Online Associate of Arts in Communication Studies degree programs are rare, but are available fully online. This 2-year undergraduate degree program provides students with basic theoretical and historical views of communication. While some graduates can enter the work force upon completion of this degree program, many move on to a bachelor's degree program. Other majors with similar courses may include mass communication and media studies.
Due to its online format, participants become accustomed to public speaking and one-on-one communication through video streaming and other creative means of bridging the distance-learning gap. This may require a slightly more enhanced awareness of technology than other online degree programs, to be able to record and stream videos. In addition to core courses, an associate's degree comprises general education units and electives. Students may be required to take timed, proctored tests on campus.
Associate of Arts in Communication Studies
Individuals seeking to earn an Associate of Arts in Communication Studies online have a few schools from which to choose. Online bachelor's degree programs are more widely available. An associate's degree program prepares individuals to communicate effectively in small groups. Students submit projects in written, oral and visual formats, often through multimedia presentations. Those interested in this degree program may also be interested in studying the related fields of mass communication and media studies.
Program and Training Information
Students attend an electronic classroom by logging onto a computer when their schedules allow. Assignments and exams are typically completed online within a predetermined time frame. Some professors require students to find an approved proctor to issue in-person, timed exams. Internet access is needed to complete online class work, participate in discussions and submit exams. An e-mail address is also necessary, but may be assigned through the school.
Communication Studies Courses
An Associate of Arts curriculum incorporates the theoretical aspects of communication studies with its practical applications. Areas of focus include gender and cultural issues, media influences and interpersonal communication.
Enrollees learn to prepare and deliver speeches, understand different audiences and recognize diversity in communication. They may be expected to upload video clips of their speeches to the online classroom.
Communication topics are analyzed through a lens of ethics. Discussion topics may include violence, privacy, freedom of speech, sexual representations and objectivity.
Course curriculum addresses diversity-sensitive communication. Cultural differences in the communication process are analyzed such as message delivery, values and norms.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
An associate's degree in communication studies may lead to numerous career options, including positions in public relations, marketing, mass media and business management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, media and communication workers in a variety of fields earned a median annual wage of $45,220 as of May 2015. However, career options and earning potential are likely to be best for those with advanced education and training; those with a 2-year degree are more likely to earn wages from the lower end of the spectrum, $23,910 per year (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Graduates may consider enrolling in an online bachelor's degree program in communication studies, journalism or mass communication. Online programs in these fields are also available at the graduate level.
An Associate of Art in Communication Studies is rare, but available in online formats to train students in communication ethics, public speaking and cultural issues. Most graduates will enroll in a bachelor's program, but could find work as entry-level media and communication workers.