In 2012, graduates in communications saw their starting salary jump more than 4 percent, putting this degree in the top five for pay raises. But what is communications? What will you learn in a communications degree program? Is the degree available online? What is the associated career path?
We communicate with one another all of the time—from talking to our friends to writing emails to coworkers, and even to developing advertising campaigns. Communications is an interdisciplinary field that explores all of the different aspects of how we create messages to convey meaning to others. This field attracts a wide variety of students, from those interested in the business communications to those more interested in the multicultural perspective. Communications majors take courses in psychology, sociology, the humanities, and more. They learn about interactions among people, groups, and organizations, as well as how to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Here are some specific areas of study that fall under the communications umbrella: interpersonal and organizational communications, communications between cultures, marketing and advertising, new media studies, and digital communications.
Communications degrees cover everything from writing and speaking to public relations and journalism, and online programs are available from the associate to the doctoral level, with the bachelor’s degree being the most popular. Students in these programs take courses in public speaking, communication technologies, broadcasting and journalism, digital media, and more. The courses combine theory and practical training (i.e., writing and speaking performance). Some programs have more general curriculums, while other programs allow students to specialize in a particular area of communications, such as business writing, technical writing, advertising, or public relations. Certain schools even offer experiential components, like internships, as part of their online degree programs.
Students with a communications degree have many career options, in fields like education, public relations, and human resources. Specific job titles include journalist, broadcaster, public relations specialist, market researcher, human resources manager, and even event planner. With the rise of social media over the past couple of years, social media specialist has become one of the hottest new jobs in the field. As technology continues to develop and more of our daily communication becomes digital, the demand for communications majors will only grow—in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts more than 20 percent growth in this field over the next few years.
If you are thinking about getting a degree online but haven’t decided on a major, consider communications. This degree will open the door to many opportunities for further education and employment. Communications is a highly relevant, constantly evolving program of study that will teach you essential skills for getting along in today’s digital world and also prepare you for an exciting future career.