Are you interested in embarking on a communication career? Earning an undergraduate communication degree is an important first step. It can help you develop key skills, build your portfolio and gain valuable experience through hands-on learning and internships.
Arizona State University offers two distinct online degree paths, so learners can choose the option that best aligns with their career aspirations.
- A Bachelor of Science in communication online can enable you to develop strategic communication and competencies to understand and convey complex topics.
- A Bachelor of Arts in communication online focuses on qualitative research methods and the role communication plays in society.
There are many types of communication careers for graduates of both academic programs. If you’re wondering about the specific roles you can pursue with your communication degree and the job outlook for your desired field, keep reading.
Why pursue a communication degree?
Communication studies can equip you with the written, oral, critical thinking and research capabilities you need to launch a successful communication career. In addition, you can explore multimedia communication theories and learn to apply them when creating specialized or general interest content.
Many communication careers place a heavy emphasis on creating new media. Therefore, an important component of an undergraduate degree is helping you develop a rich portfolio that demonstrates the depth of your skills.
Following graduation, you can take on a range of career opportunities in fields such as public relations, marketing, writing and editing. Additionally, the communication skills you develop during your studies can translate across sectors — employers in all industries want candidates with strong speaking and writing abilities.
Pursuing a communication degree can prepare you to excel in a growing and robust field. There’s high demand for professionals throughout the communication sector because of an increased need to create, edit and distribute content throughout digital and traditional platforms. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment in media and communication occupations will grow 14% between 2020 and 2030, generating over 150,000 new jobs and plenty of career options for students with a communication degree.
Communication careers in public relations
A career in public relations requires leveraging written, verbal and presentation abilities to promote, support and maintain client reputations and market positioning. Various jobs are available in the PR industry, ranging from entry-level to directorial positions. As a PR professional, you can expect to work on behalf of clients to improve their reputations, enhance brand awareness and provide crisis communication to the public. Examples of typical job duties for those in the PR sector include:
- Arranging press conferences or interviews.
- Brainstorming innovative ways to enhance brand reputation and engagement.
- Organizing trade shows and events.
- Overseeing content distribution.
Earning a communication degree is the first step to becoming a PR professional. Throughout your courses, you’ll engage in writing-intensive projects, learn how to leverage media to produce results and grow a robust portfolio. Outside the classroom, you can apply your new competencies by getting involved in local or school-sponsored productions or obtaining a media-related internship with a newspaper, magazine, radio show, TV station or PR agency.
What are the most important skills needed for a career in public relations?
When working in the PR industry, you may need to explain complex topics and communicate client thoughts in a clear, unbiased and concise manner. PR professionals often write and send press releases or prepare for and schedule press conferences to accomplish these goals. Therefore, strong communication skills are paramount for a career in PR.
PR jobs also require engaging with target audiences through various media outlets. To connect with intended recipients through these channels, you’ll need to possess a firm understanding of different media, their purpose and the type of audience they reach.
Creativity is the foundation of public relations success and a core competency for working in the field. Businesses depend on PR professionals to generate fresh ideas to improve their reputations and grow audience engagement. Therefore, those in the PR sector often must think creatively and brainstorm unique ways to enrich client branding.
Salary and job outlook for the public relations field
The BLS reports that public relations specialists were offered a median salary of $62,810 in 2020, which is higher than the median annual income for all U.S. workers ($41,950). The job outlook projected from 2020 to 2030 is faster than average, with 11% growth expected.
Career options for the public relations field may include:
- Community relations coordinator
If you enjoy building and maintaining relationships with community members, a career as a community relations coordinator might be for you. In this role, you can use written, oral and interpersonal skills to plan, develop, implement and organize events and community outreach.
- External communications manager
In this career, you may use your creative thinking and communication proficiencies to manage and deliver external communications on behalf of a client or business. The role may require you to develop and maintain stakeholder relationships, plan and direct corporate communication campaigns, and manage media relations.
As a publicist, you would be responsible for representing your clients to the public. You may do this by leveraging media relationships and curating engaging content to inform audiences on client announcements, product or service launches, and compelling stories. The role requires practitioners to leverage strong communication, creative and organizational aptitudes to enhance brand awareness.