Saturday, December 1, 2012

Most English Majors We Know Work At Chipotle. From the OldTimeNESter.

It's my poetry trophy.
Where's yours?

What could be better? For four years you do lots of writing and reading, you talk about writing and reading, then follow up with more writing and reading. Then, the sky’s the limit. Common jobs held by English majors include:

Median Salary: $78,011
30-Year Earnings: $4,601,086
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 122%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 37%

Median Salary: $88,498
30-Year Earnings: $5,219,609
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 139%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 42

Median Salary: $79,674
30-Year Earnings: $4,699,170
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 125%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 38%


  1. So they list English as a major that will earn your money back, because you can get work as a "Communications director". But over on their companion article, a degree in "Communications" won't earn your money back.


    1. Maybe because English majors at least have some smarts and Communication Majors are one step up from Education majors...

    2. What Cynic said. While individual cases do, of course, vary, chances are that an English major can read fairly complex texts, and can write (or at least has been forced to try a good deal, which tends to push them in those directions). Communications majors may have done more speaking, multimedia, etc. Of course one needs to be able to do both these days, but people who can read and write correctly in longer forms are more likely to be able to pick up the more condensed, image-based formats than vice versa.

  2. My department is heavily promoting such articles on social media, etc. I get that we need more majors, but the instrumental focus bothers me a bit (but it's probably just bowing to reality, and we can give them more than they expect once they sign up).

  3. Wasn't this the site that said that in order to work as a college professor, they recommend you have a Ph.D., and that you would need to write research papers and publish them, and to teach classes? And that in order to play the flute, you blow in one end while moving your fingers up and down on the keys on the other end?

    I believe this was also the site that said that astronomy majors graduate to among the lowest unemployment rates. Again, this isn't false, but it's so incomplete as to be grossly misleading. For starters, there are only about 400 bachelors degrees in astronomy awarded per year in the whole U.S.A. The field attracts talented people, and they learn skills useful in and outside of astronomy: computer programming, optics, electronics, physics, and mathematics (or at least they should).

    So, they do get jobs after they graduate. A few astronomy bachelors degree recipients do get jobs as telescope operators or data aides at major observatories. To get a job as an astronomer, though, one needs a Ph.D.

    About 200 Ph.D. degrees in astronomy are awarded in the U.S.A. each year. Since the early '70s, fewer than 1/3 of astronomy Ph.D.s ever get permanent jobs in astronomy. Since 2007 this figure may have slumped to fewer than 1/6. Another 1/3 muddle by year-to-year by on soft money. The remaining 1/3 leave astronomy within 5 years after the Ph.D.

    So, the real employment rate, as astronomers, is closer to 17% than it is to 100%. It may be lower than 8%.

    When I was an undergraduate, I had a friend who was an English major. He was a rich kid, since his father was a physician. When his senior year rolled around, we enjoyed taunting him by noting that as an English graduate, he'd be unable to support the lifestyle to which he was accustomed. (Yes, we were very nice friends.)

    He applied for a management job at J.C. Penney, and got dinged. Then he got accepted to journalism grad school, where he got a masters in advertising. Ever since, he's been making what he calls "big, capitalistic bucks." I suppose it's nice work, if you can get it.

    1. As long as he didn't get a masters in journalism (or just become a journalist). There's an industry that has changed as drastically, and far more quickly, than higher ed.

      And yes, I'm not sure where that site gets its numbers (I suspect somewhere like the Bureau of Labor Statistics), but all such prognostication is highly suspect. I'm still seeing "college professor" listed as an in-demand profession in a number of places, with median salaries that many of my TT colleagues would be delighted to receive, since they'd represent substantial raises. I can only conclude that they averaged together only full-time TT salaries for that number, but somehow managed to include all the adjunct openings (and/or projected retirements that will turn into multiple adjunct positions) in the "demand" number. However they put together the statistics, the picture that emerges is highly misleading (and then people use it to beat up on "lazy, overpaid, proffies").


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