English Professor

Teach university students about English and literature.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$33,000 – $113,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do English Professors do?

Were you that kid who always had your nose stuck in a book while the others played sports and went to parties? As an English Professor you can get all those kids together in a college classroom, make them read your favorite books, and discuss the excitement of topics like character development, slant rhymes, and parallel construction.

Being an English Professor isn’t nearly as easy as hosting a book club, though. You’ll have some students who may not particularly like reading and writing: although they might just be taking your class to fulfill a college requirement, it’s your job as an English Professor to help them hone their communications and analysis skills—and maybe even learn to appreciate what they’re reading.

There may also be pressure from your university to continue to make academic advancements. Whether you’re an expert on the first written forms of Old English or the modern-day slam poetry phenomenon, you’ll need to keep coming up with fresh ideas and probing research on the topic.

And, of course, there’s the hard work of grading all those papers you’ve assigned. You’ll have to keep your mind sharp for this task; it’s not like you’ll have an answer key to follow.

If you can accomplish all of that, there are so many rewarding aspects of this career. You might help a young Writer gain confidence and find her voice; meet another soul who’s passionate about 19th century Scottish poetry; or see some of your students go on to become Journalists, Editors, or Literary Agents.

Should I be an English Professor?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • How to become an English Professor

    Most English Professors have a Doctorate or a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaax79&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2816%25%29|master%27s+%2841%25%29|doctorate+%2843%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,43
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