Careers You Can Do with a Communications Degree (And What They Earn!)

Earning a Degree in communications means that you are focused on learning how to influence people through media. So what jobs are available for someone with a communications degree?

What are some careers you can go into with a communications degree? Communication degrees focus on relations between the media and its audience and often involve writing and editing. Top careers for a communications degree are editors, writers, public relations specialists, and market research analysts. Expect to earn $42,286 as a starting salary. 

When it comes down too it communication is all about the transfer of information. When we focus on transferring information there are three forms that this information gets transferred.

Educating, entertaining, and enlightening. Communication majors use their skills to best allow the media that they or their companies produce media that efficiently transfer the intended information.

Because of this all careers in communication will either have heavy involvement in written material or in verbal material. Either way the key skills of someone seeking a career with a communications degree are being articulate, persuasive, observant, and creative.

Careers For Communication Degrees

There is a wide selection of jobs that fall under the umbrella of the communications degree. These options are only increasing as in the current age of the internet there are more opportunities than ever to have media released. This increases the need to both write persuasively and release quality writing.

Editors

When it comes to writing quality you will need to look for an editor. There are several forms of editors, many of which specific to one type of media, so there is a large market for editors.

2017 Median Pay$58,770
Entry Level EducationBachelor’s Degree
Work Experience in Related FieldsLess than 5 years
On-the-Job TrainingNone
Number of Jobs, 2016127,400

For this table and more information on the statistics of editors check out the bureau of labor statistic article on the career. 

Editor Responsibilities

  • Read content for spelling, grammar, continuity, and punctuation errors.
  • Verify facts and citation within an article.
  • Work with writers to clarify and slim their writing.
  • Develop ideas within a publisher’s standards.
  • Rewrite text to make content easier to read.
  • Promote content on social media.
  • Approve final products produced by other staff members.

Whether we are talking about a YouTube channel, a blog, a textbook, or a novel. Everything that has either written or spoken text will benefit from an editor. Editors clean up the work so that the content creators can have more freedom and spontaneity in their creative process. Through this connection, the editor serves as a safety net for their content creators.

Additionally, editors can be more involved in the creative process by suggesting titles, offering content suggestions, and even adding their thoughts to the content provided by others. This allows for someone to exercise their creative input without causing to many hands to be on the content at the same time.

Various Types of Editors

Copy Editors

These are the most common type of editors. They read through a piece looking for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. These editors are the most common because they can appear in pretty much any field with any type of content.

Because of the rise of the internet, these editors are growing in value as no company wants to look like they don’t know how to write.

Publication Assistants

These editors are often found in publishing houses. Where the books that they are producing need to be throguhly proofread and evaluated. They often go much further indepth to each of the pieces of work that they look at.

These editors may need to compile information, reorganize the format of the piece, or find citations for articles. These editors work on larger projects rather than the fast-paced, larger quantity that copy editors face.

Assistant Editors

Assistant editors are usually subject specific editors for a large company of sorts. These may be newspaper assistant editors that are over one section of the newspaper, a magazine publisher, television broadcaster, or book publisher.

Regardless of the company an assistant editor works in one area and often has several other assistant editors fulfilling other responsibilities in the other areas of the publication.

Content Editors

Content editors are hired to specifically focus on what is being created. These editors are the most involved with their content creators. These editors are only available for larger companies or as freelancers as they are often expensive and work in niche fields.

The most common content editors are those that work on creative works such as pieces that appear in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or short story markets.

Executive Editors

These are more generalized assistant editors. They often work above the assistant editors and are concerned about the publication as a whole. Their responsibilities tend to involve those of a manager as well as an editor given their postion in the company.

They have final say on what gets put in a publication and have to bear the responsibiltiy of that position. They often are in charge of hiring outside and assigning inhouse talent to projects.

Managing editors

These editors are the furthest in the domain of managing and furthest from simple copy-editing. These editors are responsible for a whole department and will typically only be seen in large companies.

These editors are more leaders than editors but often come from an editing background which gives them an understanding of what the editors are doing can do and should be doing.

Editors are all about filtering the content that a publication is releasing. the extent to which an editor has influence on the content is derived from the editors position and relationship with the content creator. Editors have had increased demand do to the internet and the amount of content put out through online publications.

Editing is an excellent job for those that wish to have a hand in the creative work of others, but don’t want to create the content themselves. Practicing skills of proofreading, well-articulated criticism, and inter-party communication will be beneficial to your work as an editor.

Writers

In order to communicate you have to have something to say. That’s what writers are for they are textual content creators. Since the written word is the widest spread and frequently used form of media writers are also often in high demand.

The type of writing that a writer performs is often up to the publication that a writer works for but there are three general sections of writing that a writer’s work will fall into.

Educational: Educational or informative writing is all about teaching the audience something that they don’t know. The most common formats for this form of writing are textbooks, instruction manuals, and informative articles. While some of these articles require personality, the majority of this writing will fall into the category of technical writing with some hints of academic/persuasive writing in the mix.

Entertaining: Writing for entertainment is a very complicated market with several swings towards different styles dependant on the audience of the content. Most writers in this field find a form of content that they like to produce and either form a fanbase around their own work or write for communities that like work similar to their own. This form of writing is being used in more and more media as the market of media expands.

Enlightening: Enlightening writing is the least wrapped up in structure. These are self-help books, publications about diet strategies, and other material about personal growth. These live on the edge of the educational boundary and instead of focusing on teaching something to focus on opening the reader’s minds to other possibilities. It’s this strange mix of properties that allow for many media to fit the category of enlightening.

2017 Median Pay$61,820
Entry-Level EducationBachelor’s Degree
Work Experience in Related FieldsNone
On-the-Job TrainingLong Term Training
Number of Jobs, 2016131,200

For this table and more information on the statistics of writers check out the bureau of labor statistic article on the career. 

Writers are in a lot of ways the opposite of editors. While editors pick up, smooth off, and complete a piece of work it is the writer’s job to create the original rough copy. This can be rather difficult as it is the writer’s responsibility to create something from nothing. This is why having an editor is so instrumentally important.

While a writer has to spend all their time creating something new they don’t have time to worry about things like grammar, punctuation, spelling, and continuity. The result is this sort of yin and yang relationship between the writer and editor.

Writers are chaotic as they create, forming things that sometimes just don’t make sense. Editors are orderly and structured. Without one, the content is just not the same.

Now it is not always necessary to have an editor but if you as a writer don’t have an editor than you will have to edit yourself. Sometimes this can be difficult since you as the writer know what you are trying to say and as such may have a biased opinion about what you are trying to communicate in your writing.

Writer Responsibilities

  • Find an interesting subject and generate content on that subject.
  • Conduct research to keep their content accurate and applicable.
  • Work with editors and clients to provide the expected material.
  • Present drafts to editors and publisher for criticism.
  • Write fiction and nonfiction for various media.
  • Write advertisements that attract a reader’s attention.
  • Gain their audience’s attention.

Writing of all kinda are competeing for the resource of the audience’s attention. Or in other words, their audience’s time. This can be really complicated as one of the things that a person can be doing with their time is generating their own money. As such you need to find a way to be more inticing then the potential to generate money.

Now we all know that we need a break from working but when a writer is looking at thier competition their direct competition may be other media, but their indirect competition is anything that will take up their audiences time. Which includes things like work, family responsibilities, and personal health responsibilities.

While you don’t want to distract someone completely from their responsibilities, you can factor what they want to do with their time into what you create. For instance, if you were to create a family-friendly story, then family time can be spent with your stories, movies, etc. The goal of any form of media producer is to have reliable fans that will tell other people about your stories.

You can’t make a living by selling your [content]. You make a living by other people selling it.

Michaelbrent Collins

Various Types of Writers

Copywriters

Copywriters work closely with a company to produce material for them that promotes the products and services that the company provides. In this much of a copywriter’s job is working on advertising by making themes, jingles, and slogans.

Copywriters are able to use creative writing through their promotions. There writing is often heavily constrained to meet the company’s needs and avoid any legal issues in publication.

Content Writers

Content writers are those that are able to expand on the content of almost any field. They have no constraining bounds on their writing, as such whenever some writing needs to be filled in a content writer will be used.

The downside to a content writer is that while the can add material of any kind they don’t have the specialization that other writers might have. Content writers are rarely used in areas where a regular subject is written.

Biographers

Biographers have a lot of research that they have to do to fulfill their jobs. This mainly appears through the collecting of interviews and research about the subjects of their content. This form of right falls somewhere between the informative and enlightening fields of writing as the biographies are chalked full of information that is both educational and can often lead to the subject’s ideology and therefore philosophy.

Bloggers

Write content online. Some bloggers write about one specific field and continue to write about that one niche topic. Other bloggers write about several subjects and pitch their ideas to blogs that fit their subject’s venue.

The core element of blogging is that the publication is online. This generally means that there are fewer restrictions, as there are less rigid rules for publication that don’t seek to have physical form.

Novelists

Write fictional or nonfictional stories that focus on characters, plot, and setting. These writers are the most creatively focused but are faced with the challenge of existing in a market where anyone can do what they can do.

As a result, the competition is huge causing the challenge of the career to be one of gaining attention from a reliable fan base.

Playwrights

Similar to the novelist a playwright stretches their creative intellect by creating concepts for stories that will be performed on the stage. This means that the content written will often be stage lines for actors will say, priducing stage directions, and providing set design concepts. Overall, this is a very niche writing field that has a high skill floor to enter in to.

Screenwriters

Writers for television and movie scripts. They create original stories, characters, and dialogue. In particular, in America, this market is dominated by California in cities like Los Angeles and Hollywood.

It’s a very difficult market to enter in to but given that California makes more money than all but 5 countries in the world. It’s profitable for those who are successful.

Speechwriters

For politicians or business owners, they don’t write their own speeches they hire people to do that. As such, a speechwriter needs to gather information from analysts and others that are watching the company so that they can address what needs to be addressed. They use mainly persuasive writing with some informative elements. Though the best of speeches can be inspiring despite their content.

Writing is all about creating. You need to sit down and create if you are not doing that then you need to learn how to do that. Writers are often best to

Public Relations Specialists

These individual are focused on making their companies look good. They do this by conducting social media campaigns and other media releases that show the world all the good things their company has planned for the world and what they plan on providing to the world.

2017 Median Pay$59,300
Entry-Level EducationBachelor’s Degree
Work Experience in Related FieldsNone
On-the-Job TrainingNone
Number of Jobs, 2016259,600

For this table and more information on the statistics of Public Relations Specialists check out the bureau of labor statistic article on the career. 

The role of a PR specialist is to control and maintain the communication between a company and the public. In this manner, they have a large number of roles that they can fulfill at different times.

They may need to step in to fix a mistake that happened, to right a wrong that their company created, or they may simply need to share the intents of their company.

Sometimes this means creating an article or media statement about the company they represent to spread the word about their endeavors. Sometimes this can lead to the creation of a new article about what your company plans on doing.

In the modern era of the internet, there are more and more of these publications that are being released through the internet. While this has sped up the rate at which these press releases can be sent, it can be detrimental as some ill-thought-out press releases can have negative consequences for the company.

Public Relation Specialist Responsibilities

  • Create press releases.
  • Respond to questions from the media.
  • Help to communicate on behalf of your client.
  • Save face for a company.
  • Evaluate the success of previous marketing and advertising endeavors.
  • Arrange interviews with corporate leaders.

Public Relations can be a tricky field to work in because you always have to consider the implications of what you are sending out to the world. Not only that but you need to predict how you think the world is going to react to the message that you send out.

In this manner, a large part of a public relation specialists job may be analyzing the effects of certain media outputs to find what the audience of the product likes.

You’ll need to further prepare yourself for the possible lash back from either the community or the company you work for when something negative comes up. Because of this being able to take criticism and adapt to situations are highly desired skills in this field.

Rely on your background as a communications major as the study that you put into how to effectively communicate, as well as understanding that people don’t always say everything that they mean will be a large part of your daily activities.

Various Types of Public Relation Specialists

Publicist

Publicists work either in a company team or work for an agency that provides this PR service to several other companies. Regardless of how the publicist is stationed, they work to promote the brand strategy of the company.

They cover the effects of pretty much everything that their client’s logo appears on. This includes publicity campaigns, press conferences, and celebrity interviews.

Copywriter

Copywriters as mentioned above, put in the work to write and market the material of their clients. From a simply blog post to full press conferences copywriters can be involved in many different processes.

These individuals often need to work together to form and maintain the voice of the bran as times and audiences change. This can often appear through the creation of a style guide to keep current and future employees on the same page.

Social Media Manager

Once again the internet is a beast that is fueling a large part of the economy right now. Being a platform ultimately about communications it is no surprise that PR specialists fit well into the folds of its use.

These individuals are people that understand the trends and hidden avenues that are the subconscious of the internet and use the media to stimulate the internet and garner as much of a positive result as possible.

In short, they want to catch the eye of as many people as possible so that they have successfully marketed their product and can get out of there campaigns to as many people as possible.

Spokesperson

These are individuals that represent the company with their statements and actions. These figureheads serve to have a very apparent and direct voice for a company. you’ll need to be very punctual and precise in your speech so that the things that you say aren’t misconstrued to represent your company.

TV appearance and interviews are very common for these individuals as they serve as the easiest and most constant form of communication between the public and the company.

Market Research Analysts

Finally, market research analysts study the trends of the market to best illuminate which advertising, promotional, or marketing strategies are showing the most signs of success. This research is then sent to other companies or other professions like the PR specialist to use in their marketing/advertising plans.

2017 Median Pay
$63,230
Entry-Level EducationBachelor’s Degree
Related Work ExperienceNone
On-the-Job TrainingNone
Number of Jobs 2016131,200

For this table and more information on the statistics of Market Research Analysts check out the bureau of labor statistic article on the career. 

The core functions of a market research analyst are simply finding trends in the market and evidence proving those trends and then providing that information to parties that would be interested in using that information.

This research can be about the market itself or about one company and the success of it. Often they are used to compare competitors by analyzing the sales, prices, and marketing methods of others.

You’ll need a knack for numbers and the ability to find patterns in the swarm of numbers that exists out to analyze. Many marketing analysts end up working for one specific company but there are many others that work as freelance entities and sell the findings to companies who they think will be interested.

Market Research Analyst Responsibilities

  • Monitor sales trends in the market.
  • Collect data through surveys and questionnaires.
  • Condense this data into easily understandable information.
  • Measure how effective certain strategies have been in the market.

Market Research Analyst Top Skills

Market Research analyst can be very technical as a result the term is used as a catch all for those that study the market and does have as strongly defined sub categories as the other careers on the list do. So instead of the careers that fall under this category I will highlight key skills necessary of market research analysts.

Analytical Skills: First and foremost you can’t do this job if you are going to struggle understanding the numbers yourself. As such, you will need a firm understanding of what all the data you are gathering actually means.

Communication Skills: Here is where your communication degree comes in hand you serve as the middle man between a terrifying wall of numbers and the normal person. You need to make that wall of numbers make sense to the normal, non-analyst, person.

Critical Thinking Skills: When it comes down to it sometimes you aren’t going to see these patterns unless you think outside of the box. That way you’ll be able to find patterns that others might have glossed over.

With all of these awesome career ideas for communications majors, the world is their oyster. After all, communicating effectively is one of the biggest game-changers companies can ask for.

Related Questions

How popular is a communications major? An estimated 6% of college students go into communications or closely related degrees. This covers a very broad ground in the workforce, from media influencers to public speakers to authors, editors, public relations specialists, and more.

How long does it take to get a communications degree? A communication degree requires a B.A, so it takes four years to complete on average and is offered by most colleges both online and in-person throughout the nation.