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.
Communication careers in social media
As social media continues to evolve and become a crucial part of marketing strategies, the demand for professionals with expertise in this area increases. A social media career is ideal for those who want to use creative thinking and real-time data to engage with targeted groups of consumers and help brands expand their online presence. The field will likely continue to evolve as new social platforms and trends emerge. If you’re looking for a communication career where you can use creativity to engage with large audiences, consider a role within the social media field.
As a social media professional, you’ll be responsible for growing a brand’s digital presence across all relevant social platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram. Your typical activities may include:
- Creating social media content and posting calendars.
- Engaging with user comments and direct messages.
- Ensuring social posts are grammatically correct and aligned with the brand’s identity.
- Managing paid social media campaigns.
- Tracking and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs), such as reach, impressions and number of followers.
In addition to managing and overseeing social media platforms, this communication career may also include establishing partnerships with industry leaders and influencers. As a social media specialist, you may need to identify key influencers and work with them to develop lasting partnerships that drive results for a business.
What skills does a career in social media require?
Social media careers require you to be agile in adapting brand messaging to specific platforms. Versatility is important, since you’ll need to write in a voice and tone that’s appropriate for each social media site.
Organization is another key talent for social media industry professionals, since social media managers may need to oversee and manage multiple accounts. Therefore, you may create structured social media plans and leverage tools such as Hootsuite or comparable delivery calendars to ensure posts are sent at optimal times.
When creating social media posts and advertisements, you’ll need to tap into your creative thinking abilities. You may need to brainstorm new ways to engage with an audience or develop unique messages to increase visibility and reach on a certain platform.
A career in social media is ever-changing, so you must stay informed on current trends, algorithm updates and the activities of competitors. Therefore, you’ll need to be flexible and ready to pivot a social media strategy based on new insights.
Career options in social media
Career options for the social media field can include:
- Social media coordinator
In this role, you can expect to use data to execute social media strategies and develop engaging content across different social platforms. You may use your communication proficiencies to create and edit various types of social media content, such as written messages, photos and videos.
- Social media manager
If you’re interested in performing research and gathering data to develop a results-driven social media strategy, a career as a social media manager could be the right fit. You may work with clients to understand their brand visions, values and goals, then communicate those insights through social media campaigns.
- Social media community manager
Social media community managers develop social media communities and generate new ways to expand their growth. You can expect to improve brand value by engaging with community members by responding to comments and answering user questions.
Communication careers in marketing
A career in marketing is fast-paced and ever-changing, with new opportunities to accelerate organizational growth presenting themselves every day. Pursuing this path means you can play a critical role in growing and scaling an enterprise. While challenging at times, this type of work can be exceptionally rewarding as a company develops and prospers. If you’re seeking a profession that combines teamwork, research and creative problem solving, a communication career in marketing may be the right fit.
Most marketing careers will require you to leverage digital media tools to help drive web traffic and increase sales leads. To achieve results, you can expect to take on responsibilities that include:
- Building and deploying email marketing campaigns.
- Managing how, when and where paid media is distributed.
- Researching competitors and emerging-market trends.
- Setting up trackers and measuring benchmarks to optimize return on investment.
- Using brand personas to create consistent marketing messages.
Marketing is a diverse sector with many types of careers for a communication program graduate to pursue. You may consider generalized roles, such as marketing coordinator positions, where you’ll oversee various components of a marketing strategy. Alternatively, you may seek niche positions in marketing, such as search engine optimization (SEO) or paid media specialist roles that focus on using specific digital tools to drive conversions.
What types of skills do you need for a career in marketing?
Because there is a broad range of job options within the marketing sector, obtaining a communication degree is an excellent way to launch your career. You can learn and develop core competencies, such as written communication and creative thinking, and apply them to the specific marketing career you decide to pursue.
Successful marketing involves cutting through the noise and producing a message that inspires a target audience to take action. Creativity, strong communication skills and the ability to write well are all important skills that can help you generate captivating content and drive business results.
Rarely do marketers work alone: They typically depend on a team of sales, design and tech experts to develop compelling campaigns that extend across channels. You’ll need to have solid interpersonal competencies to ensure all team members are working in unison to deliver a final product that yields a positive ROI.
Similar to other communication careers, marketers must be flexible and ready to adapt their strategy based on new insights. This may involve leveraging innovative technology to deliver stronger results or exploring new channels to increase brand awareness.
Salary and career options for the marketing industry
The BLS reports that marketing, advertising and promotions management roles yield a median annual salary of $141,490 and are projected to grow 10% through 2030. That is slightly higher than the 8% average for all industries. It anticipates 31,800 new jobs will be added per year between 2020 and 2030, in addition to the 316,800 existing jobs reported in 2020.
Career options for the marketing field can include:
- Marketing manager
Marketing managers plan, execute and oversee marketing strategies. You may be responsible for planning pricing strategies or researching ways to expand into new markets. Many marketing manager positions are available for those with a bachelor's degree, although some employers may prefer to hire candidates who have a master's degree in marketing or an MBA.
- SEO specialist
As an SEO specialist, you can expect to use research and analysis to expand a business’s digital presence. You may be tasked with performing keyword research, optimizing existing website content and creating new strategies to improve search engine rank.
- Content marketer
In this position, you’ll produce video, blog and social media content that aligns with a brand’s vision and marketing objectives. You may be responsible for managing inbound marketing funnels and determining the best channels to share new content.
Communication careers in writing
Professional writing careers involve drafting copy that conveys key messaging and articulates a purpose. With this type of communication career, you may need to adopt specific tones or styles to ensure optimal delivery, while organizing your thoughts in a well-structured format.
At times, you may use creative thinking to determine the most effective way to break down complex subject matter. You may also need to curate innovative methods to write about a topic to keep an audience engaged. A writing career means you’ll always have new ideas, processes and subjects to explore, which is ideal for those who have a passion for learning and presenting their findings to others.
What skills do the different types of writing disciplines require?
A communication career in writing is rich with opportunities, thanks to the numerous writing disciplines available. You may choose which type of field to pursue based on your unique skills, strengths and interests.
A technical writer is responsible for breaking down complex ideas into digestible content or providing detailed instructions on a specific subject. This discipline requires thorough and straightforward writing. Technical communication may involve constructing a software manual, outlining administrative procedures or generating a white paper on a research study.
Journalism is a communication career that involves writing about trending topics and current events for media outlets. Writers conduct research to create factual and unbiased news stories. Journalists may interview politicians, attend media conferences or travel to areas where large-scale events take place to write content that provides valuable insights.
Copywriters produce marketing and corporate communication materials that brands use to increase awareness or drive sales. These writers perform market research and work with business leaders to develop results-driven content. Examples of copywriting materials include product descriptions, advertisements and video scripts.
Salary and career options for the writing industry
The BLS reports that writers and authors have projected job growth of 9% through 2030, with an anticipated 143,200 jobs becoming available. Professional writers earned a median salary of $67,120 in 2020, and BLS research projects over 15,000 new roles opening for writers each year through 2030.
Career options within the writing sector include:
- Grant writer
As a grant writer, you can expect to research, draft and submit written proposals that seek funding for different projects or initiatives. You may be responsible for finding new grant opportunities and using communication skills to maintain strong relationships with funding stakeholders.
- Research writer
Research writers are tasked with researching key topics for a specific industry and turning their findings into compelling copy. You may produce blogs, eBooks, white papers and web content that help businesses establish awareness and thought leadership.
- Medical writer
In this role, you can expect to leverage your health communication abilities to produce marketing materials and informational content on behalf of the medical community. You may work closely with medical professionals and researchers to develop clear, factual and valuable documents.
Start building your communication career
ASU Online has the degree options to prepare you for the communication career you want to pursue. Whether you wish to seek a Bachelor of Science in communication online or a Bachelor of Arts in communication online, both programs can provide the knowledge and skills to shape your success in the field.
If you are unsure of which communication major to pursue, explore our online student services portal to learn more about everything ASU Online has to offer and how we’ll support your professional development in building a communication career.