2021 Best Online Communications Degrees [Guide]
If you’re interested in exploring the nuance of verbal and nonverbal communication and honing advanced interpersonal skills, then an online communications degree may be a good fit for you.
With an online communications degree, you may be prepared for a number of rewarding career opportunities in various industries. The need for communication specialists spans across virtually all sectors of the economy.
Positions in the field of communications boast higher than average annual salaries. These positions may also provide promising conditions for career advancement, from entry-level positions into management or leadership positions.
Best Online Communications Degrees
There are a number of different degree options you can choose to pursue when looking to obtain a communication degree online. The degree that’s right for you will depend on your interests and overall career goals.
Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:
Each path may come with slightly different course offerings, learning outcomes, and career trajectories. Some degree options include a bachelor’s in communications online, a bachelor’s in media communications online, or a bachelor’s in visual communications online.
Bachelors in Communications Online
An online bachelor’s degree in communications offers coursework surrounding general communication theories. These theories include verbal and nonverbal communication, interpersonal communication, and oral communication or public speaking.
The core curriculum offered in a bachelor’s in communications online program tends to be more general in nature, focusing on the high-level theories related to the transmission of information from one person to the next.
You may be able to take a few specific courses, though, to complement the core curriculum. These may include introductory courses in relation to leadership, organizational change, conflict resolution, crisis management, culture and globalization, mass media, or social media.
With an online degree in communications, you may be well suited to pursue a number of different career options. Common careers include event planner, fundraiser, fund development manager, public relations specialist, marketing assistant, communications specialist, marketing and advertising manager, and editor.
Due to the generalized nature of an online communications degree, you may also be able to obtain positions in media, such as broadcasting, journalism, or filmmaking.
Bachelors in Media Communications Online
A bachelors in media communications will allow you to study different forms of media as well as best practices for using media as a means of communication.
Different types of media may include radio, television, social media, print, and online. Coursework in this degree program may cover types of mass media, ethics in media and marketing, marketing communications, writing styles for broadcast and journalism, and social media communication strategies.
You may also be required to complete courses that cover how communication skills—such as interview skills and broadcast communication techniques—are used in media. With an online media communications degree, you may be specially qualified to pursue a career in journalism, broadcasting, filmmaking, social media management, marketing, or writing.
Positions could include news anchor, news reporter, news correspondent, radio DJ, filmmaker, or social media manager. Other paths may include marketing specialist, public relations specialist, or marketing and public relations manager.
Bachelors in Visual Communications Online
A bachelors in visual communications is generally focused on teaching how to use visual assets and visual storytelling to communicate or convey information to an audience.
Courses may have a more artistic focus in this degree program, but you may also study industry software used to create publications, illustrations, and designs. Careers stemming from a degree in visual communications are generally more creative and artistic in nature, using visual mediums to communicate information to an audience.
As a visual communication specialist, you may play an important role in the development of brand material for businesses. Your role may include developing content for social media, creating office presentations, developing print materials and publications, or designing websites and website graphics.
You may also create infographics and other visual graphic content to communicate an idea or concept to your intended audience.
With a visual communications degree, you may be poised for positions as a graphic designer, presentation designer, content creator, illustrator, photographer, filmmaker, or website designer. Other opportunities may also exist in marketing and advertising.
Communications Careers & Salaries
While there are a number of positions available to you with a degree in communications, some common paths include marketing and advertising, public relations, event management, and fundraising.
Positions in marketing and advertising may require you to work within a team to brainstorm ideas for promotional campaigns within a business.
This could include discussions around how to advertise certain products and what will be shared through various media avenues. You may also analyze market trends, evaluate the demand for products or services, and define product pricing strategies.
In public relations positions, you may act as the primary business contact for media and communicate directly with various outlets.
You may also oversee the issuing of press releases, manage communication from the business to the public, maintain a positive reputation for the business, and evaluate social media for risks to the organization.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a number of rewarding career paths you may pursue with a communications online degree.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Advertising and Promotions Managers||$125,510|
|Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||$116,180|
|Public Relations Specialists||$61,150|
|Media and Communication Specialists||$59,230|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||$50,600|
|Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts||$46,270|
A number of positions in the field of communications are predicted to experience growth over the next decade. Some of these positions include advertising, promotions, and marketing managers (6%), public relations specialists (7%), event planners (8%), public relations managers (9%), fundraising managers (9%), and fundraisers (14%).
In event management positions, you may coordinate event details with venues and other hired vendors, from caterers and transportation service providers to speakers and entertainers.
These event management duties may extend to oversight of budgets, location details, timelines, food orders, and transportation for social and professional events. Such events may include conferences, corporate meetings, weddings, fundraisers, galas, and banquets, among others.
In a fundraising position, you may solicit donations from businesses and individuals and develop marketing materials to promote awareness of a cause. You may also raise additional funds and plan fundraising campaigns.
Other responsibilities may include managing donation records and ensuring that fundraising initiatives and financial reporting abide by legal requirements.
Communications Curriculum & Courses
When pursuing a communications degree online, you may be required to complete a number of courses covering the transmission or conveyance of information among parties in both private and public settings.
- Advanced Public Speaking: This course covers various oral communication strategies and helps you develop presentation skills through practical application.
- Business Communication: You’ll examine best practices for optimal communication in business settings, including oral presentations, small group discussions, and written communication.
- Interpersonal Communication: This course covers how communication plays a fundamental role in the development of positive and healthy relationships in both work and personal life.
- Communication Theory: You’ll study various theories and perspectives related to verbal and nonverbal communication.
- Leadership and Communication: You’ll review communication skills for organizational leadership and how to get the most out of communication with employees, co-workers, and key stakeholders.
- Communication in Social Media: This course examines communication from a social media and technology lens, including how the use of social media technologies impact the way people communicate with one another.
- Communication for Managers: You’ll learn strategies to communicate effectively as a manager, including organizational communication, team communication, and conflict management.
- Communication in a Crisis: You’ll discover best practices for crisis communication, including developing a crisis response plan and managing the situation.
- Nonverbal Communication: This course examines nonverbal communication methods, including body language, eye contact, tone, pitch, and facial expressions.
- Conflict Resolution: This course explores various strategies to manage conflict and work towards productive resolutions by using effective communication.
Online communication degree programs may allow you to balance the core communication curriculum with more specialized course offerings in mass media, visual communication, business communication, political science, and more.
Admissions criteria for an online communications degree may differ from school to school. When you’re looking to enroll in a program, though, you may want to be aware of the following:
- Online application: Some schools may require you to complete an online application to be considered for enrollment into an online communications degree program.
- High school transcripts: In many cases, communication degree programs will request your high school transcripts as part of your application to the program.
- SAT or ACT scores (if required): While not always required, some schools and programs may request your SAT or ACT scores for admittance into an online communications degree program.
- College transcripts (if applicable): If you’ve previously attended another postsecondary school or program, you may be required to submit your transcripts from completed courses.
International students may be required to meet additional admission criteria, such as English proficiency testing.
Regional accreditation validates that a program’s curriculum meets a predetermined level of academic quality.
The accreditation status of a program may impact your ability to transfer credits to another school and may also factor into hiring manager’s decision making. The accreditation status of a program may also impact your ability to obtain financial aid.
You can find out the accreditation status of programs you’re interested in by visiting the US Department of Education‘s website.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
While pursuing a degree in communications online comes with some cost, there are a number of financial aid options available that may help reduce the financial burden.
Federal and state aid programs are managed by the federal and state governments, respectively. If you qualify, each of these aid options may offer grants or loans to help you fund your education. Generally, loans are required to be repaid while grants are not.
Scholarships are another type of financial aid option that you may be eligible to receive. These payments are offered by various nonprofit and private organizations and, like grants, generally do not require repayment.
You can apply for financial aid online through the US Department of Education using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
What Is a Communications Degree?
A communications degree is an academic program where you may learn various principles and strategies of communication. You may learn verbal or oral communication as well as nonverbal communication.
When studying nonverbal communication, you may look at communicating through body language, facial expressions, voice tone and pitch, and eye contact.
You may be able to earn a communications degree as either a bachelor of business administration, bachelor of arts, or bachelor of science, with varying concentrations or majors.
Communication degree majors or concentrations will vary from school to school. Concentrations or majors may include journalism, marketing, visual communications, media, public relations, business, or politics.
What Can You Do with a Communications Degree?
There are a number of rewarding career paths you can follow with a degree in communications. Job positions may be found in virtually all industries of the economy, including private, public, and nonprofit organizations.
With your online communications degree, you may be qualified for careers such as news reporter, marketing specialist, public relations specialist, media and communications specialist, or advertising manager. Other career options include event planner, fundraiser, writer, or editor.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Communications Degree Online?
Completing your degree in communications often takes 4 years if you follow the traditional, 16 week semester schedule with a full course load.
Some programs offer a schedule with 8 week semesters with continuous enrollment. If you’re a full-time student, this may allow you to obtain your degree in less time.
Alternatively, some programs may allow you to enroll on a part-time basis. This path may take you longer to complete your degree, but a part-time school schedule can help to balance other life responsibilities, such as family and work. If this is the case, you may be interested in an associates degree in communications as this degree typically only takes two years to complete and can give you a great start in this field.
What Is the Difference Between Marketing vs. Communications?
Communications is focused on general verbal and nonverbal interaction and the relay of information from one party to the next.
This may include one-on-one communication as well as communication among a group, either in a private, personal setting, a public setting, or a workplace. Marketing, on the other hand, uses communication strategies and methods for the specific purpose of selling a product or service to a consumer.
Unlike general communication, marketing requires you to research and understand your target markets, develop and maintain a business’s brand, devise value propositions, and analyze market trends.
What Is the Difference Between Communications vs. Public Relations?
Public relations is a course of study that focuses on managing the image of an organization or individual. It also emphasizes the maintenance of positive relationships and reputations.
Communications focuses on the general transmission of information from one person to another. Careers in the field of public relations may require you to communicate directly with media outlets. You may act as the primary business contact for inquiries from television, radio, print, and online news sources.
This may also include acting as the primary contact for media during public relations crises. You may be responsible for oversight of communication material leaving the organization, including press releases, speeches, presentations, and more.
What Jobs Can You Get with a Communications Degree?
Careers in the field of communication exist across almost all industries of the economy. Many organizations require the support of communication experts, and employers can range across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
With a degree in communications, you may be qualified for positions in media, marketing and advertising, public relations, or fundraising and event management. Media careers may include news reporter, news correspondent, news broadcaster, writer, or editor.
Marketing and advertising positions could include marketing specialist, advertising manager, or advertising manager. Other positions may include public relations specialist, event coordinator, development coordinator, or grant writer.
What Can You Do with a Mass Communications Degree?
Mass communications degree curriculum focuses on communicating through mass mediums, such as radio, television, and the internet.
A degree in mass communications may require you to study topics like media studies, photojournalism, news writing, media and globalization, and research in mass media.
With a mass communications degree, you may be able to obtain positions in journalism, television broadcasting, radio disk jockeying, and media consulting. You may also pursue writing, editing, and public relations.
Is a Communications Degree Worth It?
Yes, a bachelor’s degree in communications is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $59,230 and 4% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in communications can help you launch a career in this exciting field.
Common communications careers include media and communications specialist, public relations specialist or manager, event planner, fund development coordinator, or marketing and advertising manager.
Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Communications Degree Programs
Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer communications bachelors degree online.
Appalachian State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
Arkansas State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
California Baptist University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.
Colorado Christian University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Columbus State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Dallas Baptist University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Eastern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of College and Schools.
Embry-Riddle is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
King University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Lakeland University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Loyola University New Orleans is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Mississippi College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Northern Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Regis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
San Diego Christian College is accredited by the WASC Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Trine University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Colorado – Boulder is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Louisville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
U of M Crookston is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The University of Texas Permian Basin is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The University of Wisconsin-Superior is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Upper Iowa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
WSU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Getting Your Communications Degree Online
Earning your bachelors degree in communications online may open up opportunities in a wide variety of career paths.
Some careers include event planning, fundraising, and donor relations. You may also pursue positions in public relations, advertising, and marketing as well as journalism, news media, television, film, and social media.
Careers in the field of communication boast a positive job outlook over the next several years. These jobs may offer room for growth and advancement within the profession, with the ability to move from entry-level positions into management, leadership, or self-employment.
If you’re intrigued by any of the careers available in the field of communication, you may consider exploring accredited programs for earning a communications degree online.