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What Does a Career in English Education Entail?

A career in English education is a tightly focused career path. Once you have a bachelor’s degree in education and English, which you can earn through an online degree program, and finish your student teaching you will be able to gain your initial teacher licensure and teach English in any format up to high school. With some extra credentials you could also teach English as a second language (TESOL) to immigrants or in other countries. English education professionals teach at levels from elementary through post-doctoral research. Education and tutoring are the essential mission of English educators, though they may also engage in professional writing through technical writing or creative writing, using critical thinking and the skills they have learned while earning their degrees. Whether as a teacher, researcher, or practitioner of many language-based fields of endeavor, English education can offer prospective students and English majors a meaningful challenge and a rewarding career path teaching elementary or high school students or focusing on new teacher education degree programs after earning a graduate degree.


Components of A Successful Career In English Education

English education places a premium on the power of language to carry ideas and to make change. English education teaches a necessary element of many other fields such as law, communications, business, technology, and nearly every other human endeavor that depends on language. Some components of a successful career include the below-described traits and abilities.

Creativity is a key to success in English language education. Educators may have a deep immersion in the literature and history of given periods such as African-American literature, world literature, British literature, American literature, contemporary literature, Renaissance literature, etc. They must discover and translate ideas and values into relatable messages that can apply to today and tomorrow . Communication skills and writing skills gained through an English program can help college students express those ideas.

Critical analysis is a type of critical thinking that involves insight, abstract reasoning, and expression. Texts can be complex and contain many value beneath the printed or spoken words. Beyond English language and professional writing courses, many literature courses exist to help students learn to analyze texts, which can be applied to old and new texts alike. This might also be apply to literary criticism.

The imagination contained in the rich history of literature forms a basis of study and practice in creative processes. The human imagination is the engine of literature and writing of nearly every kind and application.

Communication skills, especially written communication skills, are a difference maker and a distinguishing factor in the world of business and nearly all other employment, and is a reliable predictor of career success in nearly every field.

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How to Earn an Online Degree in English Education

  • Select a general English education or something related, such as Teaching or TESOL
  • Review college and universities with outstanding English and Education programs
  • Select one or more accredited institutions with these programs
  • Apply for admission
  • Apply for financial aid and scholarships

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Typical English Education Degree Requirements

english_education_degree_requirements The typical degrees in English Education are the Associate of Arts, the Bachelor of Arts, and the Master of Arts. These are available from community colleges, colleges, and universities across the US and are the main way for education students to complete a teacher education program and gain a teaching license. Some of these include online courses or online programs and all include student teaching. Online English degree programs are very accessible for all kinds of students, but you should ensure that you only consider accredited schools.

An online associate degree is a two-year degree that requires about 60 semester hours of education. This is an entry-level degree for a career in English education, though those who complete only this degree will never be high school English teachers in the US. An associate degree would allow you to move to another country and teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) if you’re looking for something exciting. However, most jobs in the US require a Bachelor of Arts in English or Bachelor of Science in English and/or Education and a full teaching license for you to work as a preschool through high school English teacher. You could work as a teacher’s assistant or in a preschool, but you will not be able to work in a public middle or high school. Only a bachelor’s or master’s can open the full range of English education career opportunities and allow you to begin teaching English and teach students at nearly any level. An online bachelor's degree in English is just as respected as an in-person degree, so there's no worry there.

A bachelor’s degree usually requires about 120 semester hours of coursework. The on-time completion time is eight semesters or four years. To teach students English with this degree you’ll need to acquire a bachelor’s in elementary or secondary education, or you might get a bachelor’s in English with a minor in Education. If you’re hoping to work in a specific state, check their usual requirements for English teachers in early childhood education, elementary, middle, or high school. There are additional options in federal financial aid for teachers earning degrees at this level, as well, though you may lose this funding if you shift into degrees for media and communications occupations.

A Master’s requires a bachelor’s degree from an English program, a teaching degree program, or another related field and about 30 semester hours of graduate education. If the bachelor’s degree is in an unrelated field, schools may ask for additional coursework beyond the usual 30 hours of graduate study.

Typical English Education Certifications Needed

Many fields do not require certifications, but the teaching discipline often requires licensing and certification at the state level after you earn your teaching or English degree. Public schools require licensed teachers at the elementary and secondary education levels. Some disciplines such as TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) may require certifications regarding English comprehension, vocabulary, and language competence.

Academic Standards for an English Education Degree

english_education_standards_degree.jpgThe academic standards for English Education vary from traditional approaches. They emphasize English literature as the hub to more modern concepts that revolve around composition and rhetoric. Modern genres can be multimedia or internet-based and are designed to meet more global standards for language and usages.

Most importantly, any degree in education will require an internship-style period of time spent teaching at a school under the supervision of a licensed teaching professional. This is called student teaching, during which those who wish to be high school teachers will teach high school students under supervision of secondary teachers who already have their license. A degree in English education is no different. You will spend up to several months engaged in your student teaching experience, teaching English to your chosen grade level, either while you complete your college-level degree (such as a Bachelor of Arts) or just after.

Exam/Experience Needed for an English Education Degree

As previously stated, there is an internship-style experience necessary to gain your teaching license. You will also need to be credentialed by whatever state you plan to teach in. A TESOL position will require accreditation as well. It can take up to 12 months to earn your TESOL credentials. However, experience is not a prerequisite to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree. High school students can have an advantage if they have a strong background in literature, critical thinking, speech, and debate.

English Teacher Degree Choices & Courses

Students can choose the type of degree that wish to pursue. The associate degree may offer the quickest path the entering the field of English education. However, this degree has limited usefulness as an entry-level degree.

The online associate degree can support a shorter time to complete a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree is the entry-level credential that opens the fields for a wide range of occupations. The master’s degree qualifies graduates for upper-level educator opportunities, research, and leadership positions in education and other types of businesses.

Online Associate's Degree in English Education

The curriculum typically divides into three parts. One-third is made up of general education coursework including math, science, and social studies courses. These general education courses also include reading and writing. One-third of the curriculum contains required coursework for the English Education major.

Example Online Coursework for Associate Degree in English Education:

  • Educational Trends
  • Creative Writing
  • Education Technology
  • Language and Literature
  • Comparative Literature
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Online Bachelor’s Degree in English Education

The bachelor’s equips graduates to differentiate language usage across genres of professional writing and rhetoric, linguistics, and literature. Students must be able to research and formulate ideas and analyze them on a side-by-side basis with others. Students must be able to produce rhetorically effective writing across many formats including digital communications.

Example Coursework for Online Bachelor’s Degree in English Education:

  • English
  • Creative Writing
  • Comparative Literature
  • African-American Literature Studies
  • Poetry
  • Literature and Philosophy
  • Literature in (one or more) Foreign Languages

Concentrations for Bachelor’s Degree in English Education:
Linguistics, Post-Secondary Education, Digital Communications

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Online Master’s Degree in English Education

The master’s degree in English education prepares students for careers in college-level teaching. Depending on their specialization they can teach historical literature studies, literature analysis, and more.

Example Coursework for Online Master’s Degree in English Education:

  • Foundations of Literacy & Language
  • Literacy & Language Multicultural Education
  • Introduction to Educational Research
  • Philosophy of Education
  • History of American Education

Concentrations for Master’s Degree in English Education:
18th and 19th century Literature, American Literature, Rhetoric and Composition, Professional Writing, Creative Writing, and Journalism

Read More About an English Education Master’s Degree

Costs of English Education Degrees

Tuition is the basic cost associated with college education. Living expenses add between $10,000 to $12,000 per year for public schools and private schools respectively. The total associate degree cost is about $24,000 per year for tuition and living expenses at private two-year colleges. The same degree’s total cost is about $13,500 at public two-year schools.

Four-year private schools cost about $48,000 per year. Public four-year schools charge less for in-state students ($20,000 per year) than out of state students (about $36,000 per year).

Earning Potential for English Education Degree Fields and Occupations

At nearly every area of the US economy, information supports the conclusion that salaries and income rise with educational attainment. A similar result occurs when studying the impact of experience. As experience increase so do wages, rewards, and responsibilities. The field of English education is consistent with overall patterns. Educational attainment and experience produce the highest average and median levels of salary.

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English Education Fields of Study Median Salaries

  • Writing involves all forms of written communications: technical writing, news and journalism, digital communications, and literary writing.

  • Composition is related to writing, but it focuses on the structure of communications to effect maximum clarity and meaning.

  • Journalism is the art and business of writing for public understanding. This field notably includes news, reporting, TV/Radio, and other traditional mass communications channels. The Internet has changed the scope of journalism with an instantaneous ability to create and disseminate information.

  • Rhetoric is speech in action. It is speech with social consequences such as argument and persuasion. Rhetoric began with the writings of Aristotle, and it has taken on new life in the Internet age as digital communications saturate our lives.

  • Film is not only an expression of English language and a genre for art and communication; it is a medium for learning English. Learning information from film can be motivating and enjoyable.

  • Digital communications is a type of English education aimed at the effective use of Internet technology. Digital communications have an instantaneous impact and a global reach.

Field of Study Average Salary by Degree Level

Fields of Study Associate’s Salary Bachelor’s Salary Master’s Salary
Writing $34,000 $50,000 $55,000
Rhetoric $48,000 $60,000 $67,498
Film $48,000 $52,000 $57,000
Journalism $48,000 $55,000 $59,000
Composition $42,000 $55,000 $63,000
Digital Communications $48,000 $56,000 $95,806

English Education Salaries by Occupation

The precise use of words and language is key to many important occupations and fields. For example, an education major is an ideal focus for a pre-law student or a student that intends to go into business as an entrepreneur. English is the key to superior communications ability. Communications is a foundation in many occupations and enterprises.

English Education Occupations

  • Writers can be technical, literary, contemporary, or fact-based as with news reporting.

  • English composition applies to occupations and fields like speechwriters, editors, and technical writers.

  • Digital strategists operate on the Internet and on digital social media platforms. They can reach a broad audience, and the reach extends globally with the scope of the Internet.

  • Film and TV Producers develop program content for various educational, business, and entertainment purposes.

  • Rhetoric can be an active profession like teaching or in the form of communication as with writers, journalists, and editors. The art of persuasion is practiced in many occupations such as law, business, and marketing.

Annual Salary by Occupation

Occupations Entry-Level Mid-Career Late-Career
Writer $41,000 $54,300 $65,200
Composition $39,000 $51,100 $66,800
Journalist $30,900 $44,400 $57,900
Rhetoric - - -
Film/TV $50,500 $71,500 $106,500
Digital Strategist $44,100 $69,800 $124,800

Important Questions to Ask (FAQ)

How long does it take to earn an English Education bachelor's degree online?

english_education_degree_online  The typical timeframe is four years of full-time attendance. The degree usually completes in eight semesters. The trend across the nation and all degrees is towards a longer time for completing the bachelors. Most students complete in the range of six years. Online education works well for students that have jobs or businesses that require their time and effort. When attending part-time, the degree completion is typically five to six years.

Keep in mind that a bachelor’s degree will allow you to teach, but only up to a certain point. In order to teach English in a middle school or high school, you will need to either double major in English and Education, earning two degrees, or you could minor in one depending on the requirements of your state. A double major can often be completed within four years as long as you take a full load each semester (15 credit hours). However, if you want to teach at any higher level, such as college, you will likely need to go back to school and earn your masters.

How much does an online English Education bachelor’s degree cost?

The costs ranges for a bachelor’s degree in English Education depend on the field and the type of school, college, or university. The four-year totals are described in the below-listed items.

  • The average total cost range for private four-year tuition and living expenses is about $192,000.
  • The average four-year total coast range for public school charging in-state rates is about $85,000.
  • The average cost range for four-year public schools charging out-of-state rates is $145,000.

Does the school have the online major(s) you’re considering?

english_education_accreditation_program University HQ recommends strongly that students align their career goals with their majors. You should take the time to carefully assess your career objectives and the majors offered by the schools you’re considering. Once you’ve determined what degree you are going for, Education and English, English with an Education minor, etc.; then you need to make sure that any school you’re thinking of attending has those options available to you.

How many students graduate “on time,” in four years?

In public schools, the on-time rate is about 35%. In private schools, the on-time rate is about 53%. At the six-year mark, the private school rate is about 68%, and the public rate is about 63%. While the trend does not mean much about the quality of education, it can have a big impact on costs. Each additional year adds to the tuition and expenses needed to complete the degree. Each additional year increases the costs of the degree by about 25% or more.

What kind of accreditation does the online program hold? How is it regarded in the field?

Accreditation is an essential part of selecting a school because it affects the value of a degree. The best type of accreditation is regional accreditation. Regional accreditation comes in the form of institution-wide and program-specific accreditation. Students must carefully examine the kind of accreditation a school has and make sure that it has approval from the US Department of Education. Schools must have accreditation to participate in the federal student loan program, and many scholarships require attendance at an accredited school. The strongest accreditation is regional accreditation for both the school and the online program.

Software, Technology & Skills Needed

English education does not require a particular set of software, technology, or other skills. In today’s automated and computerized workplaces, any form of teaching would involve using typical computers and computerized devices for routine functions like research, communications, data retrieval, and information analysis. There is also a new world of applications for use by teachers, but this is an option, not a requirement.

English Education Scholarships

  • Bill Gove Scholarships
    Amount: Up to $5,000 (4 Awards)
    Deadline: June 1

    The National Speakers Association awards four scholarships each year to full-time undergraduate or graduate students who are majoring in English, communications, journalism, or rhetorical studies with a concentration in speech. Applicants must attend an accredited school and be in graduate school for a master’s or doctorate, or the third or fourth year of undergraduate study. The awards are non-renewable and decision criteria includes a demonstrated commitment to the spoken word.

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  • Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship Program
    Amount: Up to $25,800
    Deadline: April 30

    This fund is awarded to young poets currently enrolled in an accredited program. The program requires matriculation in English, literature, composition, creative writing, poetry, or literary arts. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens, between the age of 21 and 31 years old. Applicants must submit ten pages of original poems and a 250-word foreword.

Professional Organizations

  • RSA
  • CEA
  • LSA
  • MLAA
  • NCA
  • AWWP


Rhetoric Society of America

The society gathers and disseminates current knowledge of the Field of Rhetoric. They identify new areas in the field of Rhetoric that require research and act to stimulate such research. The organization provides a framework for ideas and discussion and it sponsors findings and materials dealing with rhetoric. The society gathers topics from all fields of study to encourage experimentation among teachers of rhetoric. They facilitate cooperation among members and have meetings and conferences. There are reduced membership fees for students; students will benefit from information and opportunities to interact and network.



College English Association

This association focuses on college and graduate level teaching in the field of English. The subject matter is broad and includes studies, including literature, popular culture, women's studies, creative writing, and technical communication. The association has diverse membership and leadership. Students can benefit from the broad set of interests including composition, minority studies, film studies, speech, and ESL.



Linguistic Society of America

This association was founded in 1924 and it has functioned since that time to promote the study of language. They publish two scholarly journals which are titled Language and Semantics and Pragmatics. Students can benefit from the educational resources and opportunities for networking with active members of the linguistics educational community.



Modern Language Association of America

This association positions itself as the principal group for language and literature scholars. The MLA style and style guide is popular for college writing. For example, it offers a standard style for footnotes and other attributes of formal writing. Students can benefit from the information and education resources. The association offers an opportunity for thought leadership in an evolving field.



National Communication Association

This non-profit membership organization defines communication as the broad discipline that includes all forms, modes, media, and types of communications. The association works on the principle that communications and its consequence have a priority in global society and is a worthy subject of scientific, humanistic, and spiritual inquiry. The NCA publishes 11 academic journals that present a range of perspectives and talents. Students can benefit from the opportunities to exchange with leaders of the professions and network with the members through many events, conferences, and conventions.



Association of Writers and Writing Programs

This organization provides educational and information resources for writers. It undertakes advocacy for writers to develop opportunities for writing, education, and leadership. The association fosters conferences, organizational development at local levels, and achievement. The overall goal is to promote English teaching and serve the interests of all facets of English including teachers, students, and consumers of contemporary writing in its many forms.

Choosing an Accredited College

University HQ strongly recommends that students select an accredited online school or an accredited English education program. Accreditation adds value and usefulness to an associate, bachelor’s, or master ’s degree in English education. Employers and other educational institutions rely on accreditation as an assurance of quality education. There are two types of accreditation approved by the US Department of Education. DOE approved national and regional accreditation. National accreditation applies to special schools and vocational type schools as well.

Regional accreditation is the most widely accepted and respected accreditation. Within the branch of regional accreditation, the agencies can assess the entire organization- institutional accreditation- or one part of the school- called program accreditation. The ideal combination is regional accreditation of the online school and program accreditation of the English education program.

Online vs. On-Campus vs. Hybrid

Today’s English education student can take courses online, on-campus, or in a mix or hybrid using both. The advantages of each depend completely on the students’ needs and preferences.

Online classes offer flexibility and convenience. Students can access class work from anywhere on the Internet, and they can use the class connection when they have time. They are ideal for students that wish to work full or part-time or that have other obligations that prevent full-time on-campus attendance.

On-campus classes offer the advantage of face-to-face contact with faculty and students. Students can also live in a community of scholars and benefit from the networking and relationships that develop with their fellow students and teachers.

Hybrid programs mix online and on-campus coursework. For example, a student may prefer to take as many courses as possible on-campus and perform the balance online while working at a job or running a business. With the hybrid approach, the student can customize their educational approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with an associate, bachelor’s, master’s degree in English education?

There are a variety of levels of degree and a variety of careers you can enter with them. For example, those with an associate degree cannot head their own classroom in the public school system in the US. However, they could move to another country and teach English as a second language there. There are many of these opportunities available. There are even options for teaching English as a second language to students you meet with online. For those who earn a bachelor’s degree, you can teach in a school at any grade, from preschool to high school, as long as you are willing to earn the appropriate credentials and endorsements. If you want to teach at a college level, you’ll need to earn at least a master’s degree, though with a doctorate you could gain tenure and even the position of dean within the English department. There are a huge number of options and opportunities.

How do I earn a master’s degree when I’m busy teaching classes?

One of the things to remember about being a teacher and earning a teaching license is that you will be required to earn continuing education credits/units (CEUs) throughout your career. One of the best ways to continue your education is to make sure that the courses you choose to earn as you gain CEUs will also provide at least some credits. By doing this, you maintain your licensure while you earn credits that can be applied to a master’s degree.

How do I increase my pay as a teacher?

It can be difficult to increase your pay in the public school system. However, by increasing your educational achievements, moving into a private school, or advancing to teach at the college level, you can improve your income. The only other way to do so is to move into a district that has a higher pay scale, but this usually coincides with a higher cost of living and may not provide the improvements you were hoping for.

Does the College Have Post-Graduate Job Placement Help & Assistance?

Post-graduate job assistance is a vital part of the college or school contribution the success of its graduates. The school is in an ideal position to bring employers and graduates together for potential interviews, referrals, and hires. Some schools maintain active departments dedicated to placement, career counseling, and job coaching. University HQ recommends that students should research their schools carefully and ask questions about graduation rates, rates of employment, and job placement assistance.

Why You Need to Consider the Overall National Rankings of the College and the Effects on Your Career or Salary

Rankings can affect salary and job opportunities for graduates. Employers rely upon rankings when making decisions about hiring and salaries. Higher ranked schools provide an advantage for their graduates over lower ranked schools. Rankings include factors that interest employers such as graduation rates, college drop-out rates, and the on-time completion rate. Rankings also take note of outstanding contributions by alumni and educational attainment such as the number of Ph.Ds.

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