Communications is broad field that encompasses many areas of expertise, both verbal and non-verbal. When investigating your communications degree, many times the terms used to describe a specific major will be seemingly interchangeable, but that’s just to the uninitiated. To the outside world, a degree in public relations and a degree in mass communications might seem the same, or international relations might seem to be the same as social and human services. Although closely related, these career paths are different and, therefore, you should understand the nuances between them to be sure you are pursuing the right one. An insightful hiring manager will see the benefit of hiring someone with a degree in communications because your degree means you are likely to be well-versed in a variety of areas and will be an invaluable team member. While some students may have learned just how businesses operate, you have learned all that plus how to communicate their ideas to the public.
It is because of your education and background that your services become important. Chances are that you not only learned how to be the consummate on-air host of a show, but – if need be – you could write the copy, upload it to a teleprompter, direct the camera angles and even produce the commercials. No matter what field you end up in, a degree in communications is a smart way to start on the road to success! The very definition of communications, as defined by the Association for Communication Administration, shows just how far-reaching this degree can be: “The field of communication focuses on how people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. The field promotes the effective and ethical practice of human communication.”
Estimates suggest that the average person spends 75 percent of his or her day communicating. While in college, you’ll spend an average of 69 percent of that allocation speaking and listening. Seventeen percent will be spent reading and another fourteen percent of your day will be spent writing. In terms of understanding this concept, we listen to the equivalent of a book each day, orally communicate about a book each week, read the equivalent of only a book each month, and write the equivalent of less than a book a year.
As previously discussed, there are numerous professional paths that you can take with a degree in communications. The following list is just a jumping-off point and is not meant to be comprehensive of all jobs in the field. There is much overlap, and some careers may take further education.
- Advertising: Account Executive, Advertising Specialist, Copywriter, Creative Director, Development Manager, Digital Planner, Editorial Assistant, Graphic Illustrator, Location Scout, Marketing Specialist, Media Buyer, Media Planner, Media Relations Officer, Photographer, Project Coordinator, Public Researcher, Sales Representative
- Business: Benefits Administrator, Buyer, College Admissions Counselor, Director of Communications, Human Resources Manager, Human Resources Specialist, Industrial Relations, Management, Manager, Marketing Specialist, Mediator, Negotiator, Personnel Recruitment, Project Coordinator, Public Information Officer, Sales Representative, Training and Development Coordinator
- Health Care: Activities Director, Clinic Public Relations Director, Community Affairs Liaison, Emergency Preparedness Planner, Health Care Counselor, Health Communication Analyst, Health Educator, Hospital Director of Communications, Medical Center Publications Editor, Medical Grants Writer, School Health Care Administrator
- Education: Audiovisual Specialist, College Admissions Counselor, Debate Coach, Drama Director, Education Coordinator, Educational Administrator, Educational Consultant, Educational Fund-raiser, Event Coordinator, Language Arts Coordinator, Recruitment Specialist, School Counselor, Speech Communications Teacher, Textbook Adoption Specialist, Training Specialist
- Electronic Media/Radio & Television Broadcasting: Advertising Sales Coordinator, Archive Manager, Broadcasting Station Manager, Casting Director, Community Relations Director, Director of Broadcasting, Film/Tape Librarian, Marketing Researcher, News and Relations Manager, On-Air Personality, Producer, Social Media Manager, Sound Engineer, Technical Director, Transmission Engineer, Writer
- Government/Politics: Ambassador, Campaign Director, Community Affairs Officer, Diplomat, Legislative Assistant, Lobbyist, Outreach Meeting Specialist, Politician, Program Coordinator, Public Information Officer, Research Specialist, Speech Writer
- High Technology Industries: Audio/Visual Display Specialist, Business Development Specialist, Circuit Television Producer/Director, Cognition Researcher, Event Technology Specialist, Information Technology Engineer, Language Specialist, Systems Analyst, Technical Writer, Websphere Support Specialist, Windows Solution Architect
- International Relations and Negotiations: Corporate Representative, Diplomat, Director of Public Relations and International Affairs, Foreign Correspondent, Intelligence Analyst, International Media Relations Assistant, International Policy Analyst, International Trade Specialist, Interpreter, On-Air International Broadcasting, Relations Manager, Student Tour Coordinator, Translator
- Journalism (Print or Electronic): Acquisitions Editor, Author, Communications Coordinator, Community Web Producer, Copywriter, Editor, Editorial Assistant, Marketing Communications Manager, Media Researcher, Newscaster, Online Content Writer, Publicist, Reporter, Script Writer, Strategic Communications Consultant, Technical Writer
- Law: Compliance Officer, Contract Specialist, Corporate Employment Attorney, Corporate Lawyer, Director of Security, District Attorney, Judge, Jury Consultant, Legal Commentator, Legal Educator, Legal Researcher, Legal Secretary, Mediation and Negotiation Specialist, Paralegal, Private Practice Lawyer, Probation and Parole Officer, Prosecutor, Public Defender, Research Attorney
- Public Relations: Account Executive, Advertising Manager, Communications Officer, Community Affairs Specialist, Corporate Public Affairs, Creative Director, Development Manager, Lobbyist, Media Analyst, Media Planner, News Writer, Public Opinion Researcher, Public Relations Assistant, Public Relations Specialist, Publicity Manager, Sales Manager, Social Media Coordinator, Special Promotions Coordinator
- Social and Human Services: Behavioral Management Specialist, Case Manager, Community Affairs Liaison, Community Support Specialist, Compliance Officer, Contingent Licensing Specialist, Director of Social Media, Employment Services Specialist, Human Rights Officer, Park Services Public Relations Specialist, Public Administrator, Recreation Supervisor, Religious Leader, Risk Reduction Program Coordinator, Social Worker
- Theater/Performing Arts: Adjunct Faculty Member, Administrative Assistant, Artist Representative, Arts Administrator, Casting Director, Costume Design, Facilities Manager, Lighting Designer, Makeup Artist, Model, Performing Artist, Personal Assistant, Production Designer, Publicist, Sales and Sponsorship Manager, Scenic Designer, Script Writer, Stage Manager, Theater Critic, Theater Merchandiser, Visual Arts Manager