Associate's degree programs in the communications field provide students with a base understanding of mass communications, marketing and writing. Students learn to analyze advertisements, news broadcasts, radio broadcasts and other types of mass media. They also explore the most effective ways of conveying information and public relations messages using various media sources.
Most public relations professionals are required to have a bachelor's or master's degree in communications or public relations. However, students might consider an Associate of Arts in Communication program with a public relations concentration. Students may be able to transfer their credits to a four-year degree program to gain the educational background they need. Applicants need a high school diploma or GED, including at least four years of high school-level English courses.
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Associate of Arts in Communication or Public Relations
The majority of courses in an associate's degree program in communications and public relations cover basic general education courses in English, history, communications and social science. Examples of core classes include the following:
- Principles of speech
- Mass communication
- Writing for media
- Print journalism
- Introduction to desktop publishing
Popular Career Options
Public relations (PR) professionals utilize marketing and communications strategies to promote businesses, brands, products and individuals. They often find positions as public relations account associates, marketing and sales managers or copywriters.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a job growth of 6% for public relations specialists and 7% for public relations and fundraising managers from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the BLS reported, the median annual salary for public relations specialists was $56,770, and public relations and fundraising managers earned a median annual salary of $104,140.
From 2014-2024, advertising, promotions and marketing managers could expect job growth of 9%, and in May 2015, marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $128,750. During the same time periods, the BLS reported, sales managers could expect job growth of 5% and earned a median annual salary of $113,860.
Continuing Education Options
An associate's degree program in public relations can provide students with the educational credits necessary to enroll in a bachelor's degree program in advertising, communications, marketing, public relations, graphic design or journalism. Students also can advance to master's programs in these subjects if they're interested in pursuing supervisory roles in the media industry.
An associate's degree in public relations gives students the foundational skills in communication and social science to pursue higher education or work entry-level jobs in the field.