Corporate Communications Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to work in corporate communications. Learn about education requirements, career options and salaries to find out whether this is the career for you. Schools offering Business Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Some Jobs in Corporate Communications?

Corporate communications involves conveying information about a company to the public and/or to specific audiences. A key purpose of this communication is to maintain a company's positive image and promote awareness of its brand. Two potential career tracks in corporate communications include internal communications (i.e. human resources) and external communications (i.e. public relations). Human resources specialists are responsible for the recruitment and hiring of new employees, as well as employee orientation and training and communicating information about benefit packages. Public relations specialists write press releases on behalf of the organizations they work for, help design and approve advertising campaigns, and write speeches that managers and executives in the organization deliver to the public. The table below offers a brief overview of these two careers:

Human Resources (HR) Specialist Public Relations (PR) Specialist
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Journalism
Key Responsibilities Convey information to staff; interview potential employees; manage employee records; listen to staff complaints or concerns and decide a course of action Write external content such as press releases and social media posts; maintain media contact lists; handle press inquiries; plan events
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5%* 6%*
Median Salary (2015) $58,350* $56,770*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Corporate Communications Career Involve?

Your role would be to guide a company's interactions with specific people and organizations. You would be responsible for maintaining a positive image of the company, as well as managing the methods by which the company communicates.

An entry-level job could involve team-based cooperation in drafting press releases, organizing corporate meetings and developing media policies. At higher level positions, like those of communications director or public relations director, your responsibilities could shift to the more theoretical aspects of communications, such as developing company-wide communications guidelines. You could also work as team leader on projects and campaigns locally or nationwide.

You could be working 40 hours a week or more at a desk or traveling constantly for months at a time for a campaign, depending on your area of interest. You have ample opportunities to work in your desired field of interest, as many companies employ communications specialists for numerous roles.

What Kinds of Jobs Could I Apply For?

You have many different opportunities because corporate communications refers to all business communications. The field breaks down into two main categories: internal communications and external communications. Internal communications includes communication with all contacts within the company, such as human resources (HR) and supervisor-employee relations. External communications includes communication with all contacts outside the company, such as government agencies, the media and the local community.

Below are examples of each:

  • Internal communications jobs
    • Human resources manager
    • Applied communications manager
    • Organizational communications specialist
    • Computer systems engineer
  • External communications jobs
    • Public relations director
    • Media relations manager
    • Director of public affairs
    • Associate program manager
    • Online editorial director

How Can I Get a Job in This Career Field?

Most employers hire college graduates for entry-level positions. Internships are very valuable because they give you the hands-on experience you will need to get a job. Obtaining a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, public relations or a similar field will give you the tools to start, but to compete for higher paying jobs you might need a master's degree in communications, business administration or a similar field.

Get Certified

A number of accreditation programs are available to you in this field. For example, you can earn an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation through the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). By taking the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations and being a member of the Public Relations Society of America, you can become accredited in public relations by the Universal Accreditation Board.

The type of certificates or accreditations you need largely depends on the field of corporate communications you'd like to go into. Developing your portfolio of accomplishments is also very important in helping you become more competitive for higher level positions.

What Are the Average Salaries?

Corporate communications salaries depend on your experience, degrees and accreditations, as well as the company size, location and industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the top-paying industries for public relations professionals are in manufacturing, but the industry with the most employees in this field is advertising/public relations. The top-paying industries for human resources professionals are related to oil production and software development, and the one with the most employees specializes in providing HR services to other entities.

According to the BLS, the median salary for HR specialists as of May 2015 was $58,350. The median salary for PR specialists in the same year was $56,770.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you have a strong interest in advertising, you may want to pursue a career as an advertising, promotions, and marketing manager, which requires a bachelor's degree. These professionals are in charge of planning, designing, and implementing advertising campaigns to make sure that the public perception of whatever product or service they are advertising remains positive. You could also pursue a career as a public relations and fundraising manager. These professionals perform many of the same roles as mentioned above, with the added responsibility of planning fundraising campaigns and events to raise money for an organization or specific cause. This job also requires 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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