What Can You Do With A Communications Degree? | Top Careers

Written by Tien Rooney
Published on January 15, 2023 · Updated on January 17, 2023

What Can You Do With A Communications Degree? | Top Careers

Written by Tien Rooney
Published on January 15, 2023 · Updated on January 17, 2023

What Is A Communications Degree?

Communications is known as one of the broadest liberal arts programs you can choose, and graduates with this degree can pursue many different career tracks given its wide-ranging application across business sectors. A degree in communications provides students with a professional understanding of print, digital, verbal, and nonverbal communication mediums such as websites, newspapers, and advertising. 

But what can you do with a communications degree? Graduates with this degree often pursue careers in broadcast media, advertising, marketing, and even journalism. 

Types of Communications Degrees

Communications degrees, especially at the graduate level, can come with specializations. Here are a few areas within your communications degree where you can hone your skills and cater toward specific career paths.

Broadcast Media

Students that earn a degree in communications with a specialization in broadcast media can pursue careers in television, cinema, and news. They learn how to tell stories, conduct interviews, and create programs like movies and tv shows. Broadcast Media specializations are popular at the bachelor’s and master’s levels and can provide the foundational skills necessary to enter the field. 

Advertising

The field of advertising involves all efforts around promoting a brand. Communications majors who elect to pursue a specialization in advertising can benefit from this path when applying to professional roles at advertising agencies to create and sell ads as well as other branded content. Advertising specializations provide flexible professional career options and may allow communications majors to work for any type of company or industry that needs help with branded content and multimedia messaging strategies. This could even mean paid media and advertising as well as social media. 

Journalism

Communications majors who specialize in journalism learn how to write stories, conduct interviews, and publish articles at a newspaper or online blog. This specialization teaches students writing, editing, and publishing skills that are critical in the journalism industry. 

Print Media

Print media specializations are popular among communications majors as a path toward working at a magazine or serial publication like Saveur, Travel and Leisure, and Sports Illustrated. This specialization imparts skills in formatting, storytelling, and interviewing to prepare students for roles after graduation. 

Communications Certification and Training

Like any career, earning additional certifications or training hours will not only improve your knowledge and experience, but it can make you more marketable come time to find a job. Here are a few communications certifications that may help you post-graduation. 

This certificate program is beneficial for communications majors working in the field of marketing . PCM certification allows certificate holders to access one of the largest professional associations of marketers (American Marketing Association) and requires applicants to conduct marketing training sessions, demonstrate a thorough understanding of the test content, and pass the certification exam. Renewal is required every three years.
This certificate can benefit professionals who are representing their business or employer. These certificates are highly beneficial for freelance marketers and full-time employees who choose to represent and provide marketing services for a business entity. This certificate requires completion of coursework and testing, as well as annual renewal fees.
This certificate can help sales professionals who are looking to improve their communications skills when selling a service or product. These certificates are invaluable for sales professionals looking to expand their foundational understanding of the trade, and to network with fellow salespeople at trade-specific conventions. This certificate requires annual renewal fees and completion of continuing education requirements.
This is a professional certificate that is popular both within and outside the field of communication. This is a highly general certificate that professionals in the marketing and communications field hold, as well as project managers in other industries outside of business development. These certifications are renewed every six years and require continuing education credits called Professional Development Units.

What Can You Do With a Communications Degree?

Many communications majors pursue careers in journalism and apply to roles at local and national newspapers like the Seattle Times or Washington Post to tell stories, conduct interviews, and sell advertising. 

Television is yet another popular career path for communications majors. This career path promises high salaries, exciting projects, and the opportunity to share your stories across cable and web-based platforms. 

Kids these days may not recognize traditional radio as it’s often replaced by streaming services or audio learning. However, radio is one of the oldest communications industries that has changed dramatically in the last decade. The radio industry has expanded outside of just music and now includes podcasts, which cover a myriad of topics and range in length, as well as audiobooks.  

Communications majors can often find employment working for special interest blogs and websites and are tasked with creating content and writing stories. Companies like Houzz, Buzzfeed, and Bon Apetit employ communications specialists to write stories about architecture, world news, and fine dining to name a few. 

Advertising agencies are also a great place for communications majors to work. They provide competitive salaries and lucrative compensation packages in exchange for creative work on various brands across multiple media platforms. Advertising agencies cover it all from print, digital marketing, blogs, and traditional advertising channels.

Communications Degree Jobs - Salary and Career Information

As mentioned above, there are several different things you can do with a communications degree. Let’s dive a little deeper into ten of those potential career paths.

  • Median Salary: $119,860  
  • Career Outlook: +8% (2021-2031)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

Public relations specialists manage the public image of a company, client, or organization that they represent.

  • Median Salary: $78,060 
  • Career Outlook: +6% (2020-2030)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

Technical writers develop manuals, guides, articles, and other documentation to explain complex and technical information for a specific audience.

  • Median Salary: $133,380  
  • Career Outlook: +10% (2021-2031)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers work to generate interest in products and services that translate to sales.

  • Median Salary: $48,370  
  • Career Outlook: -9% (2021-2031)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

Journalists write stories and recount events and noteworthy information for a variety of news entities including newspapers and television networks.

  • Median Salary: $69,510 
  • Career Outlook: +4% (2021-2031)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

Writers create written content for various types of media including essays, articles, blog posts, and website descriptions.

  • Median Salary: $56,770 
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

Social media specialists use apps and other media platforms to communicate with a specific audience or the general public. They often run their employers’ social media accounts and work to create messaging that seeks to build a brand or reputation.

  • Median Salary: $52,340 
  • Career Outlook: -8% (2021-2031)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

Advertising sales agents sell advertising space to businesses and individuals including commercials, billboards, newspaper, and website ads.

  • Median Salary: $48,790 
  • Career Outlook: +10% (2021-2031)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

Broadcast technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for media programs including television and news shows.

  • Median Salary: $48,370 
  • Career Outlook: -9% (2021-2031)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

News reporters tell stories about local, domestic and international news on news programs such as CNN, Fox News, and NPR.

  • Median Salary: $119,860  
  • Career Outlook: +8% (2021-2031)
  • Required Education: Bachelor's Degree

Fundraising managers develop capital  campaigns designed to bring in donations for their organization or the company they represent.

Source: BLS

Communications Degree FAQ

  • Do people often pursue a Master’s or PhD in Communications?
    • Students who pursue graduate-level courses in communications can expect higher salaries and opportunities for leadership roles at a given organization. Master’s degrees can aid professionals in the field if they are looking for higher-level or leadership roles in the private sector, while PhDs can lead to roles in academia.
  • What is the average pay for communications majors?
    • The average pay for communications degree holders is $54,000, which is slightly lower than the salaries you’ll see across other occupations. Given the number of roles across the U.S. there is a wide range in compensation depending on location and proximity to metro areas.
  • How many communications jobs were there in 2022?
    • There were 2,718,900 jobs for communications degree holders in the United States is 2022. Depending on the role, projected job growth in the industry ranges from 19%+ to -7% depending on the level of education and role in a given organization. Roles in the field of communications include market research analysts, postsecondary teachers, human resource specialists, and sales representatives. Compared to the field of computer science, communications majors can expect more job opportunities, but lower earnings and job growth.
  • Is Communications a popular major?
    • Communications is one of the most popular majors for both in-person and online degrees due to the flexibility it offers for graduates and its applicability across business sectors. There are over two million jobs in the field, and most organizations offer roles for communications specialists whether it be in sales, marketing, or human resources.
  • Is a communications degree useless?
    • No, a communications degree can be the first step toward a wide variety of high-paying careers, including marketing manager, business development director, and graduate professor. A Bachelor’s in Communications degree can help you land a career as a sales representative or capital campaign manager. If you decide to build upon it with a Master’s in Communications or a PhD in Communications, then you’re opening yourself up for a career in academia or in leadership roles in business development.