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.
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 (2014-2024)*||14% decline||13% decline||8% decline||6% growth|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$30,080||$65,530||$36,360||$56,770|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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 14% between 2014 and 2024, 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 $30,080 in 2015.
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 a 13% decrease in demand over the 2014 to 2024 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 $65,530 in May 2015, 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 8% over the decade from 2014 to 2024. 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 $40,860 annually, and those working in radio and television broadcasting earned $51,430 in 2015.
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 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS. The BLS anticipates this field will add approximately 14,900 new jobs over the decade. These professionals earned a median salary of $56,770 as of May 2015, 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 2014 to 2024 time frame, with only a 2% increase 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 $59,860 annually in 2015; meanwhile, radio and television writers averaged $59,920; those working with independent artists, writers and performers averaged $85,650 in 2015.
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 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 10% from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS. The median salary in this field was $70,240 in 2015, based on the BLS' data.
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 5% decline in job opportunities for editors, which equates to a loss of 6,200 jobs, between 2014 and 2024. Editors who have the skills to work online may have the best shot at finding employment. Editors earned a median salary of $56,010, 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 29% over the 2014 to 2024 decade. The median salary for interpreters and translators was $44,190 in 2015, 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 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 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 2014 to 2024, jobs for editors, radio and television broadcasters, broadcast news analysts and news reporters and correspondents will decline. The best job prospects in the category of communication arts are for translators and interpreters, writers and authors, technical writers, and public relations specialists, who are projected to enjoy job growth of 29%, 2%, 10% and 6% respectively during this time period.