What Is The Difference Between an English Degree and A Journalism Degree?

Journalism DegreeThe academic difference between an English degree and journalism degree is pretty big, but the job market for these majors is similar, if not exactly the same. Naturally, journalism jobs tend to go to journalism, or communications, majors, but English majors can find work in many of these positions. English majors may spend longer looking for work, but employers in many industries value the skills acquired by English majors in college.

Communications majors learn journalistic writing, ethics and history during their first two years of college, and then they specialize in one particular area, such as broadcast journalism or reporting. English majors don’t acquire any journalism skills in college unless they minor in communications. Instead, they study liberal arts, in general, and literature, in particular. These skills are more challenging to translate to the job market, but employers often say that, when interviewing applicants, they look for the qualities obtained in a liberal arts education, such as qualitative critical thinking and imagination, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Skills Do You Get From an English or Journalism Degree?

Most English majors choose their major, because it’s what they love, and they’re less concerned about finding a high-paying job. Since so many English majors have become high school teachers, the demand for high school English teachers has dropped a great deal over the last couple of decades. In general, English majors can’t rely on their degree alone to find employment. They need job skills, such as writing or editing, as well as job-seeking skills to secure employment and income. The same advice isn’t necessarily true for communications majors, because this degree is more specialized, and media outlets prefer applicants with journalism skills and experience.

English majors gain skills that aren’t necessarily the most practical in the conventional sense. They learn how to analyze literature and apply this qualitative analysis to the world around them. For people who value mental and emotional depth, these skills are worth the cost of an English education. Without technical skills, such as science or engineering skills, English majors have a limited set of jobs they can seek, but they’re not limited to writing or editing. Business and marketing firms value English majors’ communication and critical thinking skills, so these graduates can find work if they can sell their relevant skills in a job interview.

How Much Do English and Journalism Majors Make?

Employment for reporters, correspondents and news analysts is expected to decline a great deal over the next ten years as traditional newspapers and broadcast media are replaced by Internet media. These occupations paid a median annual salary of $37,090 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Journalism majors can find work in Web writing and editing much more easily than in print journalism.

English majors who become writers can find employment in advertising, ghost writing and technical writing, and journalism majors with similar skills can work in these fields as well. The median annual salary for writers was $55,940 in 2012, and job opportunities are expected to increase about 3 percent.

Related Resource: Graduate Fellowship

Journalism and English majors face challenges in translating a degree into employment, unless they think creatively when looking for work. The opportunities available to these majors can help you understand the difference between an English degree and journalism degree.