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What You Can Do With Communication Arts Training: Career Options

Oct 05, 2019

The communication arts describes a range of industries and professions, including television roles, writing for print, news reporting, and language translation. Continue reading for an overview of the degree programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Communication arts training is a foundation for many career options. Professionals in this field can work as radio and television announcers and communicate with the public through radio or television, while news reporters and correspondents may also appear on radio or television or write information for the public that's published in magazines or newspapers. Other careers in this category include editors, public relations specialists and interpreters.

Essential Information

The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC) recognizes more than 100 communications and journalism programs in the United States. Communication arts is an umbrella term pointing to a diversity of careers, each with its own unique requirements. Most jobs in the communication arts field require a bachelor's degree.

Career Radio & Television Announcers Broadcast News Analyst News Reporters and Correspondents Public Relations Specialist
Education High school diploma; bachelor's degree recommended Bachelor's degree Bachelor's Degree Bachelor's Degree
Projected Job Outlook (2018-2028)* 7% decline 1% growth 12% decline 6% growth
Median Salary (2018)* $33,220 $66,880 $41,260 $60,000

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

The diversity of careers in the field of communication arts is summarized below by seven different professions, though this is by no means an exhaustive list. The below mentioned careers are connected by the requirement of a bachelor's degree (typically communications), as well as the ability to communicate orally and written across various platforms.

Radio and Television Announcers

Announcers read from scripts or ad-lib on radio and television programs. They present the news, sports, weather, time and commercial announcements and may conduct on-air interviews or host discussions. Announcers who read from scripts may also research and write those scripts. Announcers at smaller stations often have a number of other off-air duties, such as operating the control board and monitoring the transmission. Radio and TV announcers may also make publicity appearances at public events.

Employment opportunities for radio and television announcers are expected to decline at a rate of 7% between 2018 and 2028, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports the median salary for announcers in radio and television was $33,220 in 2018.

A bachelor's degree is typically required for entry-level positions in television and radio; degree programs in communications or broadcasting are excellent choices.

Broadcast News Analysts

News analysts are also called newscasters or news anchors. They interpret news based on their research, experience and observation. They present the news in TV or radio broadcasts and introduce live or videotaped reports from correspondents. They may receive story assignments from editors.

Broadcast news analysts should see 1% growth over the 2018 to 2028 decade due to a decline in expected news subscriptions, and the advent of online news media sources. News organizations prefer to hire journalists who can give additional insight into the subjects and events being reported on, according to the BLS. Individuals in this profession earned a median salary for $66,880 in May 2018, based on figures from the BLS.

The majority of successful candidates for employment possess a bachelor's degree in communications or journalism; a related area such as a political science with relevant experience is also typically considered.

News Reporters and Correspondents

Reporters investigate leads and tips on topics that may be newsworthy. They make observations and conduct interviews, then take notes and may also take photos or make videotapes. With this material, they write the stories they will present to a newspaper, magazine, radio or TV program or news-gathering service. Reporters and correspondents are responsible for editing their content for spelling, grammar, facts and other errors.

News correspondents broadcast live stories or make videotaped segments. Reporters and correspondents who interpret the news and give their opinion are called commentators.

Reporters and correspondents may specialize in an area of news, such as sports, religion, politics, medicine, science and technology, foreign affairs, business or weather. Weather reporters gather their data from satellite and wire services. Meteorologists, who prepare their own weather reports, must be trained as weather scientists as well as in communication arts.

The BLS projects opportunities for reporters and correspondents will decrease by 12% over the decade from 2018 to 2028. The decline can be attributed to consolidations and decreases in readership and viewership for print and broadcast news organizations. The BLS shows reporters and correspondents working for print publications were paid an average salary of $46,550 annually, and those working in radio and television broadcasting earned $64,820 in 2018.

A bachelor's degree in communications or journalism is best suited for this profession; similarly to broadcast news analysts, however, a degree in a related field with work experience is a viable option.

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations (PR) specialists help their clients maintain positive relationships with the public. They solicit the attitudes and concerns of the public and find ways to address them. They use press releases, radio and television reports, newspaper stories, magazine articles and Internet campaigns to get out the client's message. In government, PR specialists are referred to press secretaries.

PR specialists plan, research and write publicity materials. They respond to requests from the media. They may also act as spokespeople or designate another spokesperson for a client. They coach people who serve as representatives for their clients in public presentation. They may also arrange public appearances, contests, exhibits or other events to promote the client's message. They consult with advertising agents in preparing written, social networking, video and other communications.

The job outlook for public relations specialists is favorable, with a 6% growth rate expected between 2018 and 2028, according to the BLS. The BLS anticipates this field will add approximately 17,300 new jobs over the decade. These professionals earned a median salary of $60,000 as of May 2018, based on the BLS' figures.

A bachelor's degree in public relations, or a related field such as English or business not only provides the requisite degree, but allows an individual to build a portfolio for interviewers.

Writers and Authors

Writers and authors may produce content for books, magazines, trade journals, general interest magazines, Internet publications, newsletters, advertisements, songs and TV, theater and movie programs. Writers of books may produce fictional novels or textbooks, biographies and other forms of nonfiction. Writers often conduct extensive research to produce their writing. They may either work for a specific publisher or on a freelance basis.

Overall demand for writers and authors is expected to be low during the 2018 to 2028 time frame, with 0% growth in opportunities during those years, as indicated by data from the BLS. Opportunities will be particularly low in print media. The BLS shows writers for newspapers, periodicals and books earned an average of $59,290 annually in 2018; meanwhile, writers working in advertising, public relations, and related services averaged $75,880; those working with independent artists, writers and performers averaged $104,450 in 2018.

Most writing positions require a bachelor's degree in a field that trains students for effective communication and writing skills, such as English or journalism.

Technical Writers

Technical writers put technical documents into language that can be easily understood. These documents may include instructions or how-to manuals for consumer products, documentation for computer programs and customer satisfaction assessments. They often work in engineering, scientific and medical fields. They confirm specifications, revise their writings and oversee publication.

To correspond with advancements in technology, the need for technical writers should expand by 8% from 2018 to 2028, according to the BLS. The median salary in this field was $71,850 in 2018, based on the BLS' data.

Editors

Editors revise the work of writers. They may also provide original writing; many editors start out as writers themselves. They plan the content of newspapers, magazines, Internet publications and radio and TV programs. Editors use reference books to check facts. They develop story ideas and oversee production. In the book publishing industry, editors monitor book proposals and decide which books will be published.

The BLS reports there will be a 3% decline in job opportunities for editors, which equates to a loss of 3,400 jobs, between 2018 and 2028. Editors who have the skills to work online may have the best shot at finding employment. Editors earned a median salary of $59,480, as shown by the BLS' figures.

A bachelor's degree in a specialization of editing- such as fashion- is attractive to employers in this field if accompanied by excellent writing skills and experience. English, communications, and journalism degrees are typically preferred, however.

Interpreters and Translators

Translators must be fluent in at least two languages. They relay concepts and ideas as well as words between the speakers of different languages. Interpreters work with spoken languages and, in some cases, sign language, while translators work with the written word.

For those trained in communication arts, some of the greatest growth potential is expected in the field of interpreting and translating. Data from the BLS shows demand for these professionals will increase by 19% over the 2018 to 2028 decade. The median salary for interpreters and translators was $49,930 in 2018, according to the BLS.

The most important skill for employment is an extraordinary grasp of the languages in question. A bachelor's degree in an area of specialization would enhance career options in that particular field. Additionally, many employers require a bachelor's degree, though it less important that the degree be in a foreign language.

Interpreters

Interpreters must be sensitive to confidentiality concerns. Interpreters and translators may use dictionaries, lexicons or other sources to help ensure the accuracy of their translations.

Interpreters may work in judiciary or medical contexts or international conferences. They may work for the deaf. A large number also work for U.S. State Department, which employs interpreters in more than 40 languages.

Literary Translators

Literary translators translate books, plays, short stories and other documents from one language into another. When possible, they work closely with the author. Literary translators need to be highly creative.

From 2018 to 2028, jobs for editors, broadcast news analysts, news reporters and correspondents, and writers and authors will remain the same or decline. The best job prospects in the category of communication arts are for translators and interpreters, technical writers, public relations specialists, and radio and television broadcasters who are projected to enjoy job growth of 19%, 8%, 6% and 1% respectively during this time period.

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