Masters in Communications: Career Paths
| 6 Min Read
Communications is one of the most flexible degrees available today. Skills and understanding of how to communicate information effectively to a wide and diverse range of audiences is a skill that transcends industry. Virtually every business, politician and organization can benefit from better communication, and the range of career paths available to people with degrees in the field reflects this. Still, many may ask: What can I do with a communications degree?
Queens University of Charlotte offers an Online Master of Arts in Communication which prepares graduates for careers in communications that encompass marketing, management, non-profits, writing and more.
People with Communications MAs may become journalists, announcers, reporters, radio producers and media critics. Research, writing and relationship building are key skills in any of these positions, and an MA in Communications will equip you with a unique toolkit to succeed in the field.
In particular, written communication requires particular and finely honed skills, especially considering the ways written information has changed in recent years. Online forms of communication are drastically different than those once found in newspapers and magazines. Typically, they are more informal and less structured. In addition, there is high demand for online writers, which means those equipped with an advanced academic background in this type of communication have plenty of opportunity to thrive.
The salary for communication students looking to become writers (including written-word journalists) varies depending on background education and experience, as well as budget of individual clients. A professional writer with a master’s degree in communication can expect a yearly income between $30,000 and $78,000.1
Additionally, writers have an incredibly flexible career path. For example, after working freelance, a writer could attain full-time employment at a company as an editor and proceed up the ranks through various copywriting and editing positions until reaching a communication manager position, which nets an even higher salary.
While writers and journalists must research diligently and explain information clearly, editors must understand what their audience wants and how their audience perceives information. Editors must be proficient in communicating and leading others to communicate through a wide variety of media, including print, photography, radio, and video.
Responsible for guiding the voice and direction of a publication, in print or online, editors must also motivate writers to complete assignments on tight deadlines. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, editors make an average salary of $61,370.2
PR and Marketing
Communications experts are uniquely qualified for a range of PR and marketing jobs. They can be marketing managers with an average salary of $77,000, or they can work in advertising or marketing research.1 People working in these fields may also choose to be consultants.
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Public Relations Manager
Similar to communication specialists, public relations (PR) managers are responsible for a company’s messages, but PR managers typically only oversee communications that reach the outside world. Their goal is to develop and maintain a positive image for their company.
Usually, PR managers must regularly interface with the community, the media, and investors in order to understand exactly what their audience wants and needs. PR managers can help develop marketing strategies and craft press releases and other vital communications.
PR managers often find a high level of satisfaction at work, as they are able to regularly exercise their research and problem-solving abilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for a PR specialist is $61,150 per year, but experienced managers can make as much as $94,480 per year.3
Businesses of all sizes need communications experts to oversee their communications. Communications specialists manage internal communications within a company, and communications directors oversee how companies communicate with the public. People in these fields can earn an average of $60,000 per year or more.
Communications experts can also enter more general business management, human resources, or training specialists. It’s a strong degree for anyone interested in organizational communication careers.
Clear and constant communication is crucial for the survival of any enterprise, which is why communication specialists can find work around the country throughout business and industry. A communication specialist oversees a company’s messages, both internal and external, ensuring that the company maintains a consistent, cohesive image for its entire audience; both employees and clients.
Every correspondence, from job descriptions to memos to social media posts, must first pass over the desk of a communication specialist, who will fine-tune the message as necessary. Additionally, specialists are often tasked with writing a majority of communication from scratch.
Organizational communication careers can be taxing and may require a steep learning curve, but communication specialists can be paid handsomely for their efforts. Graduates can expect between $37,000 and $47,000 in starting-level positions, while experienced employees (usually with master’s degrees in communication) may earn between $50,000 and $76,000 every year.4 Plus, communication specialists often have high visibility within organizations that positions them for promotions that could lead them into marketing leadership, communication leadership, or C-level executive leadership.
Non-profits need many of the same people as businesses, optimizing both their internal and external communications. More specifically, these organizations often rely on communications specialists to organize effective fundraising and communicate with governments and businesses.
An executive position can be especially desirable for an individual with an advanced degree in communication. Executives can have a profound impact on the way a company communicates and functions. However, to reach this position, employees must be adept at a number of skills, the most critical of which is communication. Communication positions that require an advanced degree, therefore, are prime pools for future executives and chiefs of staff.
Executive directors can earn substantial salaries that include enhanced benefits, bonuses, commissions, or profit-sharing opportunities.
Entering Careers in Communications
A MA in Communications prepares students for a wide variety of roles in virtually any field. It can be a path to jobs a student is personally interested in, or a high paying position in a major corporation. Graduates can work either as consultants and freelancers or as employees, depending on their own preference.
Queens University of Charlotte offers an Online MA in Communication, allowing students to prepare for a new career or advance their current career while balancing family and financial responsibilities.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Editors, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/editors.htm (visited November 11, 2020).
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Public Relations Specialists, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm (visited November 11, 2020).
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