Communications Studies – Careers, Perspectives and Degrees

Communications is the use of messages/ narratives to create meaning both within and across plenty of media, channels, cultures and contexts. The practice through the words, sounds, symbols and language is a crucial for development and progress of civilized society. Effective communication enables us to reach mutual understanding and overcomes in socio- political settings and everyday lives.

Nowadays, it is absolutely clear that communications are much more complex and sophisticated than ever before in history of humanity.

WHAT ARE THE BASICS OF COMMUNICATION?

As a two-way process the communication includes a message that must be conveyed through some kind of medium to a recipient. A recipient must understand the message and respond to it within a specific time frame.

Basically, communication process consists of, or can be break down into, a series of components:

SOURCE– usually person who creates and sends a message

MESSAGE– a meaning or stimulus generated by source

CHANNEL– a way in which a message travels between the source and recipient

RECEIVER– an entity, usually a person, who receives, analyzes and interprets the message from the source

FEEDBACK– a response to a message, verbal or nonverbal

ENVIRONMENT– psychological and physical aspects of the communication’s context

INTERFERENCE everything which could be a potential block and change the source’s meaning of the message. 

COMMUNICATIONS STUDIES

As a diverse discipline, seeking to understand social, cultural and political processes, organize behavior and generate meanings, communication is relevant to social scientist, scholars of cultural studies alike as humanist.

The Communications study shapes our social interaction, writing and reading skills, but also encourages and polishes critical thinking. It allows us to understand the changing world process and teaches us to deal with it.

Nowadays, we have very high aims and goals in order to understand communication. It has resulted in numerous areas of studies within communications:

  • Communication Theory: The study of how communication impacts human social interaction
  • Communication Education: The study of communication in all pedagogical contexts
  • Health Communication: The study of communication linked to work of health professionals and health education
  • Applied Communication: The study of communication best practices, theory and research which can be use for practical purposes
  • Intercultural and International Communication: The study of cross-cultural communication
  • Interpersonal communication: The study of communication in personal relationships
  • Electronic Media: The study of forms of media- including television, media technology, radio and web design
  • Mass Communication and Media Literacy: The study of mass communication
  • Performance Studies: The study of components within communications discipline- audience, text, performers etc
  • Language and Social Interaction: The study of behaviors, verbal and nonverbal, in social interactions
  • Legal Communication: The study of communication in the legal system
  • Mediation and Dispute Resolution: The study of intrapersonal, interpersonal and intergroup situations
  • Organizational Communication: The study of social interaction in organizations and communication analyses within organizations.
  • Small Group Communications: The study of communications among three or more persons who have common purpose and influence each other
  • Rhetorical Criticism: Evaluating and analyzing rhetorical artifacts
  • Political Communication: The study of communication in political systems
  • Public Relations: The study of communications between an organization and its audiences
  • Pubic Address: The study of speeches and speakers
  • Speech Communication: The study of speech and human symbolic interaction
  • Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication: The study of communication linked to philosophical frameworks
  • Visual Communication: The study of various visual data/narratives ( in architecture, photography, visual arts, films, advertising, etc) as it relates to communication
  • Theater and Drama: The study of dramatic literature and its production. 

COMMUNICATIONS CAREER PERSPECTIVES

Having been recognized as a very flexible field of study, a background in communications can support careers in almost everything- from the politics and low to the advertising and arts. The globalization in business has been brought closer together through the accessibility and directness of electronic communications and made multi-linguistics and cross-cultural communication skills much more valuable than ever. Owing to technology, these career paths could become even more attractive and needed as the years go by.

Students who graduate with the degree in communications are competitive for various jobs in broadcasting area, public relations, editing or writing field, journalism, fundraising and so on. Also, students can leverage their basic knowledge of communication and became competitive to work in different environments such as government agencies, low, offices, nonprofit organizations, etc.

Professionals skilled in communications can realize and understand the many approach in which people collect, develop, spread and transfer information. They can understand and compare the diversity of communication practices and express the ideas and argue points.

In a variety of circumstances, the professionals who possess a high level of competence in communication, whether they are maintaining interpersonal relationships, spreading information to an audience, providing leadership for group and organizations or fulfilling responsibilities of public citizenship, are  very beneficial and valuable to their employers, members of their professional team and the clients and customers they serve.

THE BASIC STEPS FOR ACHIEVING A COMMUNICATION DEGREE AND CAREER

The career in communication can lead to an extraordinary professional life with many different paths to advancement and success.

Explore  your abilities and preferences:

All those who intend to commit to an academic and training path in communication, should explore and asses their interests and skills. They should think about their hobbies or about the clubs and practices they were involved in at the high-school level. It is a very important part in all further steps in proper guidance career. For instance, if you gravitated to activities such as debate, school ambassador or similar you will probably enjoy activities of newscaster, but those who enjoy more solitary, under-the-radar groups may find the role to be right and suitable for them.

Earning a Bachelor Degree:

Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts are commonly offered as  an Undergraduate Degree in Communications. While the core framework of the course remains the same in either, students in B.A. focus their studies on topics which are related to liberal arts. They are given a wider understanding of culture, history, society and language linked to the further options. Students in the B.S. program take more science and math related course, also linked to possible letter options.

BA Degree in Communications provides students with opportunities to build their skills and become informed and familiar with the basics in the world of communications. Degree process can be completed in four years of study. However, it is very important that students themselves seek the opportunities. They must build and create their skills independently and make relationships with professors and persons who would be useful for their further career development.

Seeking out practice and relevant experience:

Students need to complete an internship during their BA program and it is one of the Majority of Degrees’ requirements. These experiences can provide students to find out the right fits with their future interests as for as the potential of being hired after the internship is finished.

 Seeking a First Job:

About finding a first job, it is important to note that any experience gained will be very relevant and desirable. A resume with highlighting professional and educational qualifications is understood, regarding to the position. However the news stations or companies understand that is your first job out of school, being able to show how other skill gained along the way will be valuable goes a long way. In order to secure a position, first-time job seekers in communication’s industry should be prepared to move anywhere.

MAST HAVE COMPONENTS FOR SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATIONS CAREER: skills, tools and technology

Experts in the field of communication usually have got a few strong skills in common. Some of those are innate skills, but also, they are honed during the pursuit of a secondary degree, and sharpened during the years of experience and practice that comes from working in the communications area.

  • Writing skills– clear and concise writing. It might be the most important medium for communication professionals
  • Speaking skills– It matters greatly being able to speak  clearly and intelligently and pointed to a wide range of people
  • Quick thinking– in communications, those who dealing with the public must be able to think quickly and respond too in a n appropriate manner/way
  • Creativity– almost every job related to communication requires creativity in speech, words or actions
  • Interpersonal skills– requires the ability to get along with everyone and be respectful of differences
  • Organizations– those skills are very important for working in communications requires a great deal of scheduling, agenda, paperwork
  • Internet understanding– professionals in communications must have a firm grasp of social media and internet networks in general

Tools and Technology

Professionals in communications use a variety of technology and tools in their work. The most popular and must-have tools are computers- all kinds: personal, laptops, tablets, Smartphone’s. These devices allow ones to be online, connected, most of the time.

There are many programs, software and tools needed and required in various fields of communications. Technology and tools can be varied which depends on the type and role of employer.

However, the technology needed is based on software that allows professionals to get their message out. This may include: Adobe Systems, Microsoft Office, Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Google Analytics, LexisNexis Software and various Social Media Platforms such as Tweeter, Facebook, and Instagram

COMMUNICATIONS DEGREES AND CONCENTRATIONS

Further education in communications has plenty of options at  the postsecondary level. Students and future professionals should be able to find the right fit according to their needs. The following degree types are the standard forms of training for communications professionals:

Associate Communications Degree:

Students enrolled in an Associate Communication Degree program learn about the basics of the communications, main skills and knowledge for the entry-level roles. A variety of media forms are covered: online, audio, visual medium and prints. In this program, students are going to learn write  press releases, creating a video clip, addressing public relation issues, developing a portfolio. After graduated on Associate programs they may go on work in journalism, radio, public relations or media.

The Associate Program common classes include:

  • Fundamentals of Speech
  • Business Communications
  • Interpersonal Communications

Fundamentals of Speech includes oral communication and public speaking as well as equipping students with the set of skills they need to confidently and effectively address a wide range audience. Students gain  skills in classes such as understanding of appropriate topics for different audiences, ability to create a keyword list and outline, different audience engagement techniques, etc

Business Communication classes provide students with a vocabulary of common business terms. They learn about different types of business environments and how to speak professionally to clients, colleagues, supervisors etc. Students learn how to prepare a professional presentation and other skills such as awareness of a variety of communication styles for different business settings and appropriate behavior in business environments.

Interpersonal Communication classes equipping students with all the skills needed for interaction among many different types of people. They also learn about styles of communication, active listening, interviewing techniques, crisis management etc. During and after classes, the student will gain  the ability to interpret communication styles and choose a suitable option in a specific situation and be able to understand how factors like culture, gender or age may affect interpersonal communication. After all, the best practices in interpersonal communication will be adopted.

Bachelor’s Communications Degree:

During the four years of  Bachelor’s degree study program in communications, students learns practical skills to succeed in future efforts with special emphasis on creating strong and clear communication in a variety of mediums. Graduates of communication degree will have a toolbox filled with effective strategies- whether engaging audiences for on social media platforms, making a clear brand for a client or writing copy for a grassroots promotion. Bachelor’s program   allows students to select a concentration including public relation, political communications or options in marketing communications.

Graduates may go on to the positions as journalist, writers, public relation specialists or speech writers.

Bachelor’s Degree Program common classes include:

  • Writing for Digital Platforms
  • Persuasive Communications
  • Group Communications

Writing for Digital Platforms course introduce to students a different style of writing, especially for numerous online and digital platforms. Students learn how to craft engaging and appropriate content for different mediums as well as how to leverage each platform successfully. These classes equipped students with the ability to use different writing and communication styles based on platform and specific audiences. Students achieve awareness of the different mediums available for digital communications and well understandings of digital platforms and communications strategies.

Persuasive Communications classes serve to students to develop useful persuasion and negotiation techniques. During the course, students learn how to craft thoughtful and cohesive communication, written and oral, to persuade their audiences. Finally, owing to this course, student will gain valuable skills like effective persuasion techniques and historical understanding of how persuasion can be used in negotiation processes.

Group Communications course provides students with the tools and skills they need to be effective mediators of group communications. The students will be familiar with the topics such as group- thinking, crisis management, team development and understand how group dynamic affect communication style.

Furthermore, they will gain ability to facilitate communication among different types of people and developing communication strategies to address clients and stakeholders.

Master’s Communications Degrees:

Those who undertake a master’s degree, have abilities and motivation to work as directors of communications for international or large national organization or assume a high-level position in the government. This program will prepare graduates for advanced and executive-level role in developing their previous gained skills and fine- shaping communication strategies. The program emphasizes instilling and understanding the methodology and theory as well as exposing students to advanced research in the field.

Master’s Communications Program common classes include:

  • Social Media Communication
  • Global Strategic Communication
  • Communication Research Methods

Social Media Communication classes are related to digital medium and networking platform. It is provided learning about   crafting the right message for the specific types of users, different methodologies behind content creation and delving into theories on how to best engage with viewers, audiences. The graduated will be able to understand how social media metrics can be analyzed to gain greater user inside. The students gain  the ability to craft thoughtful and appropriate content and   knowledge about how different types of social media are used by a range of individuals.

Global Strategic Communication course helps students to develop their own voice for international audiences throughout the case studies which are employed to demonstrate effective and ineffective strategies. Students will learn how to implement a proper communication plan on a worldwide scale, as one of the main objective.   Afterwards, graduated will learn how to evaluate effectiveness of global communication and how to gain ability to design constructive communication for international audiences.  .

Communication Research Methods class review theory, methodology and tools used in communication in order to give students an insider’s understanding of how to lead their own research in the field. The graduated of the Master’s Degree program will be familiar with different tools used for data analysis and be able to understand how different methods and frameworks elicit varied findings. Also, they will gain ability to design and implement a proper research study.

PhD Communication Degrees

Students who choose to continue their education,  pursuing a PhD in communications are absorbed in a curriculum that not only develops their skills in the discipline, but draws attention to cultural, social, historical, political and economic views to understand the role of communications in humanity. The students have to be prepared to provide a significant   and unique research and produce a dissertation prior to graduation. This is the highest level of education and those who complete it, go on to teaching positions in universities and institutions.

PhD common classes include:

  • Public Communication Ethics
  • Teaching Communications
  • Data Analysis in Communication

Public Communication Ethics course deal with the ethical questions involved in communication processes with  the public. During the course, students read the case studies of situations where the ethical decision is not always clear and are invited to discuss about it. After finishing the course students are able to identify ethical issues and understand ethical principles surrounding public relations, journalism and broadcasting. They will also be very clear about how advertising and news can be manipulated

Teaching Communications classes learn students about common models of teaching and look at communication as an academic discipline. Future professors learn to develop their own teaching styles. They will also gain awareness of various teaching and learning styles and approaches. Most of all they will be able to understand the relationship between theory and practice in the teaching process.

Data Analysis in Communication course provides to students a proper knowledge about qualitative and quantitative research methods used in the field- casual models regression, sampling, correlation. Owing to this course, students gain ability to create analyze data, gathered through research studies and understand the main techniques for gathering and analyzing data, as well as the ethical implications surrounding the collection of data.

SALARY INFORMATION FOR CAREERS IN COMMUNICATIONS 

The following list presents the median salaries for the most popular job titles in communications:

  • Radio Broadcaster : $ 44,030
  • Event Planner : $50,910
  • Broadcast News Analyst: $84,380
  • Promotion Manager: $ 114, 700
  • Fundraising Manager: $ 115,400
  • Public Relation Specialist: $64,050
  • Writer : $ 67,870
  • Market Research Analyst: $ 61, 290
  • Art Director:$ 85,610
  • Top Executive: $ 173,320
  • Administrative Services Manager: $83, 790
  • SEO specialist: $72,500-$97,500
  • Social media manager: $67,000-$93,000
  • Web analytics specialist: $80,000-$106,250

GROWTH, PROSPECTS AND OUTLOOK 

Owing to the globalization process, technology and business grow their global presence. Communication has become incredibly important nowadays. Many jobs in communications are growing fast such as that of event planners, which will grow 33 percent between 2012 and 2022. Some jobs are growing as fast as average, such as fundraising manager at 13 percent, public relations specialist at 12 percent. But, a few professions in the communication field will experience slow growth, such as writers, with only a three percent increase between 2012 and 2020.

Event planners will be at the head of cross- cultural and international convention planning owing to the  global presence of business as well as public relations specialists.  These with expertise in social media might see the best prospects and anyone who has built a reputation and had a skills-set in the world of social media will be desirable and have the very best job opportunities in communications position.

Job Titles for Professionals with a Background in Communications

Journalism

  • Reporters and Correspondents
  • Newscasters
  • Editors
  • Script Writers
  • Technical Writers

 Print and Electronic Publishing

  • Authors
  • Copy Writers
  • Editors
  • Desktop Publishers
  • Prepress Technicians
  • Printing Machine Operators
  • Bindery Workers and Machine Operators

Business

  • Managers
  • 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

Arts and Humanities

  • Stage Managers
  • Script Writers
  • Set Designers
  • Casting Directors
  • Performing Artists

 Education

  • University Professors
  • Educational Administrator
  • Secondary Speech Forensics/Debate Coach
  • Admissions Counselor
  • Theatre and Drama Professors

Government and Politics

  • Campaign Directors
  • Lobbyists
  • Legislative Assistants
  • Research Specialists
  • Elected Officials

Public Relations

  • Public Relations Managers and Specialists
  • Publicity Managers
  • Media Planners
  • Advertising Managers
  • Media Analyst

International Relations

  • Cultural Advisers and Liaisons
  • International Business Consultants
  • Translators and Interpreters
  • Diplomats and Ambassadors
  • Foreign Correspondents
  • Language Specialists

 Law

  • Public Defenders
  • District Attorneys
  • Corporate Lawyers
  • Legal Reporters
  • Private Practice Lawyers
  • Legal Reporters
  • Mediation & Negotiation Specialists