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Careers in the Communication Industry: Options and Requirements

Research what it takes to begin a career in communications. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

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A bachelor's degree in communications can be the foundation for many different careers. Some options include working as a writer or editor or becoming a market research analyst. It's also possible to pursue a career as a film and video editor, or to work in public relations.

Career Information at a Glance

The communications industry provides a diverse range of career opportunities for individuals with the skills and talent to communicate to a various audiences. Students pursuing a degree program in communications study public speaking, conflict resolution, presentations, writing and human relations.

Writers and Editors Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists Film and Video Editors PR Specialists
Required Education Bachelor's degree in communication, journalism or English Bachelor's degree in marketing, communications or business Bachelor's degree in communications or broadcasting Bachelor's degree in journalism or public relations
Other Requirements Perform research, fact checking or clerical duties; education in certain areas is preferred Have the interpersonal and communication skills to work well with clients Training in production and editing, command of certain software programs Writing skills, an understanding of human behavior and communications
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% for writers and authors 19% for market research analysts 18% 6%
Median Salary (2015)* $60,250 for writers and authors $62,150 for market research analysts $61,750 $56,770

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Publishing Options

Communications students may pursue careers in the publishing industry as writers, editors, production workers and marketing professionals. The publishing industry produces books, magazines, newspapers, trade journals, technical documents and online content.

Publishing Requirements

Entry-level writing and editing positions usually require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in communication, journalism or English. Those just breaking into the field may perform research, fact checking or clerical duties. Some editors and writers are educated in a particular subject area. For example, an individual with an education in science or medicine may produce articles, books and technical documents on the subject.

A marketing career within the publishing industry generally requires a degree in marketing, communications or business. Sales and marketing professionals are required to have the interpersonal and communication skills to work well with clients and other industry professionals.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs for writers will increase 2% from 2014-2024. The agency also reports that writers earned a median salary of $60,250 in 2015.

The BLS reports that market research analyst and marketing specialist jobs are predicted to grow at a rate of 19% from 2014-2024. The BLS also reports that people in these jobs earned a median salary of $62,150 in 2015. Marketing manager jobs are expected to grow 9% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS, while these jobs paid a median salary of $128,750 in 2015.

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Advertising Options

Communications professionals can work in advertising delivering a company's message or product to an audience. Creative professionals in advertising, such as writers and graphic artists, develop ad campaigns for radio, print and television. The range of communication mediums in the advertising industry includes magazines, newspapers, radio, television and the Internet. The field of advertising offers opportunities for creative, financial or management professionals.

Advertising Requirements

Employers in the advertising industry may require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in journalism or advertising, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A degree in communications introduces the student to the methods and technology available to communicate the advertiser's messages message to mass audiences.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS reports that jobs for graphic designers who work in advertising, public relations and related fields are expected to increase 1% from 2014-2024. The agency also reports that roughly one-fifth of graphic designers were self-employed in 2015. Graphic designers earned a median wage of $46,900 in 2015, per the BLS.

Radio and Television Options

Communications majors work in the television or radio industry as actors, writers, directors, producers, announcers, program directors or editors. Radio and television professionals may work for a production company creating prepackaged programs or in the broadcast industry working on live programming, such as news and talk shows.

Radio and Television Requirements

For an entry-level position in the news radio and television industry, individuals should have a degree in communications or journalism. A communications or broadcasting degree program provides training in announcing, production, video techniques and writing.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, from 2014-2024, the number of jobs for film and video editors is predicted to increase 18%, and the number of jobs for television, video and motion picture camera operators is predicted to increase 2%. The BLS reports that the median salary for film and video editors was $61,750 in 2015; the median salary for camera operators was $49,080 that same year.

Radio and television announcer jobs are predicted to decline by 14% from 2014-2024, per the BLS. The agency reports that the median salary for people working in these jobs was $30,960 in 2015. The BLS reports that producers and directors earned a median salary of $68,440 in 2015, and that jobs in this field are expected to grow 9% from 2014-2024.

Public Relations Options

Public relations (PR) professionals create and manage campaigns for individuals and businesses that enhance and maintain a client's image. Professionals write press releases, schedule events and manage the public image of clients.

Public Relations Requirements

A communications degree prepares a student for a career managing the public profile of individuals and businesses with courses such as public speaking and writing. Some employers may require a degree in journalism or public relations for a position in a public relations firm. Public relations professionals typically have the skills and talent to deliver a client's message or point of view and manage crises. An understanding of human behavior and communications can help public relations managers to develop and create messages that resonate with audiences.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, public relations specialists can look forward to an estimated 6% job growth rate from 2014-2024. PR specialists earned a median salary of $56,770 in 2015.

With a communications degree, it is possible to enter the publishing industry and work as a writer, editor or marketing professional. Some individuals with a degree in communications work in marketing for other industries, while others enter the field of public relations. The career options may involve reviewing texts and making corrections before publishing, promoting products through advertising, or managing the public profile of individuals or businesses.

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