Online English Degrees

Do you love books and writing, but fear facing a lack of job options if you pursue your passions? Your fears may be unfounded, because recent studies have shown that employers value written communication skills above all else, opening the job market for English majors far beyond just teaching. An online English degree will prepare you for exciting careers in communications management, web content and marketing, book publishing, journalism, writing, advertising, education, and a multitude of other paths.

Enrollment numbers in English degree programs are dropping at some universities, partly because the job market is still recovering from the recession. Students are selecting fewer careers in the arts, like English programs, believing they need programs with more specific training. But an online bachelor’s in English will give you highly desired skills that can help you grow professionally, whether in your career or in your graduate studies.

English majors generally have strong writing skills, and can also organize thoughts logically, communicate clearly, and analyze and make observations about all forms of information. Once you complete your bachelor’s in English online and have developed a wide array skills that can be applied to many industries, you will stand out to employers for your flexibility, superb writing and research skills, and proficiency in deep critical analysis.

Meet our expert

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Joshua Welsh English

“The students who excel in my classes are self starters. They plan ahead, they read ahead, and they work ahead.”

Online English Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $8,485 19.9% 2 years $23,400 $43,600 8.8%
Bachelor's $15,698 10.3% 4 years $32,000 $59,000 6.3%
Master's $16,850 8.8% 1+ years $51,000 $73,000 3.4%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

After you earn your associate in English through an online English program, most jobs in the field will require you to use it as a jumping off point for getting your bachelor’s in English degree. Once you earn an online bachelor’s in English, you will find many internships and career options will open up. Further education beyond your bachelor’s in English online will only be required if you decide to become a teacher, which requires state licensure certifications, or if you decide to become a college professor, which requires a PhD (although some community colleges allow just a master’s degree).

Choosing Your English Careers

Average English Salaries


Public Relations Specialist

Salary: $56,770
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
6% 240,700 Bachelor's N/A

All companies need strong representation to the press, which is why public relations careers are growing. Public relations (PR) requires an ability to carefully represent your brand and craft messages for the press, even when you’re providing bad news. That’s why strong writing skills, as practiced when earning your English degree, are critical. When a media crisis arises, you may need to work long hours writing press releases and representing your company to the media in interviews.


Salary: $37,720
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
-9% 54,400 Bachelor's N/A

Journalism is a fast-moving field because it chases the news. Journalists need to be comfortable in a busy, chaotic work environment that is always changing. They generally spend their time away from a desk, interviewing, photographing, and gathering footage while still working on tight deadlines. The ability to work independently to meet deadlines, along with strong interpersonal and writing skills, are very beneficial to journalists. Your online English degree will strengthen your writing skills for this career. Though journalism is an exciting and rewarding field, it’s currently experiencing a sharp decline in jobs due to drastic changes within print media. Students should be prepared for an uphill battle when job searching.

Advertising Copywriter

Salary: $60,250
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
2% 136,500 Bachelor's N/A

Do you want to write the commercials that appear during halftime of major sporting events? Whether your ads appear on television, in magazines, or on the web, advertising copywriters who earn an English degree online are skilled at finding the perfect words to craft a powerful message in a short amount of time. Copywriters typically need creativity, organization for balancing multiple projects at once, and excellent writing skills. Practice your writing through internships or with a personal blog while earning your online English degree.


Salary: $56,010
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
-5% 117,200 Bachelor's N/A

Editors with an English degree are careful and skilled at catching errors in writing. Editors are generally the last set of eyes to look over something before it’s published, so advanced grammatical and spelling skills are necessary. Knowledge of leadership is essential, because leading an editorial team of writers is a common duty for editors. While many editors work in traditional settings such as publications and newspapers, a growing number work remotely from home. Though a rewarding occupation, those interested in pursuing a career as an editor should be aware that jobs in the field are becoming scarce, in part due to the decline of print journalism.

High School English Teacher

Salary: $57,200
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
6% 961,600 Bachelor's

As a high school English teacher with a bachelor’s in English online, you will be impacting the lives of your students as you help them learn valuable lessons from books and discussions. You’ll help them develop critical thinking, and prepare them for college and the workforce. High school English teachers are patient, skilled at explaining and teaching concepts, and willing to grade papers outside of work hours. They generally do not work during the summer.

Online English Degree Instructor

Joshua Welsh English

Joshua Welsh is an Assistant Professor in the Professional and Creative Writing major at Central Washington University. He has been teaching online since 2011, beginning as a technical writing online as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota.

How would you say student outcomes have evolved since you started?

When I know that a class will be taught online, I take the opportunity to craft learning outcomes to take advantage of online learning. For example, an online writing course gives students the chance to take part in regular smaller writing assignments leading up to larger assignments. (Of course, you can do this in a face-to-face classroom as well, but I find that online classes leave time for more writing than face-to-face classes do.)

What do you like most about the online format?

I love the chance to get to know each student individually. Since every student is sending me their writing each week, I get the chance to get to know them pretty well. I also enjoy hearing from students that might be considered “quiet” in the classroom. Students that might not be as talkative as some of their more extroverted peers can take advantage of the online environment to develop their own ideas and help the classmates develop as well.

Do you think online education works particularly well in a liberal arts program like English? If yes, how so?

I think online education is great for a writing intensive discipline such as English. Since nearly every interaction in an online classroom occurs in writing, students have many more opportunities to practice their writing and look for ways to improve.

What are some of the challenges of teaching an online English class?

Well, I guess the biggest challenge is keeping up with the reading. The flip side of all those written interactions from students is that it puts more pressure on the instructor to keep up with multiple moving conversations and to provide helpful and meaningful feedback to help students improve their writing.

What advice would you give to a student about to take their first online English course?

The students who excel in my classes are self starters. They plan ahead, they read ahead, and they work ahead. They do all of the reading! I worry that some online students don’t think they need to do all of the reading, since they never have to look me in the eye to convince me that they actually read the assignment. But I don’t assign something to read unless I really believe it will help the student reach the goals for the class. Also, ask for help if you need it! One of the things I love most about teaching online is working with students individually. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on readings, activities or assignments!

Online English Degrees


An associate English degree is a strong stepping off point for making more money while you earn your bachelor’s in English online. With a short time commitment of only two years, you can find a job as a writer or administrative assistant. While the average cost is $8,485, that goes towards further learning, as you are halfway towards your bachelor’s at the end of the program.

Sample Courses
News Writing, English Language Composition, Fiction and Poetry Writing
Common Majors
English, Journalism, Writing
Potential Jobs
Administrative assistant, Classroom or instructional aide, Freelance writer, blogger, or author
Average Income
$36,500 for administrative assistants, $24,900 for classroom or instructional aides, and $60,250 for freelance writers, bloggers, or authors
Employment Prospects
From 2014-2024, 3% increase for administrative assistants, 6% increase for classroom or instructional aides, and 2% increase for freelance writers, bloggers, or authors


Earning a bachelor’s in English online can help you advance your career in many ways. When you graduate with an English degree from an online English program, your writing and analytical skills will be much stronger. After spending $15,700 in tuition and four years studying English, Journalism, or similar majors, your hard work will pay off as you start gaining valuable work experience and skills in the career of your choice.

Sample Courses
Introduction to College Writing, American Literature, Creative Writing, Folklore Studies, Editing
Common Majors
English, Creative Writing, Communications, Public Relations, Journalism
Potential Jobs
English teacher, Public relations specialist, News reporter and analyst, Writer or Editor, Paralegal and Legal Assistants
Average Income
$57,200 for English teachers, $56,770 for public relations specialists, $37,730 for news reporters and analysts, $56,010 for writers or editors, and $48,810 for paralegal and legal assistants
Employment Prospects
From 2014-2024, 6% increase for English teachers, 6% increase for public relations specialists, 9% decrease for news reporters and analysts, 5% decline for writers or editors, and 8% increase for paralegal and legal assistants


With a master’s English degree, working at a college or in HR becomes an option. Unlike the courses in your online bachelor’s in English, most master’s degree courses will be more business-centric since they are geared towards launching your career. Expect to spend roughly $16,000 and one or two years completing your master’s English degree online.

Sample Courses
Approaches to Research, Linguistics, Cross-Cultural Studies, History of English
Common Majors
English, Technical Communications, American Media and Popular Culture, English as a Second Language
Potential Jobs
Senior Marketing or Technical Writer, Human resources, Market research, Professor at community colleges, Teacher in public schools
Average Income
$70,240 for senior marketing or technical writers, $58,350 for human resources, $62,150 for market research, $72,470 for professors at community colleges, and $57,200 for teachers in public schools
Employment Prospects
From 2014-2024, 10% increase for senior marketing or technical writers, 5% increase for human resources, %19 increase for market research, 13% increase for professors at community colleges, and 6% for teachers in public schools


While you’re earning your PhD in English, many programs require you to become fluent in another language. That’s because doctorate in online English programs have more of an emphasis on linguistics and the study of languages as a whole. Your doctorate in English degree online will qualify you to teach at major universities and be a true expert in the field of English.

Sample Courses
Foreign language coursesSupervised teaching experiences, 19th Century Literature, Shakespeare, and Cultural Studies
Common Majors
English Language and Literature, Media Studies, Communications, Media, Technology, and Society, and English and Education
Potential Jobs
Professor at a university, Education administration, Public relations and fundraising manager, Nonprofit grant writer, and Academic publishing editor
Average Income
$72,470 for professors at universities, $88,580 for education administrators, $104,140 for public relations and fundraising managers, $60,350 for nonprofit grant writers, 2% increase for nonprofit grant writers, and $56,010 for academic publishing editors
Employment Prospects
From 2014-2024, 13% increase for professors at universities, 9% increase for education administrators, 7% increase for public relations and fundraising managers, and 5% decline for academic publishing editors