Careers in Literature
Literature is a vast and engaging field that many international students choose to study in college. But the career path after school is somewhat undefined, largely because there's so much you can do with a degree in literature. Here we'll delve into some of the more popular options for graduating literary students!
Many international students come to the US to study literature, in the process getting a valuable education that also hones their reading and writing skills. With such an education behind them, these international students find themselves well prepared for a great many jobs — so many, in fact, that it's hard to narrow it down to just what careers are actually common to graduating literature majors! Of course you can follow your own heart when it comes to your careers, but read on here if you're looking for insight into some of the most common careers in literature.
Many international students who study literature parlay that expertise into a career in teaching. When considering teaching jobs, it's important to note that in the US most teachers for younger levels (generally through middle school) major in education and supplement this work with classes in specific subject areas, while aspiring high school and/or college teachers major in their desired area of expertise (in this case, literature) and then pepper in the required educational courses on the side.
Many schools will have undergraduate programs in place that allow students who study literature to also fulfill their educational training and be certified to teach. But in some cases a teaching certification is only available to undergrads through a major in education, requiring literature majors to either pursue graduate work in education or look outside their college to obtain their teaching certification. Also remember that the standards for teaching certifications vary by state and may also vary back in your home country, so make sure you're going in the right direction for the location you'd like to work.
There are many careers in literature to be found in the publishing industry. From head honchos like executives and editors to more entry-level jobs like assistants and proofreaders, the possible job descriptions are many. Having a job within the publishing industry itself will allow you to come into contact with written material every single day – a huge bonus for those really passionate about their work in literature.
But keep in mind that publishing is still a business, and as such some business savviness will go a long way towards helping you break in. Sure, executives can come from an educational background in literature since that's what they're dealing with, but international students looking into jobs like this will need to make sure they take a healthy helping of business classes along with their literature coursework.
Literary agents are also worth their own special mention; they are part of the overall publishing industry but are clearly separated from publishers themselves. The job of the literary agent is basically to be a liaison between the creative persons and business-minded persons in the industry, making it one of the more wide-ranging careers in literature.
Speaking of those creative persons, the creative route is always another worthy career option for international students who study literature. Literature majors will gain a deep understanding of how many types of creative writing function and how literary theory works, putting them in a good position to pursue their own creative ends through mediums like novels, poetry, and plays. But, just as those literature majors interested in publishing should round out their education with business classes, literature majors who want to get into writing themselves need to dabble in their English department's creative writing courses to get some practical experience under their belts. With some creative writing expertise and a thorough understanding of literature, you'll be in great shape to do writing of your own!
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to careers in literature. Beyond these popular options are many other jobs that literature majors can pursue using their top reading and writing skills. The sky's the limit!