Communications professionals are the individuals who coordinated that latest “BOGO” sale at your favorite department chain, and they are also the professionals who coordinate the anime convention that your daughter has been begging to go to. An online communications degree is perfect if you goal is to become a great speaker or writer. In this degree program you'll learn all about human communication, including speech, words, and symbols. Earning a degree in this field can open up opportunities for you in many fields, from politics to education to economics. You could land a career in speechwriting, marketing, public relations, business writing, advertising, multimedia design, or broadcast media. With such a wide range of jobs, pay also varies. Certain communication professionals–especially technical writers and online media specialists—enjoy higher wages than some other information fields. Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor, a median salary for communication specialists is around $50,000-$60,000.
THE CAREER PATH
One of the many benefits of a degree in communications is that it can open the door to a diverse array of professional opportunities, depending on your interests. Some of the most common paths for communications professionals are:
- Meeting, Convention, & Event Planners – Some communications professionals choose to use their skills in an industry outside of journalism by specializing as an event planner. These professionals are critical in many settings, helping to coordinate the various aspects of events and professional meetings. If you’re interested in a career in professional planning, there’s no time like the present—demand for qualified professionals is expected to grow by 10% in the years to come. In addition to the reliability, the career pays on average a rewarding salary of almost $50,000 each year.
- Public Relations Specialists – Communications professionals can also use their skills in various areas of public relations, working to create and maintain a favorable public image for the organizations that they represent. Communications professionals who pursue a career in PR will perform various tasks in order to shape public perception and increase awareness of their organization. Like professional planners, PR specialists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in order to qualify for most opportunities. Jobs in PR may be slightly more competitive than jobs in event planning, however; in the coming years, demand for PR specialists is expected to increase by around 6%. On the other hand, the average annual salary of PR specialists is nearly $60,000.
- Advertising, Promotions, & Marketing Managers – After years of thorough experience in other PR, marketing, and communications positions, professionals may choose to set their sights on management. Generally speaking, communications managers are responsible for planning programs that will generate interest in products or services offered by their organization. Although management positions typically require the most experience of professionals, careers in this area are still widely accessible. Demand for qualified professionals is expected to increase by almost 10% in the coming years, and a bachelor’s degree is typically required. In addition to being both accessible and reliable employment, management pays upwards of $100,000 annually, on average.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
All communications professionals must have good interpersonal as well as organizational skills. You can guarantee that these careers are for you if you consider your strengths to be in writing, speaking, and relating to others. Beyond the foundation of communication skills, you can let your professional passions and interests drive the focus of your career.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Online communication degrees are offered at many different levels, ranging from an associate's degree to a doctoral degree. Associate and bachelor degrees are usually more general and cover numerous topics in communications. The advanced degrees tend to be more focused on one area of communications, such as marketing, public relations or business.
Expect an online communications degree program at the bachelor’s level to offer core courses in public speaking, group psychology, video production, editing, multimedia, English composition and essay writing. If you study communications through a business school department, your degree may also cover courses in advertising, social media, marketing, public relations, and business writing.
Make sure to thorougly explore your options. Different schools have unique program goals. For example, communications degrees offered by business schools, as opposed to those offered by liberal arts schools, may offer slightly different courses of study. A few related online degree programs include mass communication, visual communication, and communications management. If you have a specific career in mind or want a more career-focused degree, explore any one of these online degrees: public relations, marketing, technical writing, or journalism. Other related degrees that share similarities include writing and English degrees. Look for a degree that matches your interests and career goals. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your options, you can trust that you will receive a quality education from programs that have been recognized by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).
An online bachelor's in communications generally costs between $30,000 and $50,000. Plenty of options exist for your consideration and there is bound to be a program that fits your budget and schedule offering a great beginning to your communications career.