What Can I Do With a Communication Degree?

by TBS Staff

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A communication degree can help you land jobs in media, including online and print marketing, journalism, and public relations.

Communication majors study mass media, technical communications, and advertising. They learn how to write press releases, long-form articles, and technical documents. In a communication program, students strengthen their writing and communication skills to prepare them for careers in growing industries.

This article introduces top careers for communication graduates and different types of communication degrees to help prospective students find the best fit for their professional goals.

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Top Careers for Communication Majors

A communication degree prepares graduates for careers in mass media, public relations, and marketing. Graduates can also work in fields that rely on strong communication skills, including advertising, politics, technology, and healthcare. For example, the tech sector hires communication graduates to write technical documents.

This section highlights career paths for communication majors, including median salaries, required education, and projected job growth. In addition to these opportunities, a communication degree can lead to other roles that require strong writing and communication skills.

↑ as fast as average

↑↑ faster than average

↑↑↑ much faster than average

Associate or Bachelor's Degree Required

$45,510 true Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians
Projected Job Growth ↑↑↑

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians manage communication equipment for audio recordings. They work on radio programs, movies, and TV shows, where they operate and maintain sound equipment.

$51,830 Interpreters and Translators
Projected Job Growth ↑↑↑

Interpreters and translators communicate spoken or written material from one language into another. They must be fluent in both languages and have strong communication skills.

$57,970 Fundraisers
Projected Job Growth ↑↑↑

Fundraisers raise money for their organization through events, outreach, and advertising campaigns. They create promotional materials to reach potential donors and increase awareness of their organization.

$59,810 Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators
Projected Job Growth ↑↑↑

Film and video editors and camera operators capture and manipulate images for entertainment and news organizations. They work with directors to create content for news programs, movies, or other media.

$61,150 Public Relations Specialists
Projected Job Growth ↑↑↑

Public relations specialists promote positive public images for their organizations. They write press releases, create social media content, and conduct outreach to promote their organizations.

$135,900 Technical Writers
Projected Job Growth ↑↑

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers oversee departments that raise money, promote products, and implement marketing strategies. They often meet with top executives to set goals for the organization and strategize about how to reach them.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

↑ as fast as average

↑↑ faster than average

↑↑↑ much faster than average

Master's or Doctoral Degree Required

$79,540 true Postsecondary Teachers
Projected Job Growth ↑↑↑

Postsecondary teachers, also called professors, instruct undergraduate and graduate students in their field of study. In addition to teaching classes, many communication professors conduct research and publish their work.

$95,410 Postsecondary Education Administrators
Projected Job Growth

Postsecondary education administrators manage student services at colleges and universities. They work in admissions, the registrar's office, financial aid, and student affairs. Some administrators also specialize in athletics or faculty research.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kinds of Communication Degrees Are There?

Considering a communication degree? Students can earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in communication to prepare for specific careers. Many roles, like public relations specialist or interpreter, require at least a bachelor's degree. This section introduces the different types of communication degree and the career opportunities available at each level.

Associate Degree in Communication

An associate degree in communication introduces learners to foundational concepts in the discipline. Students study topics like interpersonal communications, public speaking, and mass communications. The degree also incorporates general education courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

After earning a two-year associate degree, graduates can transfer into a bachelor's program. The degree also prepares graduates for roles like administrative assistant or customer service representative. Associate degrees are typically earned at two-year community colleges.

Bachelor of Communication Degree

A bachelor's degree in communication introduces undergraduates to topics like technical communication, mass communication, and public relations. The degree uses assignments and projects to strengthen students' interpersonal and critical-thinking skills while building strong communication abilities. After gaining these skills, graduates can pursue entry-level opportunities in marketing, fundraising, journalism, and public relations.

Earning a bachelor's degree typically takes four years for full-time students. Transfer students with prior college credit or an associate degree can complete their bachelor's degrees in less time. Learn more about affordable, online bachelor's programs in communication and media communication.

What Is the Difference Between a BA and a BS in Communication?

Undergraduates can either earn a BA or BS in communication. In either program, students typically take the same major-related courses. However, the degrees often have different general education requirements. For a BA, undergrads take more humanities and social science courses, and for a BS, they take more natural sciences and mathematics courses. A BA often also requires proficiency in a foreign language.

During both a BA and a BS, students can choose a specialty and pursue internship opportunities. Both degrees prepare graduates for careers in public relations, marketing, journalism, and technical communication.

Master's Degree in Communication

A master's degree in communication offers advanced training in public relations, applied communication, and communication theory. During a master's program, graduate students take coursework in a specialized area, such as journalism, marketing communication, or public relations. Graduate students may complete an internship to gain practical experience as part of their degree. Most programs culminate with a master's thesis or exam.

Earning a master's in communication generally takes two years for full-time students, though some programs offer accelerated options that allow students to earn the degree in less time. After completing a master's degree, graduates qualify for supervisory roles like fundraising manager, marketing manager, and public relations manager. Learn more about online master's programs in communication and media communication with our helpful guides.

What Is the Difference Between an MA and MS in Communication?

Graduate students can earn an MA or an MS in communication. Most universities will offer either an MA or an MS, but some schools offer both. In general, the two degrees offer similar specialization options and courses, but have different focuses. MS programs focus more on applied skills, while MA programs focus on theory. MA programs may also require foreign language proficiency, while MS programs typically don't.

Both an MA and an MS in communication prepare graduates for roles like public relations manager, marketing manager, and consultant.

Doctoral Degree in Communication

A doctorate in communication prepares graduates for the most advanced roles in the field. For example, most communication professors hold a doctorate.

At the doctoral level, communication graduate students take courses in communication theory, research methods, and media theory. Degree-seekers also take comprehensive examinations and must defend a doctoral proposal to begin working on their dissertations. During the dissertation stage, doctoral candidates conduct research and write an original work of scholarship.

Earning a doctoral degree requires a significant time commitment. Most programs require 3-5 years to complete, and applicants need a master's degree. Many professionals with a doctorate work in academia as a professor or higher education administrator.

Accreditation for Communication Programs

Prospective communication majors should research accreditation before applying to programs. Regionally accredited schools meet the highest standards for academic excellence. Choosing an accredited school can shape a student's academic opportunities and career prospects. Learn more about accreditation and why it matters in our accreditation guide.

In addition to choosing a regionally accredited school, applicants can also research accredited communication programs. For example, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications grants accreditation to communication programs.

Communication Professional Organizations

NCA is an academic association that represents educators and practitioners who research and teach communication. The association publishes academic journals, hosts an annual convention with professional development opportunities, and offers data related to the field. NCA also hosts a career center, including a job board of academic positions. PRSA is a public relations organization that represents both professionals and students. The society offers professional development programs tailored to different career stages, including the Public Relations Student Society of America. PRSSA also offers scholarships and awards to support students pursuing an education in public relations. It also connects students with internship opportunities. AMA represents marketing professionals and hosts over 70 local chapters in North America. The association offers marketer toolkits, live webinars, and academic journals to help members to stay current in the field. AMA also connects students with opportunities through its micro-internship program and offers members-only discounts. An international association, ICA has members in more than 80 countries. The association hosts an annual conference with networking opportunities, publishes six professional journals, and offers a members-only networking organization on its site. Students can access resources on academic achievement and professional development to launch their careers. A professional organization dedicated to business communication, IABC offers educational resources, professional certifications, and a resource library to help members advance their careers. The association also hosts an award program and publishes an online magazine. Members can access best practices resources, learning and career guidance, and the IABC job center to find professional opportunities in business communication. IAMCR promotes research and encourages emerging scholars. The association publishes global handbooks in media and communication, journals for its section and working groups, newsletters, and a book series. Members can also attend conferences to network with other communication researchers. IAMCR awards travel and research grants for members. AWC represents women working in communication fields. The association promotes networking opportunities through local chapters and national meetings. Members may also participate in professional development webinars, access resources on salary negotiation, and pursue leadership opportunities through AWC. The association offers awards for members and hosts an online job board.

Frequently Asked Questions

true Is Communication a Good Major?

A communication degree builds strong writing, interpersonal, and critical-thinking skills. Communication majors can specialize their degrees by concentrating in journalism, technical writing, mass communication, or public relations.

What Can I Do With a Major in Communication Studies?

Professionals with a communication degree can pursue careers in public relations, journalism, marketing, fundraising, and other fields that require strong communication skills.

Is Communication an Easy Major?

Majoring in communication requires strong writing, analytical, and critical-thinking skills. Communication majors take courses in mass communication, public relations, digital communication, and emerging communication technologies.

Are Communication Majors in Demand?

Many industries rely on communication specialists to convey their brand to consumers, raise awareness of their mission, and communicate technical information. As a result, communication majors can find work in a variety of roles and industries.

How Much Do Communication Majors Make?

Communication majors earn an average salary of over $60,000 per year, according to PayScale. Some fields, like public relations, marketing, and technical writing, offer higher average salaries.

Header Image Credit: fizkes | Shutterstock

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