Students studying organizational communications learn various techniques in conflict management, professional speaking and debating. Bachelor's degree programs are usually in the field of communications with an organizational emphasis. Students may be required to complete an internship. Admission to these programs requires a high school diploma, minimum GPA, and ACT or SAT scores.
Master's degree programs are research-intensive and culminate in a thesis. Both graduate certificate and master's programs may include some online coursework as they are primarily designed for currently working professionals in the communications industry. For admission to either of these programs, students should have a bachelor's degree, some work experience, and GRE scores. Some online programs and coursework may be available.
Bachelor of Science in Communications
A four-year baccalaureate degree in communications, with an emphasis in organizational communications, prepares students to choose the most suitable method to present a desired message to both an organization's internal and external audiences. Key skills developed in these programs include the ability to relate to people of differing backgrounds, solve problems efficiently and think analytically. Interviewing, mediating and conflict management techniques are learned, in addition to required general education courses. Organizational communications curricula typically comprise an internship and the following core courses:
- Public speaking
- Research methods
- Group communication
- Training and development
Graduate Certificate in Organizational Communication
A certificate program in organizational communication prepares students to present ideas and information effectively, whether they're speaking in a business meeting, on a conference call with an international client or during a crisis situation. Graduate certificates are often pursued by working students, who may be communications professionals or other workers seeking to improve their skills. These programs may be offered on a flexible schedule, with the option to complete some coursework online. Courses found in graduate certificate programs provide a core understanding of the general issues and theories related to the field. Specific topics may include the following:
- Organizational communication assessment
- Ethical issues
- Professional speaking
- Communication in a crisis
- Negotiation and mediation
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Master of Science in Organizational Communications
Master's degree programs in organizational communications prepare graduates to analyze the role of information-sharing in organizational processes. Such programs are often offered in distance-learning formats to make them readily accessible for working professionals. These programs may offer concentrations in areas such as marketing, public relations, health communications and sociology. Both thesis and non-thesis varieties of the organizational communications master's program exist. Programs that require a capstone may allow students to choose between writing a thesis, conducting a research project or taking a comprehensive exam. The graduate curriculum includes some of the following course topics:
- Organizational theory
- Communication skills training
- Interpersonal communications
- Organizational culture
- Legal and ethical issues
- Research methods
Popular Career Options
Since every type of organization needs to communicate clearly with its customers, constituents and employees, graduates of bachelor's-level organizational communications programs may find themselves representing a wide variety of industries. Specific roles may include:
- Organizational development associate
- Marketing associate
- Community relations representative
- Corporate communications director
- Public information officer
Individuals holding a graduate certificate in organizational communications have similar job options as those with a bachelor's degree, though the certificate may provide more opportunities in management. Possible job titles include:
- Communications manager
- Training and development specialist
- Human resources manager
Career Outlook and Salary Information
Organizational communications is a growing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for human resources specialists are expected to grow at a rate of 5% between 2014 and 2024, while human resources managers are projected to see 9% growth. Jobs for public relations specialists were expected to grow by about 6% in the same time period.
As of May 2015, HR managers earn a median annual income of $104,440, while HR specialists bring in a median of $58,350 yearly. PR specialists earn in excess of $56,770, according to the BLS.
Undergraduate and graduate organizational communications programs are widely available through 4-year colleges and universities. Online coursework is often an option, and internships or research projects may be required. Graduates can seek employment in the public relations and human resources industries, among others.