Communications Leadership Education and Career Information

Oct 11, 2019

Communications leadership is generally a graduate degree program that prepares students to facilitate communication, as well as function as high-level communicators. Continue reading for an overview of communication leadership programs and career options.

Communication and leadership go hand in hand, so it's no wonder that schools are offering graduate programs that focus on the relationship between the two skills. These programs can train people to be effective in a variety of career paths, such as public relations specialists, marketing managers, and postsecondary teachers.

Essential Information

The majority of communications leadership programs are offered at the graduate level. Principles of communications leadership hold that good communication is at the base of effective leadership. Programs aim to teach students how to find solutions to modern communication problems in organizations and social systems. Students also gain the skills necessary to effectively communicate in the 21st century. Common coursework in these programs addresses leadership, organizational communication, human communication, and communication research.

Career Public Relations Specialist Marketing Managers Postsecondary Communications Teacher
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Doctoral degree, master's degree acceptable for some positions
Job Growth* (2018-2028) 6% 8% 5%
Median Salary* (2018) $60,000 $134,290 $68,910

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Communications leadership emphasizes the need for quality in the exchange of information between individuals and organizations. As newer and more technologically focused forms of communication emerge, professionals likely will need to be well-versed in communication techniques to stay current and effective. Those who have studied communications leadership can work in a variety of professions where ideas and views need to be communicated effectively. Most often, communications leadership skills are employed in the business world or politics. Other popular employers include the military, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Areas of employment for communication leadership graduates include public relations, marketing, and postsecondary communications education. Keep reading for more information on these three careers.

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists work with their clients to effectively communicate with their target audiences. Public relations specialists reach these target audiences using various forms of media. These specialists may work to advertise services, promote programs, or enhance a client's corporate image. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while a bachelor's degree in public relations or a comparable area is the minimum requirements for an entry-level position, a graduate degree and certification through the Public Relations Society of America Candidates can enhance a public relations specialist's career opportunities.

The BLS projected that employment for public relations specialists would grow 6% over the 2018-2028 decade. Public relations specialists made a median annual salary of $60,000 in 2018, according to the BLS.

Marketing Managers

Marketing managers analyze the demand for products and the potential for profits. They work to identify potential markets for a company's product and to keep customers happy. To complete all of these tasks, marketing managers generally work with a company's product developers, public relations specialists, and sales staff, according to the BLS. Typically, a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for an entry-level position in marketing, and a graduate degree can increase a marketing manager's job opportunities.

The BLS predicted that the employment of marketing managers would grow 8% from 2018-2028, and the median annual salary for this career was $134,290 in 2018.

Postsecondary Communications Teacher

Postsecondary communication teachers may work in a variety of post-high school educational settings, such as junior colleges, vocational schools, and universities. Apart from instruction, postsecondary communication teachers may also be required to publish scholarly works, advise students, conduct academic research, and serve on committees, according to the BLS. Generally, postsecondary communications teachers must have at minimum a master's degree in communications leadership or a comparable field.

The BLS projected that employment for postsecondary communications teachers would increase by 5% during the 2018-2028 decade. The BLS also reported that these teachers earned a median annual salary of $68,910 in 2018.

Although all three careers featured in this article can expect strong job growth over the next decade, there is still aggressive competition for jobs. Obtaining useful credentials, such as a graduate degree in communication leadership, can help a job seeker stand out in the sea of applicants.

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