Students who have an interest in speech communications can opt for a bachelor's degree or master's degree.
Bachelor's programs in this field of study typically take four years and require a solid background in English, as preparing and giving multiple oral speeches is a large part of the curriculum. For these programs, students must have a high school diploma and submit SAT or ACT scores.
Master's degree programs are generally two years and require extensive research projects with study in advanced communication theory and delivery, including a thesis project. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in speech communications or a similar field, and they must submit GRE scores, prior transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Some graduate-level coursework may be available online.
Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication
Bachelor's degree programs in speech communications cover the basics of interpersonal communication, argumentation and persuasion, organizational communication, and intercultural communication. While much coursework within these degree programs is covered through lectures and individual study, students must also spend a great deal of time preparing, researching, and delivering oral speeches. They must learn the techniques of speech, methods to use in various types of communication, as well as various aspects of communication theory. Some of the specific courses that might be included in a speech communications degree program are:
- Public speaking
- Quantitative research methods
- Family communication
- Intercultural communication
- Nonverbal communication
- Organizational communication
Master of Arts in Speech Communication
These programs augment students' education and prepare them for advanced career opportunities. Master's degree programs in speech communication generally require the completion of a 50-80 page thesis project. Students are encouraged to work with faculty advisors to choose a subject in the speech and communication fields on which to focus their research. Some of the advanced coursework featured in a speech communication master's degree program include:
- Issues in speech communications
- Teaching speech communications
- Research methods in speech communications
- Theories of mass communication
- Mass media and culture
- Gender and communication
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a bachelor's degree in speech communication are prepared for careers in a wide variety of fields by providing them with the skills and confidence necessary to speak to groups of people on issues related to business, politics, media and entertainment. Some of the more popular choices include:
- Director of corporate communications
- Media relations director
- Foreign relations officer
Candidates with a master's degree can obtain the same positions as bachelor's degree graduates, but are also eligible for advanced positions and leadership roles. Some examples include:
- Speech communications teacher
- Chief negotiator
- Labor relations specialist
- Vice-president of corporate relations
- Advertising director
- Broadcaster director
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The job growth for a public relations specialist, a popular career choice in this field, is expected to be as fast as the average, with a 6% increase in jobs from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Public relations specialists brought in a median annual income of $56,770, as of May 2015. Public relations and fundraising managers earned a median income of $104,140 yearly in 2015, according to the BLS. Growth for managers is expected to be about as fast as the average for all other occupations, with a 7% increase in jobs from 2014 to 2024.
If you have an interest in the field of speech communications, you have the option of a 4-year bachelor's or a 2-year master's degree program. These programs prepare graduates for careers in numerous fields with adequate salaries.