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What Can I Do With a Communications Degree?

A communications degree opens doors to a host of careers in nearly every industry and business sector. Though journalism springs immediately to mind, the truth is, communication, both internal and external, is a critical facet of all organizational success.

Furthermore, in studying communications students learn critical, in-demand skills that can be applied to any position. According to the National Communication Association, “When responding to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook Survey, employers identified the ability to verbally communicate with others inside and outside the organization and the ability to create and/or edit written documents as among the top ten skills they seek when hiring new college graduates.”

Here is a sampling of potential career paths for communications majors, as well as expected salary and job outlook for those roles.

Public Relations Specialist

The success of all organizations, from small nonprofits to Fortune 500 corporations, depends upon a positive image. Public relations specialists are tasked with creating and maintaining this image every day by harnessing the power of media to spread their organization’s carefully crafted message and mission far and wide.

Public relations specialists may:

  • Write speeches
  • Create press kits and press releases
  • Arrange for interviews and other media appearances
  • Evaluate advertising campaigns to ensure they align with the organization’s brand identity
  • Track and evaluate the results of various public relations strategies

Many public relations specialists work for PR firms, which handle the image of many different clients, though large companies often have their own PR departments. According to May 2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for public relations specialist was $61,150 a year, and the outlook for these positions is promising, with an expected job growth of 6%.

Human Resources Specialist

Human resources (HR) specialists act as a bridge between an organization’s management and its employees. Depending on the size of the company, HR duties may include:

  • Recruiting, interviewing and hiring staff
  • Managing employee pay and benefits
  • Handling employee communications and relations
  • Building teams
  • Developing hiring and training processes

In addition to working in the HR department of a specific organization, many human resource specialists work for HR firms which provide services to multiple businesses. The median salary for a human resource specialist was $61,920 a year in 2019, and the field is expected to grow at 5% over the next decade.

Marketing Manager

Similar to a public relations specialist, a marketing manager is in charge of promoting an organization’s image to the public. However, in addition to broadcasting a general brand image, marketing managers also focus on developing and advertising an organization’s specific products and services. Their responsibilities typically include:

  • Analyzing trends in the marketplace
  • Interviewing clients and customers
  • Creating websites and social media campaigns
  • Creating sales strategies
  • Creating messaging for sales teams
  • Organizing advertising campaigns and tracking results

Marketing is a key part of any business. At smaller organizations, there may be just one person handling it, but larger organizations often have sizable marketing departments. In 2019 the median salary for marketing managers was $135,900 per year, and the job growth rate is better than average, coming in at an expected 8% over the next 10 years (BLS).

Social Media Manager

Social media managers create and execute advertising campaigns across multiple platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. New platforms are constantly emerging and professionals able to communicate effectively in these channels are in high demand in both the private and public sector. Social media managers:

  • Develop strategies to increase awareness of an organization
  • Create campaigns and content
  • Interact and negotiate with social media influencers
  • Monitor and maintain a brand’s social media image
  • Monitor and respond to social media comments
  • Analyze data about engagement and perception

PayScale places the median salary for social media managers at $50,816 a year (2020). The BLS predicts a higher-than-average 8% growth rate in jobs for advertising, promotions and marketing managers, which bodes well for the social media manager category.

The above list is far from exhaustive. Graduates with communications degrees hold positions in nearly every field. They work in politics as advocates, lobbyists and speech writers; in science as technical writers; and in academia as professors and outreach directors. As methods and platforms for communication continue to grow and evolve, so do the prospects for those with the skills to use them effectively.

Learn more about Lamar University’s B.S. in Communication online program.


National Communication Association: Why Study Communication?

PayScale: Social Media Manager

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Public Relations Specialists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Human Resources Specialists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Specialists: Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers


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