If you're thinking about earning a communications degree but want to learn more about what it entails before committing, you've come to the right place.
During the 2018-2019 academic year, American universities conferred 92,500 degrees in areas of communications, journalism, and related fields — accounting for approximately 5% of all conferred degrees. This perennially popular degree offers professional paths within a multitude of disciplines and industries, making it a great choice for students seeking versatility.
Keep reading to learn about common jobs available after graduation, the pros and cons of studying online, and how to pick the best program based on individual needs and desired outcomes.
What Can I Do With A Bachelor's Degree In Communications?
After earning a bachelor's degree in communication, graduates can choose from a variety of professional pathways based on their interests and career goals. We look at several roles below, but these represent only a small portion of available jobs.
Communications Degree Jobs, Salaries And Career Outlook
- Median Salary: $62,810
- Career Outlook: +11% (2020-2030)
- Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
Working under public relations managers, these entry-level roles focus on tasks and responsibilities such as writing press releases, responding to media requests, reviewing survey data on public opinion, and creating social media campaigns to enhance perception.
- Median Salary: $63,400
- Career Outlook: +5% (2020-2030)
- Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
Whether working in-hour or in a freelance/contract position, editors use their advanced knowledge of written communication to help craft narratives, verify facts, coach clients on writing strategies, and copyedit for grammar or syntax issues.
- Median Salary: $141,490
- Career Outlook: +10% (2020-2030)
- Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
These professionals use their knowledge of advertising and brand communications to enhance sales of goods and products for their clients. They develop marketing campaigns, negotiate with vendors, and review data to gauge effectiveness.
- Median Salary: $118,430
- Career Outlook: +13% (2020-2030)
- Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
Whether working in for-profit or nonprofit settings, these professionals do the high-level work of shaping their clients' images and public persona. They also court high-level donors, act as spokespeople, and supervise other staff members in their department.
Earning An Online Bachelor's Degree In Communications
Online bachelor's degrees in communication make sense for a lot of students who need the flexibility of learning without sacrificing a quality program. Before selecting a program, however, it's important to understand the different components of a program and what to look for when picking a top-tier option. We examine some of the different factors to consider in the following sections.
Pros And Cons Of Online Programs In Communications
There are many good reasons to pursue an online communications degree, ranging from easy access to excellent career options after graduating. But before you commit to any program, make sure you understand both the benefits and potential drawbacks.
|Flexibility: Students with busy personal and/or professional responsibilities can often fit an online communications degree into their schedule much more easily than an in-person program.||Limitations on Projects: While online communications degrees include speech classes just like an in-person program, there's a difference between giving a speech to a classroom full of peers and giving one over a computer screen.|
|Wide Range of Career Options: Communications degrees open graduates to a wide range of industries and positions, ranging from human resources and public relations to speechwriting and advertising.||Fewer Course Options: Despite many advancements in online degrees, the reality is that not every class will translate well to digital learning. Because of this, online communications degrees may offer fewer courses.|
|Improved Verbal and Written Communication: In addition to learning about verbal communications to a wide variety of audiences, online communications degrees also emphasize improved writing skills.||Lack of Instant Feedback: Especially when studying asynchronously, you may need to record your speeches so others can watch them at their convenience. In this way, you lack access to instant feedback on your performance.|
|Familiarity with Online Tools: By completing your degree online, you will naturally become more familiar with online tools and apps commonly used in communications roles.||Fewer Networking Options: While online communications programs do provide networking options and alumni connections, these will likely not be as robust as an in-person program with regular live speakers you can interact with after class.|
Courses In Communications Bachelor's Programs
Coursework tends to vary across programs, especially for degrees that offer additional concentrations or electives. That said, core curricular requirements often look similar. Some classes you may encounter include:
- Public Speaking and Presentation
- Visual Communication and Design
- Strategic Storytelling
- Management of Communication Projects
- Communication Law and Media Ethics.
Skills Learned In A Bachelor Of Communications Degree Program
Same as the last section, but list some skills learned in this program that help with future careers.
How Long Does It Take To Get An Online Communications Degree?
The amount of time a learner spends working towards their bachelor's in communications degree will vary. Those who already completed an associate degree can often transfer their credits to a four-year college and graduate within two years of full-time study.
First-time learners enrolled on a full-time basis usually need four years to complete the approximately 120 credits. Students looking for a part-time schedule often spend six years earning their degrees. Some online programs now offer accelerated programs, allowing first-time learners to graduate in as few as three years.
Choosing The Best Online Bachelor's Degree In Communications
When considering the best online bachelor's degree in communication, it's important to realize that many factors go into making one the "best," and those factors are often subjective based on student needs and goals. Regardless of other factors, students should always make sure they attend a properly accredited institution, as failing to do so can create issues later on.
Online availability plays an important role, as some schools may provide fully online programs while others only provide hybrid options. Learners working on a budget must also consider which schools fit within their price range. Lastly, the outcome is an important consideration. What is the graduation rate for the program, and how long does it typically take graduates to find a job? We look at these questions and more in the following sections.
10 Best Communications Schools For 2022
Based on our ranking methodology, Universities.com considers these to be the 10 best schools that offer communications degrees:
- Boston University
- Syracuse University
- Savannah College of Art and Design
- Full Sail University
- University of Missouri - Columbia
- The University of Texas at Austin
- New York University
- University of Southern California
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- American University
If you're looking for other schools that offer online Bachelor's in Communications, check out the Find Your Perfect "U" tool. You can search over 6,000 colleges and universities with 11 different filters to find the perfect school for you!
Online vs. On-Campus Degrees
Not all online or on-campus programs are created equally, even at schools that offer both. Just because a campus-based program rate high in rankings, that does not necessarily mean the same is true for the online version. This is why it's important to conduct thorough research and ask questions along the way.
How Long Do Online Courses Take To Complete?
While the majority of in-person classes last either eight or sixteen weeks, online class times can vary. Accelerated programs or those designed for working professionals may last from 5-8 weeks each, providing some flexibility around scheduling while still making it possible to move through coursework quickly. Other classes last 16 weeks, the traditional length of a semester.
Ensuring any university a student attends holds proper accreditation is one of the most important steps they can take. At the university level, look for schools that hold regional institutional accreditation. At the program level, look for communication degrees accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Applying To Online Communications Programs
Online communication program application steps commonly mirror those of campus-based programs, making it easy for students to become familiar with the process. We take a more in-depth look at individual components below.
Admission Requirements For Bachelor Of Communications Programs
Admission requirements vary from program to program, but most usually have some similar components. While it's important to pay attention to the admissions standards of individual degrees, here are a few things students may encounter as part of the process:
Paying For An Online Bachelor's Degree In Communications
It's no secret that higher education is expensive, but that doesn't mean students can't find ways of lessening their financial burden. Scholarships, grants, and other awards can reduce costs as can finding cheaper tuition. We look into both in the following sections.
Online Communications Bachelor's Degree Costs
The cost of an online bachelor's degree in communication can vary dramatically based on the type of school you attend. According to College Board, students paying in-state tuition at a public school paid an average of $10,740 during the 2021-2022 academic year. Those attending out-of-state paid an average of $27,560, while students enrolled at private schools paid an average of 438,070 during the same time frame.
All that said, some public schools allow online students to pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live, so look into this if you're considering a school further afield.
Scholarships For Communications Majors
- Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship for Ethnic Minority Students
- New York Women in Communication Scholarship
- Graphic Communication Scholarship
- Jack Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarship
- RDW Group Communications Scholarship for People of Color
These scholarships and more can be reviewed and applied for via our scholarship database. This expansive library features thousands of scholarships to help cut costs.
Online Bachelor’s In Communications FAQ
Is communications a good degree?
- Communications is a great degree for students who want to communicate in both verbal and written forms on a variety of topics. These programs translate well to many different subjects, making it a versatile degree.
What jobs can I get as a communications major?
- Jobs for communication majors about, with options spanning areas such as public relations, marketing, mass communications, event planning, and public administration. It's a great fit for students seeking a degree in-demand by multiple industries.
Is a communication degree worth it?
- A communications degree is worth it for students who feel strongly about working within this discipline. It trains learners on various communication channels and forms. That said, the technology in this field can change quickly, so you must participate in continuing education to stay aware of new innovations.
What is a communications degree good for?
- A communications degree is good for myriad entry-level positions in a wide variety of industries. Some graduates may run PR for a local business while others may decide they want to write speeches for industry leaders or work in social media content production. There are many options.