, the picture looks even better: while growth in the field will keep pace with the national average, the current size of the profession, as well as the large number of retirements expected in the next decade, will make demand for new teachers among the highest of all occupations.
For information about the career outlook for English majors nationwide, try the following links:
You might also want to consult these books at your local library or bookstore:
Tim Lemire, I'm an English Major-Now What? Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest, 2006.
Shelley O'Hara, What Can You Do with a Major in English? Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005
And for something closer to home, check out these profiles of recent La Roche English grads:
I am originally from Johnstown , PA , where I went to Westmont Hilltop High School . I came to La Roche by way of baseball coach Rich Pasquale and played baseball for two years before an injury ended my career. During my first two years of college, my majors were CIS and then Marketing. After writing a few articles for the Courier , and based on the advice of several faculty members, I changed my major to English Education. I also earned a Spanish minor with credits from the University of Salamanca in Salamanca , Spain . After graduation in 2007, I was employed as a long-term substitute teacher at Shaler Area High School and then was hired at North Allegheny School District as an 8th grade English teacher. In 2008, I won the prestigious Leadership Development Award, given annually to a teacher in his or her first five years of teaching who has taken a leadership role in an NCTE affiliate. (If anyone's counting, that makes two English Ed grads from La Roche who have won this award in the past two years!) I couldn't be happier with where I am-teaching is, in my opinion, the best job in the world.
I chose La Roche based on a few factors. The best of both worlds was available: small school atmosphere in a metropolitan area. More than this, however, La Roche has personality. When I say "personality," I don't mean that it simply has an identity, as most schools do. La Roche is more than just a multi-million dollar football program or a place to tell your friends you're proud to go. It is a place that values education as a complete process-from the classroom to the field to the extracurricular opportunities. Although this might sound clichéd, La Roche is a place in which a student can grow as an individual, not just a professional.
Specifically concerning the English program, I cannot say enough positive things. The English Department faculty are intellectual, scholarly, and well-informed, as well as respected not just at La Roche, but within the inner circle. They are also caring, nurturing people who honestly want to see you do your best. A lot of college students make lifelong friends with their fraternity or sorority members. For me, some of my most enduring friendships occurred within the English Department, whether it was through working in the Writers' Center, the Courier , or just any one of a number of professors I keep in touch with or give a call to on different occasions. Moreover, the English department provided me a life-changing education that I'll never forget. It wasn't the type of education that you apply just to your job and then forget it when you go home; it's the type that becomes a part of shaping who you are for the rest of your life.
My name is Ryan McBriar, and I am originally from Pittsburgh , PA. I graduated from Shaler Area High School and earned two Bachelor's Degrees from La Roche College, one in English Language and Literature and another in English Education. After working four summers for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth and completing my student teaching at Highlands High School in Natrona Heights , I moved to Warren , PA and accepted a position as a High School English Teacher at Corry Middle-High School in Corry , PA. I currently teach English to grades 9-12 and plan to pursue a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction through Gannon University .
After completing my four-year degree in English Language and Literature in 2002, I considered my options concerning what career to pursue. Having met many great professors in the English Department, I decided to return to La Roche and complete the degree and certification process in order to become an English teacher. The faculty at La Roche were integral in helping me attain my goal of pursing education as a career. The classes I took during this period, most notably Methods of Teaching English and Methods of Teaching Literature, provided me with practical teaching ideas and units of instruction that aided me greatly as a first-year teacher. The overall philosophy of education at La Roche influenced me in ways that surface in my classroom on a daily basis. Also, the teachers with whom I worked as a student were available and willing to offer assistance long after I earned my degree, and this is something I value highly.
I came to La Roche as a transfer international student from Jordan . Having been an English Literature major for a year at Yarmouk University , I decided to continue my studies in the Department of English Language and Literature at La Roche too. My experience in the English program was overwhelmingly positive: the small, discussion-based classes, the emphasis on student learning, the opportunities for self-development, and most importantly, the amazing faculty have all made me a better student and teacher.
In La Roche's English Department, the professors take a serious and sincere interest in their students; they make every literature class an occasion for critical reflection and development. They pushed me to read more, write better, think more critically and voice my opinions and concerns. Our assignments were read carefully, evaluated fairly and always remembered. Students were recognized for their individual talents, interests, and personal life goals.
Although my time at La Roche was brief, I have made life-long friendships with faculty from the English Department. These relationships have facilitated and shaped my graduate education in more ways than one. Professors Christine Abbott, Joshua Bellin, Linda Jordan Platt, and Rita Yeasted have collectively provided me with constant academic advice and emotional support throughout my 7+ years of graduate education! I am now completing my Ph.D. degree in the Department of English at Queen's University and hope one day to create a similar welcoming and nurturing environment for my own students.