Media Studies Majors: Salary and Career Facts
A bachelor's in media studies may qualify you for a variety of positions. Learn more about media studies majors, career options and salary information.
Is Media Studies a Good Degree?
With a degree in the field, there are fortunately plenty of media studies careers to pursue, which are well-suited to natural communicators and those with creative mindsets.
Many positions in film and video encourage work as audio, video, and film editors, screenwriting, script editing, special effects, make-up, etc. Television offers some of the same career fields including directing of studio programming. Advertising promotion allows for the creative side of the degree in utilizing media material to promote events or sell products
Media and communication degrees can be completed in four years. The degree will include general education courses as well as classes in things like video and sound design, film, and web production. Learn more about this career below.
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Film, media production, broadcasting production|
|Key Skills||Creativity, physical stamina, thinking outside the box, attention to detail|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||8% (writers and authors); 5% (advertising and promotions managers); 12% (producers and directors)*|
|Average Salary (2018)||$73,090 (writers and authors); $133,090 (advertising and promotion managers); $89,840 (producers and directors)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What is a Media Studies Major?
A media studies major is a 4-year degree that teaches you to critically examine all types of media - including film, television, advertising, journalism and digital media - to understand how it impacts, and is impacted by, society. Media studies degree programs can typically be found in the form of a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies or a Bachelor of Science in Media Studies. Bachelor of Science programs are typically more career-oriented and offer more digital media technology courses than Bachelor of Arts programs. Generally, all programs require courses in:
- Communication theory
- Visual communication
- History of media
- Critical writing
- Media and culture
Should I Pursue a Master's in Media Studies?
A master's in media studies can help you refine your research, critical analysis, and communication skills in the field. Students can educate themselves on emerging technologies and trends that are currently re-shaping the landscape of the media industry, granting them a competitive edge when seeking employment. These programs may offer internship opportunities or culminate in a thesis project.
What Kind of Communication and Media Studies Jobs Can I Get?
You can seek a variety of jobs with a media studies degree. If you're a writer or critical thinker, you could pursue film and media studies jobs - such as a film or television critic. This profession involves writing media reviews for a newspapers or magazines; possibly reporting their views on television and radio broadcasts.
A media studies major is one way to break into the television and film business as a writer, director or producer. Writers who work directly for television and film are called screenwriters or scriptwriters and can be hired as employees or independent contractors. As a screenwriter, you might write for news or entertainment programs or write your own movie. As a director, you would provide the creative vision for a movie and make decisions on how it should be filmed and edited. If you have good business skills and want to work in film or television, a career as a producer, the chief executive of a film or TV show, might be the right job for you.
Understanding the media and how it influences people is a skill needed in the advertising industry. If you are interested in finding new ways to sell a product through different media, than advertising research might be the right fit for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), advertising is a competitive field (www.bls.gov). If you plan on an advertising career path, you may want to take advantage of internship opportunities to learn the business before graduating from a media studies program.
How Much Could My Media Studies Salary Be?
Your media arts degree salary could be as varied as the number of jobs available to media studies majors. A film studies salary, for example, can differ: some positions, such as film producers, don't have set salaries, but make a percentage of a movie's profits. Other positions, such as writers, make a one-time sum for selling a script.
Writers in performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries made a median salary of $69,430 in 2018, as reported by the BLS. Managers in advertising, public relations, and related services made $134,780, and producers and directors in radio and television broadcasting made a median wage of $63,620 during the same year. Salaries also vary depending on your location and level of experience.
What Else Can You Do with A Media Studies Major?
Other alternative careers graduates can pursue include camera operators, sound or broadcast engineers and technicians. These positions need specialized training after high school or a bachelor's degree. Some of them, depending on the region, require membership in a union. These careers could be sound and film editors, broadcast analysts or on-air and voiceover announcers for programs like cartoons or commercials. These fields are all part of the entertainment and sales family and require a lot of creativity and originality.