Bachelor's Degree in Communications: Career and Salary Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with a bachelor's degree in communications. Read more to learn about career options along with salary and job outlook. Schools offering Applied Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Bachelor's Degree in Communications Do?

A bachelor's degree in communications is a solid educational foundation for a number of career options. Those with a bachelor's degree in communications can pursue careers in public relations, editing, reporting and advertising. Editors review content and make corrections, and they may also assign stories to reporters. They may also contract books to be published. Reporters investigate stories and relay information about those stories to the public. They can do this through live broadcasts, recorded videos or through written articles. Public relations specialists focus on generating a desired public image for their clients. They may work for celebrities, politicians or companies. Advertising managers focus on creating advertisements to target the ideal clients for the products they're promoting. All of these careers involve understanding how public perception is shaped. These professionals need to be aware of how they can use audio visual and written communication to effectively influence their target audience. Whether they are trying to sell consumers a product or inform the public about events, they need to understand how to engage the public effectively through various forms of media.

Public Relations SpecialistEditorReporter/CorrespondentAdvertising/Promotions Manager
Degree RequiredBachelor's Bachelor'sBachelor'sBachelor's
Education Field of StudyCommunications or related areaCommunications, journalism or EnglishCommunications or journalismAdvertising or journalism
Skills Required Interpersonal skills, organization skills, problem-solving skills, speaking skills, writing skills Creativity, detail-orientation, good judgment, interpersonal skills, language skills, writing skills Objectivity, stamina, persistence, interpersonal skills, computer skills, communication skills Analytical skills, communication skills, creativity, organizational skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%* -5%*-8%*5%*
Median Salary (2015)$56,770* $56,010*$36,360*$95,890*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Jobs Will I Qualify for with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications?

Graduates with communications degrees are often employed within the business, media, education, nonprofit and government sectors. Within each of these sectors, you can work for a variety of organizations and businesses and hold a wide range of job titles. For instance, you might work for an advertising agency, magazine, newspaper, book publisher, health organization or television network.

Some of the more common areas of business communications that you may enter are journalism, public relations, advertising, sales and marketing. You might work as a public relations specialist, editor, announcer, applicant relations specialist or program coordinator, to name a few examples. If you're interested in politics, you could work for a government agency that focuses on public health or cultural affairs. Alternatively, you can seek a career in education and work as a school counselor, speech pathologist, recruiter or educational consultant.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

While specific job responsibilities vary widely according to job title and industry, communications majors generally serve as liaisons between their employers and customers or the public. For example, as a public relations specialist, you might be responsible for maintaining good relationships with clients for your business or organization. You might be in charge of handling inquiries from consumers, clients, interest groups and the media.

If you work for the government, you might work as a press secretary or spokesperson to inform the public about new activities within an agency. This could involve writing reports, delivering speeches or conducting news presses for the media. As a news reporter or correspondent, you are generally responsible for gathering facts about developing news stories and preparing these stories for print or video publication. Individuals working in advertising, marketing and sales work closely with clients to ensure their satisfaction with products and services on an ongoing basis, which may require some travel.

What Job Skills Will I Need to Succeed?

The ability to present facts and viewpoints clearly and objectively is important, particularly if you work in a high-profile position. Strong writing and editing skills are also necessary, as you may be expected to write and publish news stories, press releases, statements or reports. An ability to interpret and evaluate different types of data and information accurately and efficiently is also expected. Jobs in advertising and marketing require creativity, management and problem solving skills.

In addition, you must enjoy working with others and have a likeable personality; your success may depend on gaining others' trust and confidence. While it is generally not a requirement, candidates with multiple language skills may be in high demand in the expanding global economy.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

Your earnings potential will depend on your position, the industry in which you work and your level of experience. While not all positions available to communications majors can be included here, salary information for a few of the more common occupations held by communications majors are provided.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of public relations specialists was $56,770 in May 2015. In addition, reporters and correspondents earned a median of $36,360. Advertising and promotions managers earned much higher median annual salary of $95,890, also in May 2015, and editors earned $56,010.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Writers and authors may perform some tasks that are similar to the work of editors and reporters. Writers and authors may conduct research, interview potential witnesses or seek sources for information, and then compile that material into printed form. They need to understand how to engage an audience with their writing, and they also work with editors to correct copy before publication. They typically have a bachelor's degree. The work that graphic designers do has some similarities to the work of advertising and marketing managers. Graphic designers may work with advertising and marketing managers to produce the images that will be used in ads to effectively engage the desired target audience. They may also work with public relations specialists to create logos or visual material for their clients. Graphic designers need a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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