Career Paths With a Communication Degree

TBS Staff Writers
Updated April 24, 2024
Communication majors study journalism, mass communication, public relations, and corporate communication.

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Earning a Degree in Communications

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.

Associate or Bachelor’s Degree Required

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master’s or Doctoral Degree Required

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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