President John Quincy Adams, Anchorman Walter Cronkite, Actors Brad Pitt and Meg Ryan, Director/Actor Spike Lee, Author/Screenwriter/Director Nicholas Meyer, Radio Personality Howard Stern and Late Night TV Hosts David Letterman and Jay Leno – these are just some examples of those who completed a Communications Degree or a similar program before reaching celebrity status.
Whether you strive for stardom or prefer to remain outside the spotlight, there are numerous opportunities for communications careers.
Communication degrees are often interdisciplinary, crossing over into English, psychology, business, media, ethics, technology, health, politics and other subject areas. Students learn many vital skills, from public speaking and media production to interpersonal communication and persuasive writing. The concentration/specialization you pursue and the internship(s) you complete will help pave the way to a particular communications degree job field. Jobs with a communication degree may be sought in almost every public and private sector.
Communications Career Opportunities
Communication Degrees are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. An associate’s degree will gain you an entry-level position, whereas a Masters or PhD will garner successful communications career advancements or even the opportunity to teach university students and research. Completing a four-year Bachelor program can also adequately prepare you for several professions. Examples of categories for careers with a communications degree include:
- Advertising/Marketing – Advertising Copywriter, Marketing Analyst, Promotions Manager, Presenter, etc.
- Business – Media Relations Specialist, Recruiter, Corporate Relations Officer, Communications Trainer, etc.
- Media/Broadcasting – Announcer/Anchor, Station Manager, Art Director/Producer, Graphic Designer, etc.
- Public Relations – Media Planner, Publicity Manager, Special Events Coordinator, News Writer, etc.
- Journalism/Publishing – Reporter, Editor, Newscaster, Sports Information Director, Media Interviewer, etc.
- Community Relations – Health Communications Analyst, Activities Director, Fundraiser, Human Rights Officer, Mediator, Counselor, etc.
- Politics/Government – Speech Writer, Campaign Director, Lobbyist, Elected Official, Public Information Officer, etc.
- International Relations – Foreign Correspondent, Diplomat, Foreign Relations Officer, Translator, etc.
Outlook for Jobs with a Communications Degree
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there is a high level of competition for careers with a communications degree. However, completing a communications degree or another relevant program, previous experience, through an internship for example, and keen determination will lead to successful employment.
The prospects for public relations specialists and technical writers are especially favorable – both fields are predicted to grow faster compared to other occupations, states the BLS. Through to 2018, public relations specialist jobs are expected to grow by 24% and by 18% for technical writers. As of 2008, their median wages were around $51,000 and $62,000 respectively. Even more recently, communications grads’ starting salary has been on the rise.
The BLS adds that those who work in Advertising, Marketing and Promotions will see many opportunities to advance their careers. A 13% growth for jobs in these areas is expected through to 2018; the median wage for these professions, as of 2008, ranged between $80,000 and $100,000+.
For communications degree jobs such as writing, editing, reporting and broadcasting, most candidates are advised to start at local publications or stations and to work their way up to national or international media sources. Online media is continuing to increase its demand for writers and journalists. According to the BLS, opportunities for authors/writers/editors are expected to grow by 8% at least until 2018; as of 2008, their median wage was around $53,000.