What Degree Do I Need to Be a Professional Public Speaker?

Continue reading to learn what you'll need to become a professional public speaker. Find out what type of education you may need and the skills employers are looking for. Schools offering Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Majoring in communication can help you build skills necessary for professional public speaking. Many bachelor's programs in communication require you to take courses in public speaking, argumentation, persuasion, interpersonal communication and business speaking. You'll also get hands-on training planning seminars, conducting interviews and giving public speeches.

Courses Public speaking, argumentation, persuasion, interpersonal communication
Degrees Bachelor's degree programs; some degrees are available online
Training Hands-on training with seminars, conducting interviews and public speeches

What Degrees Are Available?

If you're looking to study to become a professional public speaker, you might want to enroll in a bachelor's degree program at a community college or a four-year university. Many communication degrees exist at this level. You'll most likely be able to find a Bachelor of Arts in Communication or Communication Studies degree program. A Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication is another option. A Bachelor of Arts in English/Professional Communications is also available. Some courses you might take are listed as follows:

  • Business communication
  • Mass communication
  • Public relations
  • Social media
  • Multimedia journalism
  • Organizational communications

Can I Earn This Degree Online?

Bachelor's degrees in communication are available online. Your classes can be self-paced or synchronous. In synchronous classes, you'll interact with your instructors and fellow classmates in a virtual classroom environment. You'll have access to library resources, tutoring and other student services through Internet portals that typically require a password. Although you can usually study according to your own schedule, you'll still be responsible for adhering to assignment and exam deadlines.

To access course content, you might need specific software and hardware, such as high-speed Internet, a Web camera, a word processing application, a DVD-ROM drive and an active e-mail account. You might also need to download free plug-ins, such as RealPlayer or QuickTime for audio, video and graphical content.

Can I Be a Speaker Without This Degree?

In the field of professional speaking, any degree will do - or even no degree at all. However, unless you have natural speaking talents, gaining some formal education or professional instruction could help you to develop particular attributes necessary for public speaking. Some schools also offer individual courses designed to teach you how to deliver a speech and improve your speaking skills.

What Else Do I Need to Become a Professional Speaker?

There are certain traits that apply to be a successful professional speaker. First, you need to be knowledgeable about the subject you wish to speak on. You can do this by researching the topic beforehand and staying up-to-date on any changes in the field.

It's also important that you have an effective delivery style. Use eloquent and persuasive language, but make sure not to speak above the level of your audience. You'll need to connect with and engage the audience. Additionally, you'll need to know how to put together an effective setting, making sure that lighting, staging and audio-visual components are just right.

The NSA also recommends you have an entrepreneurial spirit to become a professional speaker. You'll need to know how to run a successful business, from booking speaking engagements to dealing with financial matters. You'll also need to make sure that you take an ethical approach to run your speaking business. Important factors to consider include your personal character and integrity, the information you're communicating, your reputation and your ethical standards.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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