Communication Studies Associates, Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Iowa

Communications majors will find Iowa a great place to pursue a career. The Hawkeye State is home to investigative news start-ups, major magazine publishers, and a thriving literary scene. It’s also headquarters for one of the nation’s largest broadcasting chains, NRG Media, as well as the most-watched public television station in the nation, KDIN. The state’s labor department projects a 9% rise in jobs for Media and Communications workers between 2008 and 2018. Professional and Business Services are projected to grow faster than any other sector in the state during those years, which means plenty of opportunities for communications graduates who have focused on areas like corporate communications and public relations. While most opportunities are likely to be concentrated in the state’s bustling capital of Des Moines, bigger cities such as Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Sioux City are also thriving.

Undergraduate Degrees in Communications – Choosing to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree with a major in communications will give you the qualifications you need to start a career in mass media and digital communications. Whether you’re interested in journalism, creative writing and independent filmmaking, or marketing and public relations, the know-how needed to reach people with a targeted message starts with a degree in communications.

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Master’s Degrees in Communications – No matter your professional background or undergraduate major, you could earn a master’s in communications to prepare for a career in any number of diverse areas that include journalism, public relations, marketing, digital media and more.


Iowa boasts 37 daily newspapers, the oldest of which is The Hawk Eye, established in 1837 and serving the Southeast Iowa/Western Illinois region. Des Moines residents read the Des Moines Register over their morning coffee, as well as the alternative weekly Cityview and the weekly newspaper Juice. Residents elsewhere in the state read a variety of local editions of the Register, and benefit from a variety of online news start-ups, including the hyperlocal Patch network, which has nine sites in the state. The investigative news center IowaWatch produces independent journalism created by journalism students – a great opportunity for communications majors to get involved.

Local Newspapers and Guides:

  • Cedar Rapids Gazette Online
  • Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil
  • Des Moines Register
  • Cityview
  • Juice
  • Des Moines Business Record
  • Dubuque Telegraph Herald
  • Quad City Times
  • Sioux City Journal
  • Waterloo Courier
  • Iowa City Press-Citizen

Journalism Associations:

 TV and Radio Broadcasting

Nearly 140 television stations entertain and inform Iowans. Public television is popular: Iowa Public Television’s KDIN (in the Des Moines-Ames area) is the most-watched public station in the country, according to a report from Nielsen Media Research and TRAC Media Services. 244 FM radio stations and 158 AM radio stations broadcast within Iowa, according to the FCC. Des Moines is the 73rd largest radio market in the country, and most of the city’s commercial radio stations are owned by Clear Channel, Citadel Broadcasting, Saga Communications, or Connoisseur Communications. But not all the broadcast media opportunities in the state are focused on local productions: NRG Media, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, is the seventh-largest radio network in the country, with 45 radio stations broadcasting throughout the Midwest.

Resources and Professional Associations for TV and Radio Broadcasting:

Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations

As of 2010 almost 4,000 people were employed in nearly 400 advertising and public relations businesses in Iowa, according to Iowa Workforce Development. Careers in advertising, marketing, and public relations are likely to be good options for Iowa communications majors in the years to come. According to the Iowa Department of Labor, jobs for Public Relations Managers are projected to grow 12% between 2008 and 2018, while jobs for Public Relations Specialists are forecast to grow over 20%. The state’s rapidly-growing healthcare and technology sectors also present many opportunities for communications majors to put their skills to work, both in-house and at specialized firms.

Public Relations, Marketing, and Advertising Firms:

  • REL Productions
  • Hanser & Associates
  • Flynn Wright
  • Hellman Associates Inc.
  • Innova Ideas & Services
  • Lessing-Flynn
  • Mathis, Earnest & Vandeventer
  • McCormick Advertising
  • McLellan Marketing Group
  • The Meyocks Group
  • Relationship Marketing Inc.

Professional Associations for Advertising and Public Relations:

Print Publishing

Iowa has a vibrant writing scene nurtured by the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop, established in 1931 as the first creative writing program in the country. The workshop has nurtured a number of future Pulitzer-prize winning authors and US Poet Laureates, as well as helped create a active literary culture across the state. In any given month, Iowans can attend a host of literary events, classes, and readings; annual highlights include galas such as the Iowa City Book Festival. Cedar Rapids is also home to the North American Review, which bills itself as oldest literary magazine in America.

Local presses primarily focus on Iowa’s history, art, culture, and travel opportunities, although the state also boasts higher-profile magazine publishers, including the Meredith Corporation, publishers of Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, Everyday with Rachael Ray — and other offerings for domestic gods and goddesses.

Book and Magazine Publishing Companies:

  • University of Iowa Press
  • Big Green Umbrella
  • Ice Cube Press
  • Culicidae Press LLC
  • Astri My Astri Publishing
  • Final Thursday Press

Print Publishing and Writing Associations and Resources: