“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
— Lee Iacocca
Communication is all around us. You’re participating in the messaging of PremiumSchools right now. Billboards and politics, educational material at the doctor, religious services, they’re all communication. And in many instances being able to communicate effectively is important enough to need to bring in a designated professional.
Communications professionals are natural problem solvers with a wide range of skill sets. There’s a big difference between hosting a press conference and fine-tuning product landing page copy. But one thing many communications professionals have in common is a solid education in communication techniques and principles.
Table of Contents
- What is a Communications Degree?
- What is Strategic Communications?
- Is Communications a Good Major for Digital Media?
The 20 Most Lucrative Communications Careers
- Communications Director
- Content Manager
- Art Director
- Brand Manager
- Technical Writer
- Inbound Marketing Manager
- Strategic Communications Manager
- Writers and Authors
- Public Relations Specialists
- Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators
- Media Planners
- Advertising Manager
- Interpreters and Translators
- Meeting Convention and Event Planner
- Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians
- Promotions Coordinator
- Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts
In this guide we’ll look at a variety of questions as well as the most lucrative communications jobs and degrees. Specifically we’ll look at the following questions:
What is a Communications Degree?
Communicating is as vital to organizations as it is to individuals. Businesses need to influence consumers, politicians need to win over voters, nonprofits need to share their missions, and media outlets need to spread their stories. Organizations and people need to communicate with one another, with regulators, with investors, and with the public.
Today, communication takes place over all sorts of channels, from official company statements to grass-roots social media campaigns. Messaging can make or break a movement or organization, and it’s simply too important to be trusted to someone without special skills. A communications major teaches the special skills needed to create and manage messaging for an individual or entity.
The academic discipline of communications can be defined as the study of the conventions, social structures, and signs used to convey meaning between two or more parties. On the theoretical side, scholars seek to understand how human values, cultures and institutions shape communication. On the applied side, the field of communications facilitates information exchanges between individuals and institutions, from conflict mediation to mass media.
Communications is an interdisciplinary field that blends theory and application, drawing on subjects like:
- public policy
Being articulate, persuasive, and engaging is essential for excelling in the field of communication. Creative problem solving, social skills, and strategic thinking are all required as well. These fundamental skills can be developed through a communications degree program. A communications degree is most commonly offered at the bachelor’s level, sometimes as part of a degree in public relations or media studies.
Students in a communications program can expect to learn about oral and written communication, internal group dynamics, social media, and mass communication. They will also develop their communication skills by creating their own communication strategies, arguments, and campaigns in classes and field-based studies. Since the field of communications is so broad, with applications in virtually every sector of society and format, many communications degree programs offer specializations, such as:
- public relations
- social media strategy
- visual communication
What is Strategic Communications?
Creating and delivering a message that attracts, inspires, or convinces its target audience is the goal of communications. Strategic communications involves creating and delivering messaging that fits into the scope of a larger plan. This plan may be a political agenda, brand strategy, or awareness campaign.
Strategic communications evolved after the rise of the internet and the advent of the Information Age, when people became flooded with a constant stream of messages from many different channels. Organizations became increasingly aware that attracting a large quantity of attention might be relatively easy, but that achieving goals like creating a lasting impression or convincing viewers to take action was much more difficult. To create a desired impact, messaging needs to be precise, considered, targeted, and coordinated. This usually means collecting data on the audience and developing techniques for gaming and keeping their engagement. A few examples of strategic communications include:
- building a brand’s reputation for being green
- mobilizing voters to support a new piece of legislation
- creating buzz around a new movie release
- convincing people to get a flu shot
- informing the public about the health risks associated with vaping
The only difference between communications and strategic communications is the level of tactical planning and outcome analysis involved. The field of communications includes the creation and delivery of messages as well as the academic/theoretical study of communications. Strategic communications is all about targeted applications, rather than theory, with a focus on gathering data and driving results.
Is Communications a Good Major for Digital Media?
If you’re active on the internet and have an intuitive grasp of what sways people on digital media, a degree in communications can be an excellent fit for your career. Communications traditionally involves crafting content, corporate messages, advertising products, and educating the public, and each of these can be executed through digital media.
Most people’s experience of an organization occurs through their website, social media account, online marketplace presence, or internet video channel. In the early days of digital media, online outlets like these were seen as secondary, and digital media tasks were often handed off to entry-level staff, resulting in a haphazard digital image. Today, however, no business would ever assign their intern to manage the company Facebook page as an afterthought. Smart digital media presence and messaging are top priorities for businesses and organizations, and communications experts are tasked with developing digital media strategies, creating content, integrating channels, and expanding influence in the digital sphere.
Digital media communications is a fast-growing and ever-evolving branch of communications. It’s also in high demand now that most people shop, get news, and consume entertainment online. Many students who opt to focus on this area choose a degree program such as “Digital Communications and Multimedia,” “Communications with a Concentration in Digital Media,” or “Digital Media Communications.” Regardless of the program title, you can expect to study online media related topics like:
- Multimedia Storytelling
- Web Production
- Social Media Campaigns
- Advanced Digital and Social Media
The 20 Most Lucrative Communications Careers
The communications director manages a company’s communication staff and is in charge of communication within an organization as well as the external communication of the organization. A communications director is in charge of public relations and is likely to be the person who is in contact with the media. Job duties include:
- Handles an organization’s brand
- Analyze the effectiveness of communications campaigns
- Manage the public relations department in an organization
- Speak with the public to gain insights into brand efficacy
- Liaise with media on issues related to company image, brand etc.
Communications director jobs are expected to grow by a rate of 4% between 2019 and 2029 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is faster than the national average. The median salary (at entry-level) is reported at $59,230 annually; however, in a management capacity, the opportunity to earn much more is apparent, as Payscale.com states a salary of between $130,422 and $178,672 per year. If you are extroverted, organized, and enjoy running a team then you might be a great fit for a communications director.
The content manager is responsible for overseeing content made for websites and blogs that has strong written and SEO skills. This person will also create, write, update, and post existing content based on market research and client need. Some of the job responsibilities are:
- Write and update original content for a website or blog
- Research to determine best content for any given website
- Communicate with other writers and oversee content creation
- Moderate discussion posts
- Re-branding content when necessary
According to Payscale.com, Content Manager positions are expected to have a positive job growth rate. This is faster than the national average. The median salary average per year is $60,177, with a potential of earning $86,000 or more annually. Content managers tend to be creative individuals with analytical skills. This person is innovative and does not conform to the norm. If you are looking for a creative job that pays well this could be a great fit.
An Art Director is responsible for the visual side of a website, magazine, newspaper or any other production. They direct others who are responsible for the creative side of the job including the graphic designer, or photographer. Expect these duties among others:
- Determine which design elements to use in materials
- Create a budget for the creative department
- Determine the look of the campaign, site, film etc.
- Oversee creative staff
- Present design and other creative materials to clients
The job outlook for art directors is projected to decrease by a rate of 2% between 2019 and 2029 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The annual median salary for an art director is $94,220. As you may have guessed this is a creative position. However, as this requires the ability to create a budget and manage a team it is important for the individual to have a positive outgoing personality and a technical ability to design a budget. An art director is a well-rounded individual.
A brand manager is equal parts creative director and equal parts marketer as their primary concern is with the lasting impact of a company’s brand. This brand manager always has an eye on the market and engages with trends. Some of the brand manager job duties are:
- Monitor trends and oversee marketing and advertising for a company
- Work closely with product developers to ensure brand awareness/guidelines
- Communicate closely with CFO and CEO of the company
- Maintain brand integrity
- Promote brand strategies internally to make sure everyone is on board
A brand manager is intelligent and instinctive and likely obsessed with markets and trends. This person always has their finger on the pulse and is multi-faceted and hard working. As a brand manager, you will need to have impeccable communication skills including communicating with your team and with your audience. Introverts and extroverts alike can do this job but expect to be interacting with the public at least part of the time. This job is projected to grow at a rate of about 6% which is slower than the national average. The median salary is $71,116 annually, according to Payscale.com.
Technical Writers are kind of like interpreters for technical information and often write instruction manuals or supporting documents that explain complex information. The technical writer does not always use words to help people understand technical information and may, in fact, use charts, photographs or other drawings to help explain complex information. A technical writer will have to:
- Determine what end-users need
- Study the product and make sure you
- Interact with subject matter experts
- Select the right medium for materials. Is it a manual? Is it a webpage? Is it a video?
- Manage updates and revisions for technical literature
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the job outlook for technical writers is 7%. This is slightly faster than the national average. The median salary is listed as $72,850. Technical writers obviously need to be intelligent both because of the content they are creating and the people they interact with. Technical writers must be able to interpret complex facts effectively, write clearly and use visual elements effectively. People skills are only a must when it comes to communicating with clients. After that, you are on your own. Introverts or extroverts should apply.
Inbound Marketing Manager
An Inbound Marketing Manager is responsible for attracting customers to a brand and making those conversions. Inbound Marketing Manager will use SEO, create blog posts, write Ebooks, or create web-based seminars as a way to engage potential customers. Inbound marketing manager’s job duties include:
- Distribute content to the right audiences as the right time
- Build content that attracts an audience
- Analyze the marketing and determine exactly how this content converts customers
- Create inbound marketing campaign ideas
- Thoroughly research people and products
An inbound marketing manager is a creative individual who has spectacular people skills. This person will understand how to read the market so they must be intelligent enough to analyze data. Though most of the decisions are data-driven a truly spectacular inbound marketing manager will have a crazy 6th sense and be able to predict trends right before they happen. If you feel like you can tap into the collective subconscious then consider a job as an inbound marketing manager. Glassdoor.com states that the median salary for an inbound marketing manager earns $65,834 per year. In a related position, the BLS states that marketing managers earn upwards of $149,200 per year on average.
Strategic Communications Manager
A Strategic Communications Manager operates in close communication with all senior managers ensuring that all company marketing material clearly communicates their brand. This person understands all corporate goals and incorporates those into the marketing strategy. Some of the responsibilities are:
- Lead communication strategy along with CFO/CEO
- Develop communication deliverables
- Delegate tasks to other communications/marketing professionals
- Oversee all internal and external communications for a company
- Prepare media reports, press releases, and other marketing materials
According to Payscale.com, strategic communications manager positions are likely to increase as the need for qualified marketing personnel are needed. The median salary for this position is $66,384. This position functions as a jack of all trades as you are dealing with internal and external marketing. You need to communicate with staff and the public as well as work in close proximity to the big boss. You will definitely want to feel comfortable with people but extroversion is not necessary. Rather, it is more important that you remain candid and balanced. The ability to handle stress while “multi-tasking” is a must. Marketing managers earn upwards of $150,000 annually, according to the BLS.
Writers and Authors
Writers develop content for every type of media. This person has excellent researching skills and is like a chameleon with their writing- able to write content for any type of media, brand, and style. A writer’s job duties include but aren’t limited to:
- Write content for all types of media
- Edit content to match the media type
- Researching topics to ensure that content is up-to-date and factual
- Communicate ideas to designers, photographers, and other creative media producers
- Ensure the writing is grammatically correct and original
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 2% decrease in demand for writers and authors between 2019 and 2029. The median salary for a writer/author as of 2019 was $63,200. Introverts rejoice this is a job for you. Extroverts you could do it too but you probably won’t like it very much. Think long hours sitting by yourself writing and refining content. You will need to be able to communicate with other creative professionals.
Public Relations Specialists
Public Relations Specialists are in charge of the public image of a company. They ensure the company’s relationship with the press and consumers are positive. Some common responsibilities are:
- Write press releases
- Organize community-centered events
- Organize speaking engagements
- Write speeches
- Communicate with reporters and others in the media
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Public Relations Specialists jobs are projected to increase at a rate of 7% which is the same as the national average. The median salary is $61,150. Extroverts rejoice as public relations specialists are constantly in contact with other people. As a public relations specialist, you have to be able to understand a company’s needs maybe even better than they do, and then determine ways to create engaging community-centered events that are fun and exciting. The most riveting events often involve big-name celebrities. So, knowing how to book these stars could also become part of the job.
An editor is a highly-skilled individual who reviews and changes the content to make that content more precise and polished. A good editor is often a brilliant writer who has an eye for the details with a creative edge. An editor will need to do the following:
- Determine which content makes the cut and which does not
- Plan the content for a magazine, newspaper, etc.
- Make revisions to material ahead of publishing
- Suggest ways to improve the content.
- Verify facts and ensure there is no plagiarism
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs as an editor are on the decline by a rate of -7% between 2019 and 2029. The reasons states are traditional print magazines and newspapers are also in decline. There are more editor positions available through online media jobs. The type of person who becomes an editor varies but all editors have incredibly high standards and attention to detail. This intelligent person is also creative and understands what the public wants to see and how to craft content so that it matches the public demand. The median salary is listed as $61,370 but years of experience and location change this number significantly.
Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators
Film and Video Editors typically work in a studio while Camera Operators often film on locations. A film and video editor assembles the raw footage and may be responsible for sound, graphics or special effects while the camera operator is responsible for capturing the film and telling the story according to the director’s vision. Common responsibilities for film and video editors and camera operators are:
- Determine which takes will be used for the final film
- Add music or other sounds to the shot
- Choose which camera angles to use
- Operate a camera
- Apply the correct lens, filter, etc. to get the desired look of the film
Film and Video Editors and Camera operators make a median salary of $59,810, according to the BLS. These positions are actually growing at a rate of 18% much faster than the national average. Why are things growing? Because of the countless online streaming sites that are cropping up and increasing demand. There are jobs available all across the nation with a higher concentration in cities like New York and LA. If you are a patient person with an eye for detail you may be a good fit for either position. Of course, you will need to have the technical skills to execute this job and as a camera operator have some flexibility in your schedule.
Media Planners help their clients to maximize their advertising budgets through the use of a wide range of media. They come up with creative strategies to ensure that their clients reach their targeted audience. Some of their responsibilities are:
- Determine the right media to use for targeted ads
- Find the right audience
- Analyze market data
- Evaluate the success of a marketing campaign
- Optimize marketing strategies
The media planner is an essential role in the bracket of communications as this person helps companies to determine which media to use and helps companies create a realistic plan for marketing. According to Payscale.com, the median salary for a media planner is $50,652 and the growth expectancies are 6% just about the same as the national average. The media planner is an organized individual with a creative bent and also a technical person who is willing to act according to market research.
An advertising manager is in charge of advertising staff and works with their staff and clients to establish goals and enforces the budget of various advertising projects. This person initiates market research to help optimize their client’s advertising budget. Common job duties for an advertising manager:
- Manage a team of marketers
- Determine the most effective ways to achieve goals and executes those strategies
- Provides advice on marketing to companies
- Researches the market and analyzes the results of the campaign to determine the effectiveness of that campaign.
- Monitor the progress of all projects and makes sure those projects remain focused
If you are interested in becoming an advertising manager then chances are you are going to have to like working with people. This is the type of job that requires direct supervision of staff and interaction with the clients. If you don’t like people then maybe consider another route. However, if you love interacting with people, and you are analytical and creative then this can be a very rewarding and fun job. The BLS states the median salary for this position as $135,900 annually, with a 6% job growth between 2019 and 2029.
Interpreters and Translators
Both Interpreters and Translators are in charge of converting information from one language to another. That could be online or in person in a hospital, school, organization or conference. Typically if there is a large group of people gathering an interpreter may be required. Most interpreters will need a bachelor’s degree to gain employment but fluency in English and one other language in some cases is enough to land a job in this profession. Interpreters need to be able to:
- Convert information from one language to the next.
- Paraphrase or use simplification tools
- Use sign language to help the hearing impaired
- Interpret medical information between patients and staff
- Translate written communication
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this job will grow at a rate of 20% between 2019 and 2029. This is much faster than the national average. Extroverts who love helping people are a likely good fit for this position. It’s important to be patient to ensure that each person understands the other. Interpretation may be done in other languages including American Sign Language. The median pay as of 2019 was $51,830.
Meeting Convention and Event Planner
A meeting and event planner meets with their client and coordinates an event to meet their needs. They plan every facet of these events and will often travel to visit the location of these events. Common job duties include:
- Gather information about the purpose of the event
- Get bids from venues and service providers
- Come up with a budget for the event or conference
- Visit venues and inspect them
- Coordinate all of the services for the event
- Keep tabs on the event
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this job is growing at a rate of about 8% which is a little bit faster than average. The median salary as of 2019 was $50,600. Most event planners will have a bachelor’s degree as well as some experience in the hospitality/service industry. As this job requires a lot of coordination, the event planner is typically an extremely organized person who is driven to follow through and pays close attention to details. The event planner and coordinator meets with a wide range of people and will likely have an easier time at their job if they like to talk with people and are good at forming relationships.
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians
As a broadcast and sound engineering technician, you will be responsible for setting up equipment for media programs. The technician operates the equipment as well as protects it. You become the equipment’s guardian angel. Most broadcast sound engineering technicians can also repair the equipment. As a sound engineer you’ll likely have to:
- Monitor the volume in studios
- Operate sound and video equipment
- Set up and tear down equipment for performances
- Set up mics etc. in a room or studio
- Install and repair equipment when necessary
- Convert recording to digital formats ready for editing.
This position is projected to grow at a rate of 9% between the years 2019 and 2029. The median salary for this position is $45,510 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A number of sound engineering technicians spend time alone in a booth or alone after a recording session packing up equipment. They do have to be able to talk to the talent but for the most part, introverts love doing this job. Sure you can do this job as an extrovert but you may not find this job as fulfilling as some of the others we have listed above. Obviously, this person will have to possess the technical skills to execute the job and be meticulous about details.
The promotions coordinator will develop materials like flyers and brochures that promote events. This person may also plan events or create advertising campaigns for social media in order to promote a company. This person may market a special event or focus primarily on marketing. It is a multifaceted job. Promotions coordinators will:
- Promote a company
- Promote and event run by the company
- Create marketing materials for media across the spectrum
- Social Media Marketing
- Promoting a product
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that promotion manager positions are expected to grow at a rate of about 6% which is faster than the national average. The median salary, according to Payscale.com, of a promotions coordinator as of 2019 was $44,567. Years of experience and location have an impact on salary. Promotions coordinators are typically very organized individuals who are capable of multitasking and interfacing with the public.
Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts
Reporters and Correspondents are responsible for reporting the news to the public. They may report the news for a news station, newspaper, website radio show or television show. Reporters commonly have to:
- Research your topics/ Investigate new stories
- Pitch ideas to editors
- Form relationships with individuals to develop leads
- Interview people
- Provides updates to stories as new information comes to light
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this job has declined and is projected to decline at a rate of -11% between 2019 and 2029. If you studied journalism and have a real strength interfacing with the public then a position as a news anchor may be a great fit for you. You will likely need to have completed an internship in order to land one of these positions. Though the median salary was $46,270 as of 2019 the location and number of years of experience will influence your salary.
Photographers produce images and over the years the photographer’s choice of camera has changed dramatically. Photography should tell a story and communicate a point to the intended audience. A photographer will need the following skills:
- Take photographs
- Market and advertise your services
- Be comfortable using a wide variety of photography techniques
- Use photo editing software
- Archive and manage imagery.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median salary of a photographer as $36,280 per year and anticipates that this job is on the decline. In fact, between 2019 and 2029, the job is projected to drop at a rate of 4%. Regardless, photographers tend to be passionate and creative individuals who will stop at nothing to capture the best shot. This person is comfortable solo and around people and is generally fearless. Photographers work hard to display their work and advertising their talents.
Announcers are typically experts in a field and provide commentary on that field. Some of the typical fields include sports, weather, music, news and more. Job duties include:
- Select the content for the program
- Present on music, sports, news, the weather
- Announce programming on the radio and keep the public alerted about the schedule
- Research the content for the programming
- Make appearances when necessary
This person is typically an expert in their field or a former athlete or musician, etc. If you are passionate about a topic or simply getting the information to the public then a job as an announcer may be a good fit. Typically an announcer fits into a niche such as classical music or figure skating though occasionally an announcer discusses a wide variety of issues. Political discussion is another big arena for announcers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists this position as on the decline and the median salary is $39,790.
Are you looking for additional information about Communications degrees? Check out our list of The Top 10 Schools for Bachelor of Communications and The 10 Best Online Schools for Bachelor of Communications.