Communications programs once concentrated on print and broadcast journalism, public relations, and advertising. Since the advent of the internet, however, the field has expanded exponentially to reflect the multitude of ways we communicate online.
Today, communication programs can incorporate web design, political campaigns, crisis management, law, and a number of other fields of study. Communications graduates emerge with an education in social media, digital marketing, corporate and product branding, writing, and data analysis. Knowledge in these areas is valuable across industries, making graduates appealing to a wide range of employers. Why major in communications? Because degree holders have access to a vast array of career possibilities, including the examples below.
Career Possibilities for Communications Majors
A media strategist helps companies reach their target audiences by planning their communication strategies, including inbound marketing, email newsletters, paid advertising, social media videos, and graphics. Strategists are involved in researching a target audience and tracking customer data and habits in order to further refine a company’s strategy.
Some media strategists work in-house for larger companies, whereas small businesses may opt to hire a digital agency that has a media strategist on staff. Employment for this occupation is expected to grow 6 percent between 2016 and 2026, with the median annual salary above $55,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Account managers oversee the sales cycle by communicating the benefits and features of a specific product or service to potential customers, handle negotiations, and then maintain the client relationship once they close a deal. Most companies have a sales department, and account managers are typically the senior sales staff, applying their experience and finesse to the client connection.
They do most of their work in an office, in business attire, with some positions requiring travel for anywhere from 25-90 percent of the work. Pay for account managers starts around $30,000 per year but can increase sharply from there depending on location, industry, and sales bonuses or profit sharing. Career growth is fairly steady, as BLS has projected employment for this occupation to increase around 5 percent between 2016 and 2026.
Public Information Officer
A public information officer works in government and generally handles communications. Professionals may attain this position after working in a public relations capacity in which they took on increasing levels of responsibility for disseminating information (audio, video, text) to the media and public.
Work typically takes place in an office environment but may require speeches on location and attending meetings or events. BLS has projected employment for this profession to grow 9 percent between 2016 and 2026. Average public information officer pay is in the mid-$60,000s per year and may be higher in federal government positions.
Social Media Manager
Social media managers are increasingly in demand as the number of social media outlets increases, proliferating from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and many more. Social media managers are responsible for analyzing the platforms for highest engagement, writing posts, creating videos, and creating a content schedule, but they may also be required to respond in real time to customers.
These professionals perform many of their tasks in an office environment but may need to occasionally travel to events or locations to capture photos and video. Job growth is difficult to pin down since the job is fairly new, but estimates from related work on the BLS site put the 2016-2026 growth rate at 9 percent, with a median salary of $59,300.
Skills Gained with A Major in Communications
The natural answer to why major in communications is that the career possibilities it leads to align with your goals and interests. Maryville University’s online bachelor’s degree in communication can be the first step toward a career in the areas mentioned above and many other specialties by developing the skills to understand the nuance and accuracy needed for successful messaging.
Coursework is available in one of two concentrations: strategic communication or emerging media strategy and social media. This choice allows students to focus their energy and resources in the specialization that interests them most, whether devising strategies for organizations, or learning about the latest media trends and how they’re changing our world.