What Can You Do with a Communications Degree? [2021 Guide]

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What can you do with a communications degree? As a diverse, wide-ranging field of study, a bachelors in communications can help prepare you for work in business, media, politics, publishing, marketing, and more.

What Can You Do with a Communications Degree

Communications is a very flexible focus area with many applications in the real world.

What Can You Do with a Communications Degree?

Marketing team meeting for a project

Some degrees are very specialized, teaching you specific subjects and skills for a specific career. In contrast, a traditional or online degree in communications is a vast field with a variety of focus areas available, depending on your interests.

If you like being in front of the camera, for example, you may become a reporter, publicist, political correspondent, or media relations manager. If you’re good at diplomacy, you may become an advisor, negotiating agent, or translator for global businesses.

There are several ways to earn a communications degree. The most straightforward route is to become a communications major in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in Communications or a Bachelor of Science in Communications.

Another option is to major in your area of interest with a specialty in communications. For example, you may work toward a bachelors degree in business administration with a concentration in communication.

You may also look into certifications that are related to communications, such as the Communication Management Professional (CMP) or the Strategic Communication Management Professional (SCMP).

Top 5 Things You Can Do with a Communications Degree

Marketing Manager meeting with colleague

With so many career options out there, you might be wondering about the path that’s best for you. What doors can be opened with a communications degree? Where can you take your skills and turn them into profitable work?

Here are just a few common communications major jobs that you may pursue with a degree in communications.

1. Marketing

Marketing team meeting with client in the office

Marketing is the art of selling. You might be selling a product, service, company, campaign, or even an idea. Marketing jobs can range from the creative to the clerical, so you may have your pick of potential careers.

If you’re the artistic type, you might become a graphic designer or visual director for promotional materials. If you work well with others, you may wield your interpersonal skills as a team leader or marketing manager for a product launch.

It takes all kinds of people to make a successful advertisement, and with a communications degree under your belt, you may be a vital part of the team.

2. Publishing

Writer working in a cafe

There’s a common misconception that writing, editing, and publishing jobs are only for English majors. The truth is that communication majors may be just as qualified for these roles.

Do you enjoy words? You may put your skills to work as an author. Are you a news junkie? You may join a news outlet or media team. Do you enjoy academia? There’s always demand for dedicated researchers. In the world of publishing, a background in communications can be quite beneficial.

3. Public Service

government policymaker attending a conference

Public service is an incredibly broad field that can include everyone from government policymakers to social workers helping the disadvantaged.

While some of these jobs have specialized requirements within their own fields of study, a communications degree may still be applicable to some. For example, if you’re passionate about healthcare, a communications degree may lead to a career as a public health advocate.

If you want to travel, a communications degree can help equip you with the necessary skills for cultural diplomacy in other countries. If you’re interested in law, politics, health, government, or global affairs, you might want to consider a communications degree.

4. Reporting

News Anchor working in a studio

Reporting may take you all around the world as you communicate information about current events.

There are other, similar jobs in this field as well. You may become a journalist, broadcaster, news anchor, or political correspondent. You may even stay behind the lens as a camera operator or video producer.

The options are plentiful if you decide to take a communications degree and use it as a springboard for reporting.

5. Media Relations

Media is a vast world, but a communications degree can help you navigate it. Skilled speakers might consider a job as a public relations representative. Those who are good with technology might prefer work as a social media manager or digital content creator.

Other media jobs can be found within marketing, publishing, reporting, and more. It’s an area with a lot of crossover into other industries. Many of today’s businesses need media specialists, so you may search for a job that matches your particular skills and interests.

Communications Careers & Salaries

Communications Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, media and communication occupations have an average salary of $59,230 per year. Their growth rate is a steady 4%, so within the next decade, there will be around 46,200 new jobs added to the market.

There are hundreds of possible careers in communications, but here are just a few that might catch your eye:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $135,900
Producers and Directors $74,420
Writers and Authors $63,200
Editors $61,370
Public Relations Specialists $61,150
Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators $59,810
Advertising Sales Agents $53,310
Interpreters and Translators $51,830
Health Educators and Community Health Workers $46,910
Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts $46,270

Jobs for communications majors can be quite varied, so you may want to keep that in mind when looking at wage information. The salary of a globe-trotting journalist may be quite different than the salary of an entry-level marketing intern.

Is Financial Aid Available?

Communications Degree Financial Aid

If you can’t afford school on your own, there are many forms of financial aid available for students who qualify.

You may start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It automatically determines your eligibility for grants, loans, and work-study programs. The FAFSA is income-based, so rather than awarding you for grades, it calculates a total based on your or your family’s finances.

For merit-based financial aid, you may consider looking at scholarships. They can range from one-time awards of small amounts to renewing awards that are worth a large sum across all 4 years of schooling. There are even special scholarships that exist for communications majors.

Another form of financial aid is tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement. This is usually offered by employers, so you may want to see if you’re working somewhere with educational benefits.

How Much Money Can You Make with a Communications Degree?

Marketing team working in the office

There’s no ceiling when it comes to communications degrees and their earning potential. Some people take home millions thanks to high-flying writer or producer jobs in Hollywood.

For a more realistic look at your potential wages, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks salary information for a number of careers. Their calculations include averages, pay ranges, and growth rates over time. For example, marketing can be a highly lucrative career field for communications majors.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketing managers earn an annual median salary of $136,850 while advertising and promotions managers earn an annual median salary of $125,510.

What Is Communications?

Advertising Sales Agent talking to a customer

Communications is a diverse field that can be described in many different ways. Fundamentally, it’s based on the exchange of information between people. This can encompass businesses marketing themselves to customers as well as public service officials updating their communities on important topics.

If it involves information being conveyed from one party to another, it can be called communication. You might also find this subject called “communication studies” and other, similar terms if you’re browsing through college catalogues.

What Is a Communications Degree Good For?

The field of communications is expanding quickly. More and more companies are looking for quick, efficient ways to communicate with clients, customers, and vendors, especially now that the world has become so globalized.

You may find many uses for a communications degree in the modern job market. Whether you’re interested in retail, politics, health, education, or public relations, there are many options for people with a background in communications.

What Do You Learn in Communications?

Communications degree student studying

Communication studies usually involve classes in media relations, mass communication, research methods, organizational behavior, and reading and writing. Your school might also ask for extra coursework in areas like business or marketing.

Since it’s such a vast field, you might decide to specialize in something in order to gain more technical, real-world skills for particular types of careers. This may help you with job prospects after you graduate.

For example, if you already know that you want to go into public relations, you might look for a communications degree program with an emphasis in public relations.

What’s the Difference Between Marketing vs. Communications?

Advertising team working in the office

There can be a lot of crossover between marketing and communications, especially in college degree programs. One might be a specialization for the other, or they might have overlapping courses to fulfill particular credit areas.

The main difference lies in their intent. Marketing is designed to sell something. Communication can be for any purpose, including but not limited to marketing.

Is Communications a Good Major?

If you have a passion for media, advertising, news, politics, or public relations, then a bachelors degree in communications may be a strategic investment for the future.

A degree program in communications can help you develop the skills that you’ll need to enter the workforce. As a communications graduate, you may qualify for a variety of jobs in numerous fields.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Communications Degree?

writer working at home

You may still be wondering, “What can I do with a communications degree?” A degree in communications is highly versatile. You may even choose to pursue a career as a writer, publisher, news announcer, or political consultant. It all depends on how you want to apply your degree to the real world.

Are you good at public speaking? You may become a publicist or public relations spokesperson. Do you want to change the world? You may write hard-hitting stories as a journalist or assist with legal, cultural, or political situations by becoming an advisor in the government.

You can get creative with your career options as well. If you like sports, you may become a sports announcer. If you like art, you may become a graphic designer for a marketing team. The possibilities of jobs you can get with a communications degree are seemingly endless.

Does a Communications Degree Pay Well?

Yes, a communications degree can lead to very lucrative careers. In fact, some jobs you may qualify for with a communications degree have six-figure salaries.

Marketing managers make an average of $136,850 per year, and that’s just an average. The top earners in the field exceed $208,000 per year. Other high-paying careers include film producers, media planners, pharmaceutical promoters, and celebrity publicists.

Is a Communications Degree Worth It?

Marketing team working together

Yes, a communications degree is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $59,230 and 4% job growth for communications and media occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in communications can help you launch a career in this dynamic, highly flexible field.

Common communications careers include journalist, writer, publisher, media specialist, marketing agent, and public relations manager.

Getting Your Communications Degree Online

Getting Your Communications Degree Online

The ability to communicate well with customers as well as team members is a valuable skill that is highly marketable in today’s workforce. A bachelors in communications may open doors to vast opportunities in various industries.

Communications graduates often pursue jobs in film, media, or advertising. There are many ways to take a communications degree and leverage it into a high-paying career in a fast-growing industry.

If you’re interested in what a communications degree can do for you, you may want to start researching accredited universities to see what benefits they have to offer.

James Chen
WRITTEN BY
James Chen