10 Best Associates Degrees in Communications Online [2021 Guide]
Earning an associates degree in communications online can help you get started in a media, writing, sales, or public relations job.
Learning how to communicate in a way that makes people pay attention is a skill that can serve you well in nearly any industry.
Whether you want to work in business, television, print media, or another field, you may consider getting started with an online communications degree program.
Online Associates in Communications
Clear, persuasive communication improves relationships, delivers messages, increases sales, develops brands, and enhances business operations.
With an associate’s degree in communications, you may be better prepared to take on communications responsibilities for an employer or enhance your own business endeavors.
As a communications student, you may study theories about how to deliver messages and entice audiences to pay attention. You’ll also learn about the history of communications and mass media.
Classes may give you hands-on practice with various communications tools. This could include oral presentations, visual designs, and professional writing. You may also familiarize yourself with apps that will integrate with these forms of communication.
In addition to practicing how to deliver messages, you may also learn technical aspects of preparing messages for broadcast. Skills in this arena might include sound engineering and video recording.
Having an associate degree in communications could be useful in a sales or advertising job. You could also look for work in a media organization, such as a newspaper, website, or radio station.
Some communications graduates choose self-employment. As a writer, such as a copywriter or a grant writer, you could work for a variety of clients and manage your own schedule. Communications is one of the foundations of the public relations field. This degree might help you break into PR as an assistant or even as a specialist.
A communications associate degree could also help you work toward a bachelor’s degree. If you choose to go on to earn your bachelor’s, you may enter the bachelor’s program with almost half of the required credits already completed.
Communications Careers & Salaries
An associates degree in communications can help you get started in the field of media and communications. There are many different jobs in which you may be able to apply your communication skills daily.
Success in sales depends heavily on being able to communicate well with customers. Many sales roles don’t require any special training, but your communications education may help you perform better or outpace your competitors. Products and services that you could sell include travel and insurance.
Advertising depends on sales as well. You could use your communications expertise to sell television or radio airtime to various businesses. You could also encourage them to place ads in magazines, newspapers, or websites.
With certain employers, you might be able to work in any of the below positions with an associates degree in communications. Some employers, though, may prefer candidates who hold bachelor’s degrees for certain positions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who work in media and communications earn an average annual salary of $61,310.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Writers and Authors||$67,120|
|Public Relations Specialists||$62,810|
|Advertising Sales Agents||$54,940|
|Insurance Sales Agents||$52,180|
|Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians||$47,420|
|Customer Service Representatives||$35,830|
If you enjoy writing, you may be able to make a career out of that interest as well. Freelance copywriters provide content for print and online media, and grant writers help organizations obtain needed funds. Proofreaders and editors are related occupations.
Technical writing is another field to consider. You may be especially successful if you have specialized knowledge in a particular area, such as mechanics, technology, or science. Some local newspapers may hire reporters with an associate degree. You might also be able to work as a news reporter or an announcer for a radio station.
You might take some classes in college about behind-the-scenes recording or broadcasting work. With that training, you may get a job as a broadcast technician. If you’re interested in the field of public relations, you may start as an assistant and work up to being a PR specialist.
Associate’s in Communications Curriculum
The courses for your communications associate degree program will be designed to provide a broad introduction to this field. They can help you gain theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience.
- Communication Theories: This course will provide a history of the communications field and teach you modern concepts that shape this sector today.
- Ethics and Law in Communication: During this class, you’ll explore the First Amendment and other rules that guide communications practices, and you’ll discuss ethical guidelines that should influence your professional decisions.
- Graphic Design: You’ll discuss visual theories and learn to use graphics programs that can help you communicate through signs, advertisements, and other visual media.
- Introduction to Mass Communication: This foundational course will discuss different types of media that reach large audiences and explore how they influence culture.
- Media Production: During this class, you’ll learn about some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into preparing messages and entertainment for audiences.
- News Reporting: Taking this class may help get you ready to conduct interviews, write articles, and maintain journalistic integrity.
- Online Media: You can explore how the digital world has opened up new opportunities for reaching audiences and developing a brand.
- Professional Writing: A course on writing may hone your grammatical skills, teach you to develop your voice, help you tailor a message to its audience, and introduce you to AP style.
- Speech: You’ll learn more about delivering compelling oral messages and get opportunities to practice your skills.
- Technology for Communication: Taking a technology course can give you practice with various applications that may enhance your messages.
An online communication associate degree usually includes about 60 credit hours of classes.
Many associate’s degree programs offer quick and easy online applications. Knowing what to expect can help you breeze through the process.
- Application form: It may take only a few minutes to fill out an online application form with your birthdate, contact information, and specifics about the program that interest you.
- Identification: Some colleges request a copy of your driver’s license or another official ID.
- Transcripts: You’ll often need to request that official documents be sent to the college from your high school and any other institutions you’ve attended.
Some colleges charge an application fee, but others will review your materials at no cost.
If you attend a regionally accredited school, then you can trust that the school has been recognized by an accrediting agency for meeting high educational standards. The US has 7 regional accrediting agencies, and a list of the agencies is available from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
One of the qualifications to receive government financial aid is to attend an accredited school. Having an accredited degree can also help when entering the job market or when applying to other colleges.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
The federal government encourages all potential college students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After turning in this form, you can learn about federal student assistance that you may qualify to receive.
The government may allow you to take out federal student loans, if you qualify. The money that you borrow would have to be paid back after graduation, but the interest rates should be fairly low.
You may also qualify to receive federal grants, which would not have to be repaid. Additionally, your FAFSA results may help you qualify for assistance from your state government. The state programs are often similar to the ones from the federal government, but they of course vary by state.
A variety of private organizations offer scholarships to promising students. You may even find and apply for scholarships that are specifically for communications students. You may consider checking with your college’s financial aid department for additional funding ideas. You may be eligible to receive institutional scholarships from the school itself.
What Can You Do with an Associate’s Degree in Communications?
An associate degree in communications can be useful for many different career paths. You may pursue a job as a writer, an editor, a PR assistant, or a sales representative.
Media jobs are popular among communications graduates. You may work in print, radio, or television. Online forms of media—such as blogs, websites, and social media platforms—might be another way to put your skills to use.
Your associates degree in communications salary will depend on which career path you decide to follow. Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average media and communications job pays $61,310 annually.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate’s Degree in Communications Online?
If you have a full-time course load at a college with traditional 16 week semesters, it often takes about 2 years to complete.
If you’re hoping to get done more quickly, you may look for a college with accelerated 8 week courses. By studying year-round, you might be able to finish school in less time.
Colleges with fast-track classes often enroll new students throughout the year. So, how long it takes you to finish will depend largely on the university you select. The sooner you can begin your program, the sooner you may be able to graduate.
Can You Be a Journalist with an Associate’s Degree?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, journalists and reporters typically need bachelor’s degrees. But, that doesn’t mean that there’s not a place for you in this field right now.
An associate’s degree in communications will probably include courses in communications law, professional writing and speaking, and media production. These classes may look good on your resume.
Local news outlets may be more likely to hire you at this point in your academic career. By demonstrating strong writing or speaking skills, you may be able to secure a job covering small stories. Over time, you may earn increased responsibility as you gain experience.
Is an Associates Degree in Communications Worth It?
Yes, an associates in communications degree is worth it for many students. Jobs in the media and communication field are projected to grow at a rate of 4% in the next 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics), as fast as the average job growth for all occupations.
Common communications careers in this field include announcer, writer, advertising sales agent, broadcast technician, and public relations specialist. Having an associate degree may give you an edge when applying for jobs. Not only may employers be more likely to hire you with a degree, but your college experience may also qualify you for higher pay.
If you decide to go on to earn your bachelors, then your associates degree may allow you to begin working in your chosen field while you continue to study.
Universities Offering Online Associate’s in Communications Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Chippewa Valley Technical College’s professional communications associates degree is a good option for students hoping to become social media managers, reporters, technical writers, or copywriters.
Students will learn about various media- and communication-related topics, like documentation development, usability testing, web content writing, document design, production and management, and multimedia composition.
Chippewa Valley Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado Christian University’s Associate of Arts in Communication Studies program puts a biblical focus at the center of all its lessons. Students will learn how the Bible relates to cross-cultural communication and the First Amendment. They’ll also take courses to improve their critical thinking, interpersonal communication, and public speaking skills.
Colorado Christian University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
The Associate of Science in Communications program at Franklin University puts a heavy focus on media, organizational, and interpersonal communication.
The curriculum is also designed to teach students to apply organizational, technical, and creative skills to solving professional communications problems. It’s a 60 credit, 100% online associates degree program with full accreditation.
Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Students interested in earning communication degrees from Georgia Military College can select from either an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science program.
Core courses are largely the same in both and cover topics such as public speaking, mass communication, interpersonal communication, communication theory, and basic news writing and reporting.
Georgia Military College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Lone Star College offers Associate of Applied Science degrees in visual communication in several different concentrations. These include 3D animation, graphic design, multimedia, video and post-production, and web design. The graphic design track is the only one offered online. It’s a 60 credit program that’s usually completed in 2 years.
Lone Star College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Over 50% of the communication and media studies associates program at Monroe Community College can be completed online.
The program is taught by actual communications professionals who’ve spent years working in the industry. In addition to a comprehensive curriculum, internships within various media settings are also possible for some students.
Monroe Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Northampton Community College’s communication associates program is a 2 year program that provides basic foundations for students hoping to one day move into communications positions within the fields of politics, media, public relations, journalism, or education.
Courses help students improve their problem solving, presentation, and oral and written communication skills.
Northampton Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Students hoping to transfer into baccalaureate programs in communications can earn their Associate of Arts in Communication Studies from Saint Paul College.
It’s a transfer-friendly degree that teaches students about writing and speaking both effectively and persuasively. Additional courses in team building, networking, and conflict management will also be taken.
Saint Paul College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Sinclair Community College’s Associate of Arts in Communications Studies program is somewhat flexible, allowing students’ input on their course selections in order to provide them with the most relevant, interesting degree paths possible.
The program’s focus is placed on sharpening students’ skills in small group, interpersonal, mass-media, and public speaking settings.
Sinclair Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The communications associates program from South Texas College is a 60 credit program that can be completed online.
Students will take a mixture of general studies, general electives and major-specific courses. Required major-specific courses include composition and rhetoric I and II, public speaking, interpersonal communications, and business and professional communication.
South Texas College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Communications Associates Degree Online
As a communications professional, you may pursue a career in the fields of writing, sales, and public relations. With an associate degree in communications, you may be able to work in radio, television, advertising, or print media. You could even go into business for yourself as a freelancer.
You may find that an associates in communications has a number of potential applications. By taking communications classes online, you can invest in your future in a way that suits your busy lifestyle.
If you’re interested in learning more about how a degree in this field could benefit you, you may consider exploring accredited online communications programs.