Communications is recognized as an extraordinarily diverse and flexible field of study, in that a background in communications can support careers in everything from advertising to the arts. A background in communications is highly regarded in business, marketing, education, politics and public relations, as the ability to develop a targeted message and deliver it effectively is fundamental to success in these fields, and many others. Further, the globalization of business in a world that has been brought closer together through the accessibility and immediacy of electronic communications, have made cross-cultural and multi-linguistic communications skills more prized than ever.
In 2014, the US Department of Labor reported employment projections for a number of job classifications in which a degree in communications is standard:
- The number of jobs for public relations specialists and managers is expected to grow by 24 percent through 2018, considerably faster than the average growth rate for all jobs.
- Human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists also enjoy a unique level of job security, as the number of jobs in this field is expected to increase by 22 percent through 2018.
- During this same period, the occupational outlook for advertising, marketing, promotions, and sales managers is expected to increase by 13 percent.
Professionals skilled in communications understand the many ways in which humans develop, collect, disseminate, and transfer information. They can effectively express ideas and argue points, and they understand the diversity of communications practices.
Whether they are maintaining interpersonal relationships, disseminating information to an audience, providing leadership for groups and organizations, or fulfilling the responsibilities of public citizenship, professionals who possess a high level of competence in communications are beneficial to their employers, members of their professional team, and certainly to the clients or customers they serve.
Communications Careers By State
District of Columbia
Applied Communications in a Variety of Fields
Communications focuses on how people use messages within and across any number of channels, cultures, contexts, and media. Because of the sheer expanse of this field, the study of communications serves as a suitable foundation for a myriad of careers in a wide range of fields, such as:
Public Relations – Professionals in public relations are focused on managing the public image of a person or organization. Therefore, they must possess excellent oral and written communications skills and the theories of persuasion.
Marketing/Advertising – Advertising and marketing serve as channels of communications for informing, persuading, and reminding consumers about products, services, and brands. Therefore, communications in marketing and advertising is used to reinforce experiences, remind consumers about their needs, and convince them to make specific decisions.
Journalism/Electronic Media/Broadcasting – Clear and accurate communication and superb writing skills are at the heart of media and broadcasting fields.
Government/Politics – Communications serves as the basis for careers in government/politics, as professionals in this field must be able to articulate issues that challenge our systems of government and develop a rapport with the public.
Education – Communicating with students of any age is the core of the education profession. Without strong oral and written communications skills, the educational process fails.
Social and Human Services – Professionals in social and human services, including social workers, counselors, and similar professionals, must be effective communicators and possess a clear understanding of the social process as to inspire change.
Business – Clear and effective communications plays a vital role in the functioning of any organization, government, or business. Our increasingly connected world requires professionals who can communicate ideas, concepts, and philosophies to others through virtually any format.
International Relations and Negotiations – Professionals in international relations and negotiations understand that globalization—interacting across multiple cultures—relies on effective and efficient communications.
Law – The foundation of law involves establishing meaning and persuading others through language. Law professionals are, at their core, superb communicators.
Healthcare – Communication is essential for professionals in the healthcare field. Strong communication skills provide healthcare workers with the tools necessary to provide treatment, education, and patient care for their clients and maintain confidence and trust with their clients, clients’ families, and other healthcare providers.
The following list shows some of the many career paths available to communications majors:
Communications Editors – Communications editors review marketing material, articles, and ad copy; detect errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and syntax; and ensure copy conforms to style guidelines and editorial policy.
Communications Directors – Communications directors manage and develop strategies to enhance an organization’s public image. Job responsibilities include establishing relationships with members of the media and identifying key messages to partners and investors. Communications directors also oversee the production of internal and external materials.
Investor Relations Managers – Investor relations managers oversee the planning and execution of an organization’s communications strategies and programs in both print and electronic media. These professionals are also often responsible for corporate, marketing, and employee communications, as well as crisis management issues.
Media Relations Managers – Media relations managers research, write, edit, and coordinate a variety of corporate and marketing communications materials. Job responsibilities for these communications professionals include writing press releases, facts sheets, speeches, marketing material, newsletters, and employee communications.
Public Relations Account Coordinators – Public relations account coordinators provide support for the account services team. Responsibilities include writing and proofreading promotional materials, conducting research, and assisting with media outreach efforts.
Marketing and Advertising
Brand Managers – Brand managers develop and implement the brand strategy of a product or service as to position products and services in the marketplace. These professionals also plan and execute brand marketing and advertising programs as to raise brand awareness and value.
Chief Marketing Officers – Chief marketing officers oversee the planning, development, and execution of an organization’s advertising and marketing activities. Job responsibilities include new business development, marketing communications, advertising, and public relations.
Event Planners/Managers – Event planners/managers plan, schedule, and coordinate events like trade shows, conferences, conventions, and seminars. Their job duties include overseeing event budgets, timelines, and logistics and creating event marketing plans.
Market Researchers – Market researchers determine the demand for new and existing products and services. Their job duties include gathering and analyzing data on competitor activities, analyzing, customer demographics and preferences, and forecasting consumer and industry trends.
Product Managers – Product managers develop strategies to ensure the success of the product or service lifecycle. These communications professionals oversee the needs and requirements throughout the organization through market research, the coordination of timelines and budgets, and managing outside vendors.
Marketing Directors – Marketing directors conceive and execute marketing strategies and programs as to increase the profitability of new and existing products and services. These professionals are responsible for pricing policies, product and marketing development, and gathering and analyzing market research.
Account Managers – Account managers serve as the client representatives of the agency. Account managers are team leaders and strategists, communicating the needs of the client to the agency team and planning effectively to maximize staff time. They are responsible for overseeing all aspects of advertising, including the creative, media, research, and commercial production.
Media Planners – Media planners provide strategic recommendations and analyses as to ensure client marketing needs are met. Job responsibilities include developing, executing, and managing plans.
Client Services Directors – Client services directors oversee the management of media planning, including budgets, costs, resource allocations, and strategic leadership. These communications professionals are involved in agency negotiations and policy-making decisions.
Copywriters – Copywriters are responsible for generating concepts/ideas and highly targeted copy for client accounts.
Creative Supervisors – Creative supervisors integrate art, copy, and production functions and guide the overall creative efforts of general advertising creative groups.
Journalism, Media and Broadcasting
News Reporters/Correspondents – News reporters gather information, develop stories, and produce articles for broadcast. Job duties include researching story topics, interviewing people, and gathering related information. News reporters may write news stories for print, online publications, or scripts for radio and television.
Newscasters – Newscasters speak or read from scripted materials. Their job responsibilities include studying background information to prepare for programs and interviews; interviewing guests; preparing and delivering news; providing commentary; and conducting interviews.
Editors – Editors plan and revise content that is published in magazine, books, newspapers, websites, and other publications. Editors meet with writers to develop content ideas, check writers’ stories for accuracy, and check for style, grammar, spelling, syntax, and punctuation errors.
Proofreaders – Proofreaders read copy and transcripts for spelling, grammatical, and typographical errors. These communications professionals receive copy, note changes, and provide the corrected documents to writers, typists, and editors.
Labor Relations Managers – Labor relations managers utilize their expertise in data collection and analysis, policy-making, negotiation, labor law, and the collective bargaining process to maintain an organization’s positive relationship with its employees. During the collective bargaining process, labor relations managers provide management with the information needed to negotiate new contracts.
Human Resources Managers – Human resources managers are directly responsible for the overall administration, coordination, and evaluation of a company’s human resources programs and services. Their job duties include developing and administering human resources plans and procedures and participating in developing department goals, objectives, and systems.
Corporate Recruiters – Corporate recruiters partner with company managers to anticipate the needs of the corporation’s talent. These communications professionals develop and implement strategic initiatives for recruiting diverse talent. Their job duties include nurturing relationships with prospective talent and corporate management.
Government and Politics
Campaign Directors – Campaign directors are responsible for developing an overall strategic plan for an integrated campaign model. Campaign directors oversee the overall mission of the organization, including the work of campaign professionals and volunteers.
Lobbyists – Lobbyists represent a specific person or group of people within a government. Their work involves attempting to effect change by influencing people with policy-making authority.
Cultural Advisors/Liaisons – Cultural advisors/liaisons, who work in the government, healthcare, and education sectors, among others, are responsible for evaluating the cultural needs of individuals or groups and providing the necessary support. For example, cultural advisors in educational institutions offer academic and career guidance to students.
Translators/Interpreters – Translators/interpreters aid communication by converting one language to another. Translators work with written communications, while interpreters work with spoken communications, but both must be experts in the art of communication.
International Business Consultants – International business consultants help firms succeed in overseas markets. They focus on achieving objectives that contribute to an organization’s growth and profits. These communications professionals also often specialize in specific areas, such as production, sales, and distribution.
Public Defenders – Public defenders are attorneys at the federal, state, or local level who serve as court-appointed counsel for indigent persons in criminal cases.
Corporate Lawyers – Corporate lawyers ensure the legality of business practices and transactions for corporations. They are called upon to help their clients work within legal boundaries.
Mediation/Negotiation Specialists – Mediation/negotiation specialists facilitate negotiation and settlement between disputing parties by providing direction and encouragement. These communications experts allow parties to collaborate by finding ways to reach a mutual solution.
Job Titles for Professionals with a Background in Communications
The following list shows some of the many career paths that communications majors pursue:
- Sales Managers and Representatives
- Buyers and Purchasing Agents
- Personnel Recruiters
- Human Recourses Managers and Coordinators
- Labor Relations Managers
- Advertising Managers
- Customer Service
- Public Information Officers
- Corporate Training Specialists
Marketing and Advertising
- Media Planners and Buyers
- Marketing Managers and Specialists
- Media Salespersons
- Creative Directors
- Market Research Analysts
- Advertising Managers
- Reporters and Correspondents
- Script Writers
- Technical Writers
Electronic Media, TV and Radio Broadcasting
- Director of Broadcasting
- Market Researchers
- Disc Jockeys and Hosts
- Casting Director
- Audio Engineers
Arts and Humanities
- Stage Managers
- Script Writers
- Set Designers
- Casting Directors
- Performing Artists
Government and Politics
- Campaign Directors
- Legislative Assistants
- Research Specialists
- Elected Officials
- University Professors
- Educational Administrator
- Secondary Speech Forensics/Debate Coach
- Admissions Counselor
- Theatre and Drama Professors
- Public Relations Managers and Specialists
- Publicity Managers
- Media Planners
- Advertising Managers
- Media Analyst
- Cultural Advisers and Liaisons
- International Business Consultants
- Translators and Interpreters
- Diplomats and Ambassadors
- Foreign Correspondents
- Language Specialists
- Public Defenders
- District Attorneys
- Corporate Lawyers
- Legal Reporters
- Private Practice Lawyers
- Legal Reporters
- Mediation & Negotiation Specialists
Print and Electronic Publishing
- Copy Writers
- Desktop Publishers
- Prepress Technicians
- Printing Machine Operators
- Bindery Workers and Machine Operators