Top 10 Careers with a Communications Degree

It is estimated that 75% of a person’s day is spent communicating in some way. Communications majors study language tools, both verbal and nonverbal, and how people interact with one another. Good communicators are articulate and persuasive, and the study of communications formalizes these skills into a discipline that can be applied to almost every major employment field. Popular sub-disciplines include journalism, public relations, writing, foreign languages, business, and marketing. In no particular order, here are ten careers that communications graduates may consider:

Career #1: Writing and Editing

Writers are responsible for everything from novels to grant applications to news stories to screenplays to instruction manuals to corporate website content. Most writers are employed by a company, but some are self-employed or freelancers. For as many competent people are working in every industry, a surprising number of them don’t know the difference between a predicate and a prepositional phrase, an apposition and alliteration, a compound sentence and a complex one. Understanding the fundamentals of writing opens the door to being a valued member of any team that needs to create well-written, finely edited content. (Hey, it works for me!)

Career #2: Internal Communications

Every company with multiple employees, from international banks to hospitals to nonprofits, has a need for a communications specialist. Internal communications managers and specialists ensure the company’s various departments and employees are working together harmoniously and efficiently. Large companies employ entire communications departments responsible for ensuring top-down communication is clear, developing written materials such as newsletters and style guides, and overseeing the workflow of any written content. In a small company, the communications manager and specialist may be the same job.

Career #3: Public Relations

A public relations specialist, sometimes known as a media or communications specialist, is responsible for a company’s public image. They manipulate public opinion and try to earn credibility and trust for their employer through various means of branding and messaging. Often they are the mediator between their employer and the press, and they write press releases and speeches, give public statements, organize events, and act as a spokesperson. If the company faces any kind of crisis, such as a public scandal, the public relations specialist coordinates media appearances to control and direct the story. In government offices, the public relations specialist is referred to as the public information officer or press secretary.

Career #4: Publicity

Publicists help individuals like authors, athletes, politicians, celebrities, and others get the media coverage they need to succeed in their field. Communications skills are therefore important, as publicists spend their day talking to the press, arranging appearances on television or radio shows, landing interviews with key journalists, and generally generating excitement and interest around their client’s work or personality. Like public relations specialists, publicists must also spin negative events like scandals to protect their client’s image.

Career #5: Market Research Analysis

Market research analysts design questionnaires, polls, and surveys to gauge the effectiveness of existing products, the reach of marketing strategies, or the needs and desires of the consumer base. So these analysts must be proficient in both communications and data analysis. They gather the data, analyze it, and create recommendations for company actions. In so doing, they help their employer increase profits and consumer satisfaction by thinking critically about how the company communicates and allocates resources.

Career #6: Newscasting

Broadcast news analysts, news anchors, and radio personalities are responsible for distilling the day’s events into public broadcasts. They must be articulate, charismatic, and compelling. They must also be able to prepare—which means reading, interpreting, and writing—and deliver the day’s news. In breaking news situations, newscasters must think on their feet to relay critical information without bias and with sensitivity to those involved in the situation. Communications majors interested in pursuing newscasting should take courses in journalism, which can teach you how to write with a news voice and put together news packages. But beware: While rewarding, journalism is a highly stressful and competitive industry.

Career #7: Advertising

Advertising copywriters write brochures, product packaging, even commercial jingles, while art directors and designers create advertising images. Both assume responsibility for the development of marketing ideas and materials; they make up the creative department of advertising agencies. Other advertising departments are also good places for communications majors—the media department places ads in the places where the right consumers will see them. The account planning department advises and develops ad focus using insight into how consumers make use of marketing communications. The account management department is the liaison between the agency and the client. All of these roles require effective communication skills, and as a unit they make up one of the preeminent careers for communications majors.

Career #8: Event Planning

Almost everyone plans an event at some point—a birthday party, a social gathering, a pie-eating contest, what have you. People skilled at organizing others, remembering details, and leading the realization of an action plan should consider going into event planning. Event planners take care of the logistics, like scouting a location, organizing lodging, and securing food and refreshments, as well as helping to determine the tone and scope of the event. Due to all the people involved in the process of planning an event—clients, vendors, attendees—event planning is a people-oriented, and thus a communicative, profession.

Career #9: Customer Service

Customer service representatives are employed by any company that must cater to consumers, including retailers, airlines, and health care companies. The successful customer service representative is someone with patience and a positive outlook, who can understand and quickly address customer issues and find solutions while making the customer feel valued. Customer service representatives need a tough skin, as people usually don’t call to tell you how wonderful your product is—they call because there is a problem. The high number of customer service jobs available across all industries make this an attractive option for communications majors.

Career #10: Sales

Salespeople, sometimes known as account executives, sales agents, or sales representatives, sell products or services with a focus on building a loyal clientele. It is a highly personal profession, with the best salespeople being the best communicators and networkers. Often they meet with clients face-to-face, though some sales jobs are conducted over the phone or Internet. They need to be aggressive, present a convincing pitch, stay updated on the industry, and handle stress well. Advertising sales is a particularly popular niche for communications majors.

Because there is so much choice offered to someone with exceptional communication skills, communications majors can tailor their career to their own interests: Those with a passion for fitness may choose to work in customer service for an athletic gear company. Those who like travel may work as a communications specialist for a travel agency or a university study abroad program. Those who love nature may work as a publicist for an environmental nonprofit. The list is endless!

Guide to Online Communication Master Programs

University of Southern California If an engaging student life, peer-to-peer interaction, and flexibility are appealing to you, then an online degree from the University of Southern California can be an excellent choice. USC is a large school, home to almost 40,000 students, but you can earn your degree online like the Master of Communication Management with no campus time required.
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American University American University has an MA in Strategic Communication available online that follows a two-year plan, but you can schedule classes on a pace comfortable for you. This is a Strategic Communication program designed for working professionals and requires a bachelor degree or higher for enrollment.
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Southern New Hampshire University The Southern New Hampshire University is a highly-rated college based in Manchester, New Hampshire, placing it in a city field with a vibrant culture and history. However, you can obtain an MA in Communication Administration or specialize in Public Relations or New Media & Marketing through online classes without having to spend time on campus for completion, cutting down on commuting and living expenses.
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Full Sail University For over 100 years, the Full Sail University has provided quality education by integrating engaging exercises and career-oriented curriculum. This is apparent in their online BS in Media Communication degree that prepares graduates to take on high-level positions and responsibilities and gain a global perspective on various business and technology situations.
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