A communications studies degree is a flexible one that teaches you how to communicate effectively. No matter the industry you work in, communicating well is important to sell products, keep strong relationships with business partners and clients. Whether you are working with business executives or creative types in marketing, being able to communicate effectively in the written and spoken word is very important.
A communications studies degree will help you to increase awareness of how to reliably communicate information to extremely diverse audiences with certain business or organizational goals in mind. With a bachelor’s or master’s degree in communications studies, you will have the skills you need to be competitive for many good jobs in a variety of fields.
What Is Communications Studies?
Communications studies provides the student with a strong knowledge of communication theory and practical application that can be applied to any business or industry. In communications studies, you will develop a better grasp of group, interpersonal and organizational communication, including the use of social media and communication with emerging technologies. Having skills in communications studies will help you to manage both people and messaging in any organization in any field.
Job opportunities in in the media and communications fields are seeing a steady increase as the US economy continues to grow. It is estimated that employment in these fields will climb by 6% through 2026, which is about as fast as average. A total of 43,200 new jobs will be created in the media and communications field. It is expected that more demand for communications occupations will rise because of the need to create, edit, translate and disseminate information through many platforms. As businesses continue to expand and be created in the stronger economy, the need for more communications studies professionals should climb.
One of the benefits of getting a degree in communications studies is that you can work in so many different occupations. One of the most popular for people with this degree is public relations specialists. These communications professionals create and maintain a strong public image for the company or organization they represent. Public relations specialists create media releases and develop effective social media platforms to improve public perception of the organization.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that public relations specialists held approximately 259,600 jobs in 2016, with the top employers the following:
- Advertising, public relations and related services: 15%
- Educational services: 11%
- Business, professional, labor, political and related organizations: 9%
- Government: 9%
Government statistics reveal that employment for public relations specialists will rise by 9% through 2026, which is faster than average when compared to other occupations. Companies will continue to need community outreach and strong customer relations to be more competitive in the growing economy. Public opinion can be volatile because of the advent of social media; good and bad news spreads quickly on the Internet. Therefore, good public relations specialists and related communications professionals will be needed to respond to news stories.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states the median salary for public relations specialists was $59,300, with the top 10% earning in excess of $112,000 per year. Salaries in various industries were as follows:
- Government: $63,500
- Advertising, PR and related services: $62,600
- Business, professional, labor, political groups: $61,700
- Educational services: $54,600
Online Degree Programs
Students and professionals who want to earn a communications studies degree with the least hassle may consider earning degree online. You can get your degree in two to four years online and most likely never even visit a college campus! Degrees in communications studies are available in both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Arizona State University features an online Bachelor of Science in Communication that will teach you how complex communication processes create, maintain, and transform workplaces, communities and identities. Courses in this online degree program in communication studies cover such topics as business and professional communication, leadership, social influence, persuasion, conflict and negotiation and intercultural communication.
Required major courses include:
- Advanced Research Methods in Communication
- Communication in Professions
- Leadership in Group Communication
- Communication Training and Development
- Quantitative Research Methods in Communication
Students who want to get an entry level to mid level position in communications, public relations and the media will want to consider a bachelor’s degree in communications studies. You can earn this degree on campus or online; there are many options available across the country.
For example, you can earn your Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Southern New Hampshire University. Students in this four year, communications degree will learn the techniques and tools that you need to get your message across effectively, while also using emerging technologies to improve the power of the communication. You will gain the computer, graphic design and communication skills that you need to soar in a career in corporate communications, PR, advertising and communications.
To move into a higher level communications position, such as a director or manager position, it may be necessary to obtain your master’s degree in communications studies.
Sam Houston State University offers a Master of Arts in Communications Studies that will connect you to great communications experiences and opportunities. Students who graduate from this two year master’s program enjoy many types of communications related roles, including PR, organizational development, communications management and digital media production. This program has been crafted for professionals who want to advance their communications career as well as doctoral students in communications studies.
This program features courses on conflict resolution, gendered communication, organizational communication and family communication.
To be accepted into a master’s program in communication studies, you may need the following requirements to be considered:
- 5 GPA or higher
- Bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts or business
- GMAT or GRE scores
- Extensive writing samples and personal essay
Required courses in the aforementioned bachelor’s program at SNHU in communications include:
- Business Communication
- Introduction to Mass Communication
- Public Speaking
- Public Relations
- Multimedia Journalism
- Organizational Communications
- Graphics and Layout in Print Media
Want to earn your degree in this field? Be sure to explore these available grants and scholarships:
- Christopher W. Keyser Undergraduate Scholarship
- Higher Education Academic Scholarship Program
- D. Farr Scholarship
- AfterCollege Business Student Scholarship
- Richard Eaton Award
- Vincent T. Wasilewski Award
- Search to Learn Scholarship
- Ed Johnson Memorial Scholarship
- UNF Gray Scholarship
- Women in Marketing Scholarship
Two of the communications certifications that you may wish to consider in the business communications area is the Communication Management Professional certification and the Strategic Communication Management Professional certification offered by the Global Communication Certification Council.
Consider joining these communications-related associations to expand your career options:
- National Communication Association
- International Association of Business Communicators
- Association for Women in Communications
- Professional Communications Association
- International Communication Association
Students who earn their bachelor’s or master’s in communications studies have many tantalizing opportunities in communications, the media, business PR and much more.
- Media and Communication. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/home.htm
- Public Relations Specialists. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm#tab-6
- Communications Studies. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ccu.edu/ccu/communicationstudies/