Simply choosing the online route for your education is not the only step to ensuring a reliable and high-quality degree program. In order to thwart untrusted schools from displaying programs for a profit, accreditation agencies have established strict guidelines for universities to follow when developing degree programs.
From your perspective, locating the program accreditation for your degree should be one of your first steps completed prior to submitting your application. Most colleges and universities list the program’s accreditation information on their website.
The leading accreditation agency for communications degree programs is the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). In order for a program to receive accreditation, it pass a series of reviews from this agency, as well as renewals when required.
This organization currently has 113 accredited programs approved through its agency, making it an excellent resource for you to utilize when searching for the right program. A university’s enrollment office can also assist you in gaining more information about their program when needed.
Why work in Communications?
Communication is an important part of life as we know it. You communicate with those around you for survival, entertainment, business, and even education. When you take communications to even higher levels, you can find that its generally part of every aspect of human life.
In the professional field, obtaining a degree in communications can help you become eligible for careers in some of the biggest fields in the U.S., as well as some lesser known careers that you may not even be aware of. The versatility of this degree program can lead you down multiple paths during the duration of your professional lifetime.
It is important to consider degree programs that can provide you with career opportunities that can withstand the tests of time. In this era, communication is possible through many different platforms, which can expand your opportunities even further as they grow.
Choosing a career in communications can provide you with career opportunities regardless of the current trends with technology and changes in business.
What can you do in Communications?
Depending on the type of career you pursue after graduation, you could have a wide range of day-to-day responsibilities. The field you choose, career title, and your experience can designate what type of work you are assigned and the level of independence you have in these roles.
In business-related communications careers, you might be responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships with customers, vendors, or other stakeholders. Some communications specialists might even organize public meetings or programs for gaining interest into a new product or agenda.
Communications specialists that work on internal projects within organizations may be the leading resource for connecting employees with their organization. Effective communication is a great skill for working through conflict in the workplace, holding training seminars, or even developing new employee manuals.
There are many communications graduates that have moved on to careers related to the media, which can require you to communicate through live broadcasts, pre-taped recordings, or even live-streamed events online. Depending on the type of career you pursue, you could engage in a number of different types of journalistic communication.
Having a profound knowledge in communication can also assist you in obtaining careers in research and education. Each of these careers has their own unique application of skills, both providing knowledge and growth to others.
Advertising and Marketing
Different means of communication can be beneficial in fields such a business for communications graduates. In specialty areas such as marketing and advertising, communications specialists can apply their expertise to find ways to speak to and persuade customers.
Advertising as a professional field requires that employees have knowledge of current trends and interests in society, so that they can utilize this knowledge for the sale of products and services. Communication through advertising and digital media can be a large component in this career area.
Marketing positions can also benefit from an influx in communication graduates since learners receive specialized training in persuasive and technical writing during their degree program. Marketing experts, leaders, and contract agencies may be seeking qualified communications specialists to fill their open positions currently.
If you are the type of person that is interested in the field of business and the job possibilities associated with it, you should read more about the fields of advertising and marketing specifically. These 2 subfields could be great options for people with strategic and professional communication training.
One of the benefits of choosing a degree program in communications is that you can choose a specialization to help you gain more structured expertise in a field of your choice. Some students may choose the creative route towards their career through specializations in writing and journalism, while others may choose more structured paths in public affairs or local government.
Through our team’s research, it was discovered that there are numerous specialized areas to focus on during your degree program. Different colleges may offer slightly differing specialized paths, making it important to weigh all of your options prior to choosing the best one for you.
The list below this section outlines some example certifications that you can pursue alongside your standing degree program. If you have a knack for business and enjoy strategy and critical thinking, certification options in strategic or professional communications may be the right fit for you.
Others that would like to expand their capabilities to employer giants like the healthcare field can also find paths to suit their needs. Popular certification options are often aligned with major fields such as business and healthcare.
The media is another certification area that may be of interests to some upcoming learners. This type of certification can assist you in your pursuits of careers in local news agencies, newspapers, or even in journalistic writing.
There are plenty more options to choose from as you begin your journey into this field. You are encouraged to explore all of the certification options currently being offered in your favorite specialized area before making your final decision.
- Professional Communication
- Strategic Communication
- International Communication
- Political Communication
- Health Communication
- Corporate Communication
- Media and Journalism Communication
- Public Relations/Marketing Communication
Careers and Salaries
A lot of upcoming students in communications degree programs are interested in learning more about their earning capabilities in the field. This is a common point of focus for new prospects in this field and can sometimes influence you to choose on specialized area over another.
In order to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information on salaries in this field, our team has pulled data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What you see in the list below is an accumulation of actual average earnings of current professionals throughout the U.S.
Some factors that can influence how much you earn yearly in each of these positions include your current state of residence, degree level, and amount of professional experience. Some leadership positions in this field may also require that you have a certain level of experience prior to applying.
Take a look through the list below to learn more about the earning potential of communications specialists in the U.S.
- Technical Writers: $71,850 on average per year (BLS).
- Writers and Authors: $62,170 on average per year (BLS).
- Reporters and News Analysts: $43,490 on average per year (BLS).
- Public Relations Specialists: $60,000 on average per year (BLS).
- Translators: $49,930 on average per year (BLS).
- Advertising and Marketing Managers: $132,620 on average per year (BLS).
Top 10 Organizations and Resources
Once you have completed a degree program and are ready to begin your career in the field, you should identify supportive resources and people to help you along the way. Professionals at the collegiate level have previously recognized the need for supportive groups and resources after graduation, which led to the development of professional organizations in many different career fields.
For communications graduates, there are a large number of potentially helpful professional organizations available to be joined. Different agencies may provide membership opportunities to general communications graduates or even communication specialists within different concentration areas.
You might find it most beneficial to become a member of more than one organization in order to surround yourself with knowledge and opportunities for growth during your career. A membership to one or more of these organizations can help you access scholarly resources and research in your field, as well as put you in touch with other professionals in your area.
Organizations in communication may also organize get-togethers and seminars to help you gain continuing education credits, additional training, and more knowledge within your subject area. Our team has pulled the top 10 professional organizations in communications and listed them below for your reference.
- NCA: The National Communication Association
- IABC: The International Association of Business Communicators
- PRSA: Public Relations Society of America
- AWC: The Association for Women in Communications
- ICA: International Communication Association
- STC: Society for Technical Communication
- AMA: The American Marketing Association
- NAB: The National Association of Broadcasters
- LACP: League of American Communication Professionals
- CSCA: Central States Communication Association