Careers in education are among the most familiar and rewarding career options for English majors; they include a number of occupations at different types of educational institutions.

Careers Paths in Education Include:

Middle and High School English Teacher

Teaching secondary school students can be highly rewarding and impactful.  You may in fact have chosen to pursue an English degree yourself because of an amazing middle or high school English teacher.

Secondary school English teachers teach several classes per day, which may span more than one grade level and may include Advanced Placement (AP) English courses and/or English Language Development (ELD) courses for English learners.  These courses often integrate literary study, rhetorical analysis, writing in various genres, and language development.  Most teachers work ten months of the year and have two months off across summer and winter breaks.  Public school teachers also have good job security after they are tenured.

In order to teach English at a public middle or high school, you must complete a single-subject teaching credential after obtaining a B.A. Before entering a teaching credential program in California, applicants must demonstrate English subject matter competence by either 1) completing a CTC-approved English subject matter program (such as CSUSB’s English Teacher Preparation Program, ETPP) OR 2) passing the English CSET exam.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Teach literature, rhetoric, composition, creative writing, and language
  • Have passion and talent for working with students from various cultural backgrounds
  • Design courses that address curricular guidelines and engage students with creative materials
  • Facilitate classroom discussions
  • Evaluate and comment on students’ work
  • Use technology to enhance teaching

Where They Work

Middle and high school English teachers are hired at both public and private schools.

Community College Professor

An English instructor at a community college typically teaches introductory composition, as well as sometimes creative writing, literature, and/or English as a Second Language (ESL).  Community college faculty may be adjunct or tenure-track; those who are tenure-track have good job security and benefits, while adjunct instructors are offered work contigent upon student enrollment and demand.  In order to teach English at a community college, you need a Master’s degree, such as CSUSB’s M.A. in English Composition, which offers concentrations in composition, literature, and applied linguistics and TESL.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Have expertise in current approaches to teaching writing and/or other areas of English Studies
  • Create course syllabi, and design class materials, assignments, and activities
  • Have passion and talent for working with students from various cultural backgrounds
  • Teach multiple classes per quarter or semester

Where They Work

Some local community colleges who have posted jobs for English instructors include Moreno Valley College, Chaffey College, San Bernardino Valley College, and DeVry University.

Education Requirements

  • Master’s degree in English, with relevant specialization(s) for particular teaching positions

University Professor

Depending on their areas of expertise, university professors in English may teach courses in literature, composition, rhetoric, creative writing, linguistics, and/or ESL.  They typically teach several courses per quarter or semester and may hold adjunct or tenure-track positions; those on the tenure-track have much better job security and benefits.  In order to be hired as tenure-track faculty at a four-year university, one must have a terminal degree (PhD or MFA).  In addition to teaching, tenure-track university professors are typically expected to publish research or creative work, and to participate in university service.  Adjunct university faculty need at least a Master’s degree and are not required to publish or do university service, although some do.

Please note that in addition to an undergraduate degree in English, CSUSB offers a Masters of Arts in English Composition with concentrations in composition, literature, or applied linguistics and TESL.  Our Masters program also provides students with an excellent foundation for PhD-level studies.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Have expertise in one or more areas of English Studies
  • Create course syllabi, select course texts, and design assignments and activities
  • Have passion and talent for working with students from various cultural backgrounds
  • Teach multiple classes per quarter or semester
  • (For tenure-track profesors) Publish research or creative work, serve on committees, and participate in other forms of university governance and service

Where They Work

An English Professor will work at various public and private universities in the U.S.  In California, these include UC and CSU campuses, as well as private liberal arts colleges and universities.

ESL Teacher

ESL instructors teach English as a second language in a variety of academic and professional contexts—both in the U.S. and overseas.  The classes they teach may focus on listening, speaking, pronunciation, reading, and/or writing in English, and may be geared toward students with particular needs, interests, and goals.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Have expertise in linguistics and current language teaching methodologies
  • Prepare teaching materials
  • Have passion and talent for teaching diverse student populations
  • Instruct students in one-on-one and group situations
  • Give feedback on students’ work
  • Have patience with students of varying levels of English proficiency

Where They Work

Multiple opportunities exist for teaching ESL abroad and in the U.S.  Countries that hire ESL teachers include Japan, China, Korea, UAE, Thailand, and many others.  In California, institutions that have recently posted jobs for ESL teachers include the Intercultural Institute of CA, UCLA Extension, and CSUSB.

Education and Additional Requirements

Not all ESL teaching jobs have the same requirements, but many ESL teaching jobs require one or more of the the following:

  • B.A. in English or Linguistics
  • TESL/TESOL certificate
  • M.A. in English with an emphasis in TESL/TESOL; M.A. in Applied Linguistics; or M.A. in Education with an emphasis in TESOL
  • Experience teaching

ESL Tutor

An ESL tutor works one-on-one with students to help them with English speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  By providing personalized lessons and feedback, tutors assist learners to become more effective users of English in varied contexts. They often tutor multiple students throughout the day.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Tutor students online and in-person
  • Support students’ language development
  • Be flexible and adaptive in response to students’ needs and interests
  • Individualize lessons and discussions to students’ language levels

Where They Work

ESL tutors often work for universities, private schools, and tutoring companies that provide support to students learning English as a Second Language.  Companies and organizations in California that have recently posted jobs for ESL tutors include Acclaim Academy, Mavin Learning, Kaplan International, and Children of the Night.

Writing Tutor

A writing tutor works individually with students on writing for academic, professional, or other purposes.  Tutors may also assist students with analytical reading and research.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Hold one-on-one writing consultations with students
  • Help students to understand writing assignments
  • Offer students guidance on idea-generation, writing, revising, editing, and research strategies
  • Be flexible and adaptive in response to students’ needs and interests
  • Lead writing workshops

Where They Work

Writing tutors often work for schools, universities, and private companies.  Companies and universities in California that have recently posted jobs for writing tutors include Chapman University, Azusa Pacific University, and Varsity Tutors.

Speech-Language Pathologist

A speech-language pathologist evaluates and treats a wide range of language, communication, speech, and voice disorders. They work one-on-one with clients and patients, who may include children and/or adults, in various educational and health care settings.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Have expertise in linguistics, language acquisition, and language disorders
  • Evaluate and treat patients/clients with various language pathologies and communicative disorders
  • Administer and interpret test results
  • Create treatment plans and develop goals for patients/clients
  • Collaborate with therapists, physicians, teachers, and patients’ families on treatment plans
  • Write patient reports
  • Maintain accurate records

Where They Work

Speech-language pathologists often work in K-12 schools settings and medical facilities.  Companies and organizations that have recently posted jobs for speech language pathologists in California include Kaiser Permanente, Easterseals, US Department of Veteran Affairs, Kindred Rehabilitation Services, and various school districts.


As experts in information science, librarians locate, organize and evaluate various forms of information, and help others to do the same.  One typically thinks of the reference librarian helping patrons to track down a book or article, or to tackle a complex research question.  Librarians, however, may do other kinds of work as well, such as developing special collections and archives for museums, universities, and companies; managing a library’s electronic databases; overseeing library acquistions; teaching information literacy workshops; and planning library events for the community.  Medical librarians in hospitals, insurance companies, and universities may also assist patrons with locating medical and health-related information. 

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Have deep interest in the organization and dissemination of information
  • Locate and evaluate material from various sources and media
  • Assist patrons with researching, assessing, and using sources effectively
  • Build and maintain library collections and archives
  • Be tech savvy
  • Coordinate library events

Where They Work

Librarians often work in public schools, universities, research institutions, city libraries, museums, and businesses.  Companies and organizations that have recently posted jobs for librarians in California include Orinda Union School District, USC, Stanford University, City of Redlands, Saalex Solutions, City GIA, City of Hope, and Getty Research Institute.