MA in Strategic Communication and Leadership Careers

Communication is a broad and evolving field that is increasingly vital in our connected world. As technology improves and there are more channels available for distributing messages to the public and specific audiences, career options grow. As a result, communication jobs are diverse, enriching, and exciting.

A woman leads a meeting of professionals.

The skills you learn through a communication degree can provide you with a variety of different niches to explore as you pursue your career.

Which fields are seeking communication graduates?

Communication specialists design and distribute information to targeted audiences. They craft the right messages to send through the best channels with specific goals in mind that benefit their organization.

With the right combination of education, experience, and training, those who earn an online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership may also be able to seek careers in fields such as:

  • Marketing
  • Public relations
  • Journalism
  • Publishing
  • Technology

Communication experts can be found at startups, nonprofits, and in local and national government. They can entertain, inform, and influence large populations through skills that range from strategy to public speaking.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in many communication fields is expected to climb between 2016 and 2026 by more than 10 percent, outpacing the average growth rate of all jobs. These expanding opportunities include new openings in public relations, broadcasting, editing, media, and advertising.

What jobs can you get with a communication degree?

Individuals who have earned a degree in communication and leadership generally have a variety of skills that prepare them to pursue rewarding communication degree jobs in a variety of industries.

Social media-savvy graduates might find themselves well-suited for a role like social media manager. Others might find that their talent for assessing data and measuring communication effectiveness makes them adept in the role of digital strategist.

As with any degree, further study and training may be necessary to qualify for high-level or specialized positions.

Social Media Manager

Strategic design of an organization’s social media content is the domain of the social media manager. This position has grown alongside social media platforms that connect industries to their audience.

In addition to creating content plans to develop an organization’s online reputation and reach, social media managers also cultivate brand awareness; analyze performance metrics; and optimize their work for search engines, engagement, and conversions.

Growth and Salary

A recent CNN article ranked this position among the top 50 “Best Jobs in America” in terms of growth, pay, and job satisfaction. Data compiled by PayScale.com indicates the average salary for a social media manager is $49,000, with some experienced professionals earning as much as $75,000 annually.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Strong judgment and decision-making
  • Computer and social media skills
  • Writing ability
  • Strategy and planning
  • Analytical skills

Digital Strategist

As digital strategists, communication graduates apply their skills to develop and implement ideas that unify a business’s voice, objectives, and reach. They bring together the goals of the brand and consumer to build connections between an organization and the public.

As a digital strategist, you’ll be asked to interpret consumer insight and data, direct teams on web content best practices, create social media posts, design advertisements, and meet with clients to learn about their highest aspirations.

Growth and Salary

Data compiled by PayScale.com indicates that digital strategists earn on average $59,000 a year, with experienced professionals earning as much as $97,000. This career has a three-year job opportunity outlook of 34% growth from 2018 to 2020, according to Forbes.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Computer and social media skills
  • Creativity
  • Analytical skills
  • Leadership
  • Verbal, visual, and written communication

SEO Manager

Search engine optimization (SEO) managers are responsible for ensuring an organization’s written content is searchable on the web. These professionals develop, implement, and oversee a company’s overall SEO strategy.

Because they deal exclusively with web content and online administration, this has become a fast-growing and often lucrative position among communication degree jobs. Typically, SEO managers oversee web marketing, interpret web analytics, plan strategic content, and research keywords to use across digital platforms. Often this work is done in collaboration with web designers and copywriters. Search engine algorithms frequently change, so SEO managers need to stay on top of developments and adapt their strategies.

Growth and Salary

PayScale reports an average annual salary of $66,384 for SEO managers, with a potential for growth with more experience. According to Search Engine Journal, demand for SEO managers is skyrocketing, with more than 43% growth from 2017 to 2018 alone.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Creativity
  • Computer and social media skills
  • Organization
  • Data analytics
  • Communication

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists are the face of companies, nonprofits, and organizations. In this role, individuals with a communication background perform a variety of tasks, such as managing outgoing messaging for consistency and clarity.

Public relations specialists also write and distribute press releases, create press kits, curate web content, shape company communication policies, attend or host press briefings, and maintain relationships with the media and the public. These professionals use their communication and leadership skills to influence the public perception of their organization and spread its message.

Growth and Salary

The median salary for public relations specialists in 2017 was $59,300, according to the BLS, which anticipates nearly 23,000 new positions to become available from 2016 to 2026, matching pace with average job growth across all industries.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Written and verbal communication
  • Listening
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Leadership

Director of Communication

Directors of communication manage an entity’s internal and external messaging. They sometimes oversee other personnel working in public relations and marketing, and often serve as the primary point of contact for the media.

Businesses, nonprofits, universities, and political campaigns all often require the leadership of a director of communication to help develop, distribute, and control their communication with the world.

Growth and Salary

In this leadership position, individuals can expect to earn an average of $90,000 annually according to Glassdoor. There’s a projected increase of 6% in media and communication jobs across the board from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Public speaking
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Leadership
  • Interpersonal skills

Creative Director

Creative directors assume leadership roles at advertising and marketing companies. They combine their business acumen with their creative talent in design and copywriting to drive the advertising end of business operations.

The creative director takes the lead on creating messaging and finalizing copy for distribution in a variety of media channels. They work with artists, writers, and clients to guide decisions that determine a brand’s voice, style, and reach. Staying up-to-date on the latest trends in advertising, design, and marketing is necessary for growth and success in this position.

Growth and Salary

According to the BLS, job opportunities for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers, a field which often includes creative directors, are projected to increase by 10% from 2016 to 2026. While salaries may vary based on experience, location, and industry, the median annual salary, as reported by Glassdoor, is around $133,000.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Copywriting and design
  • Creativity
  • Project management
  • Computer skills
  • Leadership
  • Communication

Preparing for Communication Degree Jobs

If you’re excited by the prospect of a fulfilling career that leverages your creativity, content creation, leadership, and communication skills, consider earning an undergraduate degree in strategic communication and leadership at Maryville University.

Your degree can prepare you to pursue a number of career paths, with opportunities to explore areas of personal interest in a range of industries.

Learn more about the online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership program at Maryville University and explore the jobs you could get with a communication degree.

Sources

CNN Money, “Best Jobs in America”

Forbes, “10 Great Marketing Jobs for 2018”

Glassdoor Salary Statistics, Communications Director

PayScale, Digital Strategist Salary

PayScale, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Manager Salary

PayScale, Social Media Manager Salary

Search Engine Journal, “Job Demand for SEOs & Content Marketers Soars in 2018”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Media and Communications Occupations

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Public Relations Specialists