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Media and Communication Careers: Job Options and Requirements

Media and communication careers generally require a bachelor's degree. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Media and communications careers include newspaper reporters, public relations specialists, and advertising sales agents. Newspaper reporters and public relations specialists are required to have a bachelor's degree. It may be possible for advertising sales agents to begin a career without postsecondary training, but most employers prefer applicants with a degree in communications or marketing.

Essential Information

There's a broad array of job opportunities available in media and communications, but all share a common goal: disseminating information to the public. While job duties vary, all media professionals must be excellent with the spoken and written word. Most media positions require at least a bachelor's degree.

Career Newspaper Reporter Public Relations Specialist Advertising Sales Agents
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree High school diploma; Some employers may expect a postsecondary degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -8% for reporters and correspondents 6% -3%
Median Salary (2015)* $36,360 for reporters and correspondents $56,770 $48,490

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Mass Communication Studies
  • Speech Communications and Rhetoric

Career Options

Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in media and communications may choose to continue their education in a master's degree program to advance their careers. However, many career options are available to graduates of a bachelor's program, too. Read on for the education and job requirements of three top career titles in this field.

Newspaper Reporter

Newspaper reporters gather information and write articles that are published in print and posted online. They acquire information by observation, interviews and research, determining what is important to include in the article. Reporters must possess excellent writing skills and produce articles quickly on a deadline.

Educational Requirements

Newspaper reporters generally hold bachelor's degrees in journalism or mass communications, but some have degrees in other fields, such as political science or economics. Experience on a college newspaper may be helpful.

Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that employment for news reporters would decline by 8% from 2014 through 2024 due to changes in the industry (www.bls.gov). The BLS showed the median salary for news reporters was $36,360 as of May 2015.

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists are employed by an organization to share information with the public. They may work for a business, government, nonprofit group or public relations agency that handles media relations for a number of clients. Public relations specialists write press releases, arrange media coverage and may represent the client at public events.

Educational Requirements

A college degree is essential for a public relations specialist, according to the Public Relations Society of America. Most colleges include public relations in the journalism program. Coursework in marketing, advertising and writing is advised. Internships may also help students prepare for employment.

Career Information

The BLS predicted that employment for public relations specialists would grow by 6% in the decade rom 2014 to 2024. According to the same source, the median salary for public relations specialists was $56,770 as of May 2015.

Advertising Account Executive

Advertising account executives, also called advertising sales agents, sell advertising time or space in newspapers, magazines, radio or television. They visit potential customers to present proposals, and then work as liaisons between the client and the media company to produce the advertisement. Account executives generally have a great deal of freedom in their work, but also must meet sales quotas and may work long, irregular hours.

Educational Requirements

Larger media companies prefer to hire account executives that hold a bachelor's degree. College marketing or communications degree programs can include coursework in advertising. Smaller employers may consider an experienced salesperson with a high school diploma or its equivalent. Once hired, the advertising account executive faces extensive on-the-job training to learn the company's procedures and policies.

Career Information

Employment for advertising sales agents is expected to decline by three percent from 2014 to 2024, the BLS estimated. The source said the media industry is growing, but many new opportunities will be found in digital advertising. The median yearly wage for an advertising sales agent was $48,490 as of May 2015.

The focus of media and communications careers is to share information with the public. While reporters are supposed to investigate and provide facts related to stories of public interest, advertising sales agents attempt to use information that will influence consumers to buy the product they're advertising. Public relations specialists work to develop and maintain the desired public image of their client by determining what information to put in press releases.

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