Careers with a Communications Degree
Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in communications. Read on to learn more about career options, along with salary and degree information.
What Are Career Options for Communications Majors?
Communications professionals may present the news, market new products to consumers or increase dialogue between fractious groups. Some of the most popular careers for graduates include on-air broadcast news analysts and writers for local newspapers, television or radio. These positions require the ability to hold interviews and collect the facts in order to present a thorough, unbiased view on current events within the area.
Job opportunities for communications majors can also be found in the business sector. Positions like public relations manager, marketing manager and advertising manager are typically offered in mass-media communications and consumer-focused companies. Individuals are required to demonstrate exceptional research skills so they can create new promotional strategies for getting the business' name out into the community.
Other internal business positions include conflict resolution expert and contract negotiator. These jobs are ideal for those who have a high understanding of the industry they're working for and excellent research skills in order to come up with an acceptable solution for both parties. The following chart gives more information about these careers.
|Public Relations Manager||Marketing Manager||Advertising Manager||Broadcast News Analyst|
|Education Field of Study||Public relations, communications, fundraising||Marketing, market research||Advertising, journalism||Journalism, communications|
|Key Responsibilities||Maintaining or improving an organization's image, working with the press||Determining product demand, finding new markets, pricing||Generating interest in a product, brainstorming, supervising||Reporting news, introducing news reports, analyzing stories, using social media|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||8% (all public relations and fundraising managers)*||8%*||8% (all advertising, promotions and marketing managers)*||-12% (decline) for reporters and correspondents*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$114,800 (all public relations and fundraising managers)*||$134,290*||$117,130 (all advertising and promotions managers)*||$66,880*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What Types of Communications Degrees Can I Earn?
You can earn degrees in communications at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Many colleges and universities offer general degrees in communications. In these programs, you'll study current theories and philosophies of communication. You may learn about fostering and strengthening communication between individuals, groups or across mass media. Additional coursework may cover topics, such as persuasive reasoning, written communication and public speaking.
Degrees in mass communications are also available. These programs focus on communication as it pertains to various forms of mass media, including television, radio and print journalism. They can offer you training in becoming an effective communicator in a career-focused curriculum. In addition to learning practical skills, you may also learn about mass media, including its history and role in society.
You can also earn many highly specialized communications degrees at multiple levels. For example, a degree in technical communication focuses on science and technology-focused writing, such as software instruction manuals. Another field you can study is organizational communication; this field covers communication skills for the business environment, including developing corporate culture and fostering intra-office professional relationships.
Can I Earn Them Online?
Communications degree programs are most commonly offered on-campus, but some colleges and universities offer both bachelor's and master's degree programs in communication completely online. You can even pursue a specialized emphasis, such as technical or organizational communications. If desired, you can take online courses along with in-person classes. You'll take your courses using an online management system, such as Sakai or iLearn, and submit all your papers, projects and tests over the Internet. Most programs offer asynchronous learning, meaning that you can take the courses when it's convenient for you instead of meeting at a particular time.
What Careers Can I Pursue?
Once you hold a communications degree, you have numerous career options. The field of mass communications includes possible job opportunities writing for newspapers, television and radio. You can also work as on-air talent, including roles as an announcer, broadcaster or reporter.
Both mass media organizations and consumer-focused businesses require experts in communications for marketing and research roles. This may include jobs in advertising, public relations and promotions management. Your training may prepare you to conduct consumer surveys and organize focus groups; once data is gathered, you may analyze and interpret the results in order to shape future product developments or shift the focus of a campaign.
Additionally, many businesses internally value your skills in communications. You can work as a contract negotiator, conflict resolution expert or personnel trainer. You may assist an organization with human resources, sales or customer service.
What Might I Earn?
Your possible wages in a communications career can vary widely based on your specialized field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for individuals in public relations management was $114,800 in May 2018. Marketing managers earned significantly more, with a median annual wage of $134,290. Advertising and promotions managers earned a lower median annual wage of $117,130.
Broadcast news analysts, including news anchors, earned a median annual wage of $66,880 in May 2018. Reporters and correspondents earned significantly less. At that time, their median annual wage was $41,260.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
If you're interested in pursuing a communications position, but are unsure that jobs like public relations manager, marketing manager, advertising manager or broadcast news analyst aren't right for you, then you may want to consider seeking employment as an editor or market research analyst. Editors require a bachelor's degree and can work in a variety of fields, proofreading documents and articles to ensure content is ready for publication. Market research analysts also require a bachelor's degree and perform research to determine what products are currently popular so companies know how best to reach consumers.