What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s in Communications?
If you’re interested in writing, media, marketing or more, there may be a degree that can help you foster those skills. A degree in communications is versatile because it focuses on such a major part of our lives: communicating. If you’re wondering, “What can I do with a bachelor’s in communication degree?” you may want to rephrase it as “What can’t I do with a communications degree?” Learn more about this degree and the careers related to it.
Pursue a Career With a Communications Degree
Did you see any television news today? Did you listen to the radio or a podcast during your commute? Did you get mail at home that included a brochure from the city’s art museum or an invitation to buy season tickets for your favorite sports team? You may have read a newspaper online, checked Twitter and Instagram for your favorite companies and celebrities or come across a press release from a hospital about new medical research. What all of these experiences have in common is that they were likely created by people who majored in communications.
There are so many communications degree careers in part because the curriculum is so varied. Communications programs may have such wide applications because they focus on writing, media, technology and how they intersect in areas like politics, law and economics. Schools may have specialized degrees in journalism, advertising, public relations or sports media, but because the core coursework revolves around writing and media, they may be applicable to a wider range of careers.
What Do Communications and Media Studies Teach You?
Regardless of what specific career you pursue, communications and media studies will likely teach you skills that you’ll use often. Communications students learn to process, analyze and organize information, write and edit well (including expertise in grammar, punctuation and style) and create original articles, advertisements, press releases or photographs to get information to the public in the most useful ways. You may also learn about important aspects of media law, such as how to research data and information or sharpen your interpersonal skills. These jobs are all about communication and managing large amounts of information in interesting and useful ways.
Skills That Communications Majors Use at Work
Because communications degree careers vary, not everything you studied in school may be directly related to the job you have once you graduate. Instead, it’s best to look at what types of skills a communications major may have developed while they were in school. A student who learned creative skills may put those to work designing brochures, brainstorming innovative ideas or choosing just the right color for a social media post. Analytical skills may be put to the test for someone who needs to determine priorities for new projects. Communication skills may help a student’s career more broadly, allowing them to effectively talk to leadership, coworkers and stakeholders.
How do those learned skills play out in actual jobs? Here are a few examples:
- As a web producer: You may use creativity to help a company create its website, work with content created by you and others, and maintain their web presence with design, writing and editing skills.
- At a university: You may use communication skills to speak to public groups or help with fundraising. You can also help develop and write content, blogs or newsletters for the school’s website and social media pages.
- At a newspaper, TV newscast or other media outlet: As a reporter or editor, you wouldn’t just create the media. You may research, pitch and decide what topics merit publication as well as determining the structure of stories.
Explore These Jobs for Graduates With a Communications Degree
Here are several specific careers for those with a communications degree. While every job-seeking journey is different and depends on your particular skills, talent and experience, these are occupations for which a bachelor’s degree in communications may be relevant.
Human Resource Specialist Jobs
Human resource (HR) specialists typically have a bachelor’s degree. While there are bachelor’s degrees in HR, it is possible to enter the field with a related degree like communications. A career in HR may involve interviewing job applicants, checking references, keeping up with federal and state workplace regulations, training staff members and helping manage workplace situations. If you become a human resources manager, you may help manage employee benefits, work to create a positive and supportive work environment and help resolve conflicts between managers and employees.
PR Specialist Jobs
Companies and organizations hire public relations (PR) specialists to help create and maintain their brand and public image. These professionals maintain relationships with the media, respond to requests for information, create press releases to inform the public of events or company successes, work in community development and help manage negative situations when they occur. A career in public relations typically requires a bachelor’s degree and it may be helpful to have studied a communications field like journalism or—of course—public relations.
Web Producer Jobs
Web producers are responsible for the content on a website, including creating it, editing it, designing its presentation and publishing it. They may work with text, video, audio, images and graphics. They may know web-publishing software as well as HTML. While a bachelor’s degree is not mandatory, it may be a requirement for specific jobs.
Event planners are valued for their ability to organize everything from a small company party to a community gathering to a large convention. They typically deal with the public, establish and maintain relationships with venues and vendors, coordinate such things as hotels, catering and transportation, manage a budget and communicate with all involved. A career as an event planner typically requires a bachelor’s degree.
Copywriters are the people who create the words that make you want to click on a website, buy a specific product, buy an author’s latest book, read a white paper or buy a ticket to an event. Ultimately, the term “copywriter” is a catch-all title for writers who are sales motivated. They may work for advertising agencies, marketing departments or websites. They may work at an agency and manage several clients or work in-house at a company and focus their work entirely on that company’s mission. A career as a copywriter typically requires a bachelor’s degree.
Brand Strategist Jobs
We live in an information-heavy world, consuming news broadcasts, advertisements, blogs, tweets, Instagram influencers and company images. The challenge? To make a particular brand strategy that sets a company apart from the herd. A brand strategist researches and evaluates the market and focuses on getting a company’s message out and keeping it consistent across all platforms and forms of media. A bachelor’s degree or higher in communications is common for this career.
Content Manager Jobs
Think about one of your favorite websites. Did you read an article so interesting that you forwarded it to friends? Was there a blog so informative that you bookmarked it? Did you read customer testimonials, check out the website’s menus or click on links leading to other pages? A person in content management is responsible for creating the strategy that gave you that experience, including writing, editing, working with freelancers, managing budgets and connecting with the public. Bachelor’s degrees are not mandatory for these roles but are common.
Social Media Planning Jobs
The top 10 social media platforms in terms of monthly average users are, in order: Facebook (2.7 billion), YouTube (2 billion), Whatsapp (2 billion), Instagram (1.16 billion), TikTok (689 million), Snapchat (433 million), Reddit (430 million), Pinterest (416 million), Twitter (353 million) and LinkedIn (310 million). With traffic like that, you can see how integral a strong social media presence can be to a company’s success. But don’t be deluded into thinking that this career in digital media is simple. Social media specialists must have a deep understanding of and strategy for the playing field. They help develop and manage a company’s image strategy, connect with the public on all platforms and work to influence public perception. They typically have bachelor’s degrees.
Journalists often work for news organizations, including online, print (newspapers and magazines), broadcast and radio. They typically have bachelor’s degrees in communications with concentrations in such areas as journalism, strategic communication (as in public relations, branding and marketing) and sports media. Job roles for journalists may require skills in reporting, researching, interviewing, writing, editing and media law.
The term “media jobs” is a big shopping basket of occupations that require people who can create, edit, translate and disseminate information through a variety of different platforms. While there are lots of differences between, say, a technical writer, a corporate communications specialist and a reporter covering national politics, what these careers in media have in common is that they all work to communicate information to the public in useful ways.
Are Communications Majors in Demand?
Are there a lot of jobs out there for communications majors? Do communications jobs pay well? The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists 10 popular occupations in media and communications, a field in which employment is expected to grow 14% overall between 2020 and 2030. Employment of public relations specialists, one of the occupations listed, is projected to grow 11% in that time. As in many industries, salary depends on the job title, your experience, the size of the company and your particular job duties. May 2021 median annual wages for a number of communications-related jobs are listed below:
- Announcers (who earn a median annual income of $45,810)
- Broadcast/sound/video technicians ($49,050)
- Editors ($63,350)
- Film/video editors and camera operators ($60,360)
- Interpreters and translators ($49,110)
- Photographers ($38,950)
- Public relations specialists ($62,800)
- Reporters/correspondents/broadcast news analysts ($48,370)
- Technical writers ($78,060)
- Writers and authors ($69,510)
Why Pursue a Career With a BA in Communications?
If you’re exploring the idea of a career in communications, you’re probably researching how useful the degree would be and whether communications is worth it in terms of the time and cost involved in earning a degree.
Only you know which degree and career would be best for you. As you can see, the range of possible occupations is wide. What are your strengths? How do you like to spend your time? An event planner or public relations specialist may need to work with more people face-to-face. An introvert might be happier working behind the scenes online. No matter what your interests—news, health, social causes, sports, non-profit organizations, corporate management, social media or more—there are a wide variety of careers that recognize how useful a communications degree is.
Last updated April 2022