While some degrees offer a clear career path, such as a bachelor’s in accounting, the prospects from a communications degree open up a world of opportunities. When you earn a communications degree, you can enter public relations, digital media, media, human resources, among many other disciplines. If you’re interested in one or a few of these areas, a communications degree affords you with career flexibility.
To help you decide whether a communications degree is right for you, let’s look at 10 great job descriptions, responsibilities, and salaries for communications professionals:
1. Public Relations Specialist
A career in public relations is one of the most popular disciplines for communications degree graduates. Job titles within public relations vary, but a few common job titles include public relations specialist, account coordinator, account manager, media specialist, and more. A public relations expert helps maintain their clients’ brand message and image overall — often drafting press releases and speeches, managing media coverage, planning other PR campaigns, and more. Public relations specialists can work for agencies, schools, politicians, individuals, corporations, non-profit organizations, among many others.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for a public relations professional is $62,810. This number (and other salary averages in this article) can vary significantly, depending on your experience, the region of the country where you work, the size of the firm you work for, and whether you have an advanced degree.
The BLS estimates that jobs in public relations will grow at a rate of around 11 percent over the next decade — faster than average for job growth across all industries.
2. Social Media Manager
Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed an explosion of new social media channels. In the last ten years, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat grew in popularity and are now a staple when speaking to many social media users. In addition to these big names, there are social media sites for book enthusiasts, knitters, people who play in garage bands, and a host of other niche markets. In total, there are more than 500 social media sites, with more emerging every month.
With this explosive growth, businesses across all disciplines understood the need for a dedicated social media manager. Social media managers develop a clear, specific, and measurable strategy aligned with business goals, use either native or third-party social media tools to post information on a business or corporation’s social media platforms, ensure all messaging aligns with the brand, monitor conversations and customer feedback, answer comments, and more. If you love all things social media, from post creation, algorithm research, and analytics, a career as a social media manager may be for you. According to Glassdoor, the national average annual salary for a social media manager is $55,117. However, as we mentioned, this may vary based on the region of the country, past experience, and type of business you work for.
With a communications degree, you can also choose to develop your career as a copywriter. A copywriter handles written communications, such as blog and social media posts, press releases, e-books, speeches, and marketing and advertising copy. A copywriter might work for an agency, a public or private organization, or as a freelancer.
As a copywriter, you’re responsible for more than just writing. You must understand your client or organization’s brand voice, target audience, and more. You may need to write both technically and creatively, often collaborating with other teams to ensure the messaging rings true for the brand.
According to the BLS, the average annual salary for a copywriter is $67,120. Over the next decade, the BLS estimates copywriter job growth to increase by 9 percent.
4. Marketing Specialist
Whereas public relations specialists, copywriters, and social media managers positions are more specialized, a marketing specialist’s responsibilities may be broader. Sometimes, a marketing specialist position will also include public relations and social media responsibilities, depending on the size of the organization you’re working for.
A marketing specialist may be charged with coming up with new advertising slogans and campaigns, managing the website and social media accounts, outlining and implementing the company's marketing plan, analyzing and reporting data on marketing goals, and creating a company's brand message.
Like many of the positions offered in the communications field, you can work in a variety of sectors, including private or public businesses, education, healthcare, government, non-profit, and more.
According to the BLS, the average annual salary for a marketing specialist is between $65,810-$73,970. They estimate that the number of marketing specialist jobs will grow by around 10 percent from 2020 to 2030.
A journalist reports current news and events in as unbiased a way as possible and may work for a newspaper, television station, magazine, or online publication. Journalists may also work as freelancers selling stories to several publications. Journalist job titles also vary – you may see positions for an announcer, broadcaster, journalist, reporter, television announcer, and more. If you’re interested in a particular media station, take a look at the job openings on the careers page.
According to the BLS, the average annual salary for a journalist is $49,300. They estimate that the number of journalism jobs in the US will grow by around six percent over the next decade.
6. Brand Manager
A brand manager is a more specialized type of marketing manager. This type of marketing professional defines and oversees a company's brand message and strategy, develops and implements marketing campaigns, conducts research and competitive analysis, and ensures consistent messaging across internal and external communications medium channels.
Brand managers utilize a number of marketing skills in their positions, including social media management, copywriting, public relations, event planning, and more. However, your position may vary based on the type and size of the organization you choose to join.
According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a brand manager in the United States is $104,443.
7. Sales Representative
Communications graduates can also excel in sales. Sales careers can include real estate professionals, pharmaceutical sales reps, wholesale sales reps, insurance sales professionals, and many more.
Sales representatives should demonstrate proficiency in both hard and soft skills, including sales and account management, sales and marketing strategies, customer service, leadership, and negotiation strategies.
In general, a sales representative's salary is often tied to how much the representative sells. However, the BLS lists the average annual salary for a wholesale sales representative as $65,420 and the annual average salary for a real estate salesperson as $51,220. In addition to the other caveats, this number will vary quite a bit among different industries. The BLS estimates that the number of jobs in this field will grow by around five percent over the next decade.
8. Media Planner
Developing a career as a media planner serves as another excellent career option for communications graduates. A media planner acts as a liaison between a marketing and advertising agency and a client. A media planner collaborates with the client and account teams to understand the client’s business, strategy, and target audience and develop an advertising strategy that best optimizes budget and performance. Depending on the client, a media planner may plan and place advertisements in television, streaming services, radio, print, social media, and more. With some organizations, you may start your career as an Assistant Media Planner and work your way through the ranks.
Media planners also analyze previous advertisement or campaign performance and present their findings to their clients. They also make recommendations to further optimize and maximize performance.
According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a media planner is $60,319 in the United States.
9. Human Resources Specialist
Good communications skills are essential for a human resources specialist. These professionals interact with the company employees, write and administer the company employee handbook, help recruit candidates and orient new hires, as well as communicate benefit plans and policies to employees.
If you choose to work for a larger organization, you may specialize in a particular area as a human resources specialist. Some professionals focus on recruitment and are required to travel to job fairs and speak with prospective candidates. Others may specialize in compensation, benefits, among others.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a human resources specialist in the United States is $55,008.
Politicians must demonstrate superior communications skills to connect with their constituents. You see this in campaigns, speeches, and legislation documents. Politics is a broad field and encompasses everything from your local registrar to the President of the United States — with many jobs in between.
In addition to those in elected office, your communications skills can be well used as a political appointee, in positions like a communications director or press secretary.
According to the BLS, the average annual salary for a politician is $125,350. This average is not very representative, however. For example, a local councilman in small-town Ohio makes $8,000, whereas a US senator makes $174,000 annually. The BLS estimates that the number of jobs in this field will grow by approximately nine percent over the next decade.
The career possibilities and the opportunities are vast when you earn your degree in communications. Here at Johnson & Wales University College of Professional Studies, we offer a bachelor of arts in communications and a bachelor of science in advertising & marketing communications. For more information about completing your communications degree, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email email@example.com.