Career Information for a Degree in Communications or Media Studies

Oct 04, 2019

Degrees in communication and media studies generally cover writing, reporting, editing and production across a variety of media formats. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for media studies graduates.

A career as an advertising sales agent, television news producer or television reporter are options for those with a degree in communications or media studies. Advertising sales agents sell ad space by drawing on their knowledge of audience numbers and ages to match companies with the best block of time to reach their target audience. Television news producers oversee the production of news broadcasts, while television reporters investigate news stories and relay information during news broadcasts.

Essential Information

Communications and media studies degree programs allow students to explore the ways humans use media and technology to exchange ideas. Students who pursue degrees in communications or media studies may go on to enter careers in broadcasting, journalism, advertising and public relations.

Career Advertising Sales Agents Television News Producers Television Reporters
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -2% 5% -10%
Median Salary (2018)* $51,740 $71,680 $43,490

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Degrees in Communications and Media Studies

Degree programs in communications and media studies prepare students for careers in journalism, advertising, public relations and other fields that require extensive knowledge of how humans communicate. In communications programs, students take courses in interpersonal communication, public speaking, public relations, mass media and rhetoric. Media studies programs typically include theoretical and practical coursework in writing, reporting, editing and production in a variety of media formats.

Careers Options for Communications or Media Studies Majors

Advertising Sales Agents

Advertising sales agents combine their knowledge of advertising media platforms with communications strategies to sell advertising space or blocks of airtime. They're employed by broadcast and cable television stations, radio stations, magazines, newspapers and Internet media outlets to generate revenue through advertisement sales. Advertising sales agents analyze target market and audience data, meet with clients to determine their needs and explain the available media. After they secure contracts, sales agents may participate in advertisement creation as well as assist with communication between clients, advertising agencies and media firms.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 5% decrease in advertising sales agent jobs in the 2018-2028 decade and attributes industry growth to new media technologies as advertising platforms (www.bls.gov). The best opportunities for those employed in advertising and public relations will be for professionals who understand how to use digital technologies to effectively reach consumers. According to the BLS, advertising sales agents made a median salary of $51,740 in May 2018.

Television News Producers

Television news producers work behind the scenes to ensure news broadcasts run smoothly, which includes ensuring that programs fit into allotted time slots and news is error-free. They determine the content and order of stories in a newscast by approving scripts and video, researching stories and arranging interviews. Producers also coordinate the efforts of writers, editors, photographers, technical employees and on-air talent. They may have assistants who help with research, fact-checking and planning.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, employment of producers was expected to increase as fast as average by 5% from 2018-2028. This increase will be due in part to growth of television companies. Job growth may be stifled by the merging of stations, which will generate need for fewer producers. The BLS reports that producers and directors earned median salaries of $71,680 in May 2018.

Television Reporters

Whether they are covering events, breaking news or ongoing investigations, television reporters provide unbiased, up-to-date information for audiences. Reporters often shoot reports from remote locations, which may be broadcast live. After reporters are assigned coverage, they conduct research, arrange interviews, contact sources and write stories. As journalists, reporters investigate news tips and leads to make sure they are giving the public reliable information.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS reports that keen competition was expected for employment among reporters due to a projected 10% decline in the field from 2018 to 2028. The economic climate and downsizing of broadcasting personnel will be factors in this decline. Median annual salaries of radio and television reporters were $43,490 in May 2018.

A degree in communications or media studies provides individuals with an understanding of the way people relay information through various forms of media. This education helps prepare graduates to pursue careers in public relations, journalism or advertising.

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