The communications major spans a wide berth of fields, all involving transmitting, exchanging ideas, and expression. Often considered a generalist path, a communications degree can be applied to any number of industries, making it versatile. The goal of most jobs in communications are singular and deceptively simple: communicate effectively. To who? Why? In what mode? These questions will have different answers everywhere, and it’s a communication graduates job to know the answer. Communication degrees are available at all levels, including associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral. Ideal attributes for this field include strong public speaking and/or presentation skills, as well as quantitative and qualitative research skills.
For a basic education in communication, an associate degree may encompass what you need. Curriculums for these programs typically include an introduction to marketing and sociology, along with the basics of economics. Developing verbal and listening skills is the focus during this 2-year degree, so public speaking and mass communications are touched on, as well.
A bachelor’s in communication is considered the standard degree in the industry and opens doors for a variety of entry-level positions. Study at this level includes more focused approaches to interpersonal relations, linguistics, and branding. Technical writing, journalism, social issues in communication, and new media will play significant roles in the curriculum, along with ethics and communication.
There are two options at the baccalaureate level. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication will lean more heavily on writing and marketing, but there’s also the other side of the communications spectrum: the technology used to transmit it. This is where a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communication can come in handy. A BS in this field can lead to a career in sound engineering or production.
Careers for graduates with a bachelor’s in communication include: Technical Writer, Social Media Specialist, Communication Planner, Public Relations Specialist, Journalist, Advertising Specialist, Grant Writer, Foreign Relations, Writer, Editor, Broadcast Journalist. The average salary in this field is around $55,000.
A Master’s in Communication is often used to acquire specific expertise, enhance research and presentation skills, and broaden writing communication capabilities. Concentrations are many and include mass communication, global strategy, public diplomacy, journalism, health communication, and corporate communication.
The goal, after earning a Master’s in Communication, is typically to transition into senior positions in the field, such as a Marketing Communication Direction/Manager, Public Relations Manager, Brand/Advertising Manager, or Chief Marketing Officer. The average salary for individuals with an MA in communications is $60,000.
Doctorates in Communication are offered, but are not usually required outside of academia. This form of graduate school requires a true passion for research and a dedication to academia. Most graduates become professors in the same field while conducting studies and research of their own.