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    Communications Major Overview

    By Zach Skillings

    Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: June 25th, 2024
    Communications Major Overview

    Every day we convey ideas and information through text, visuals, and audio. From advertisements and movies to podcasts and social media, communication is a fundamental part of our society. 

    In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about majoring in communications. We’ll discuss what it is, typical coursework, potential career paths, and more. 

    Also see: Guide to double majoring

    What is a communications major?

    The field of communications is broad in scope, covering everything from film and television to journalism and public relations. Communications majors learn how to inform and entertain through a variety of mediums such as video, radio, articles, press releases, social media, graphics, website design, and photography.

    Because there’s so many areas within communications, students usually choose a specific track to pursue. Regardless of their particular focus, all communications majors develop strong writing and speaking skills. Put simply, students in this field learn how to effectively convey ideas and information through a range of formats. 

    Coursework to expect

    Coursework varies depending on the specific track you choose to pursue. Many schools offer majors such as journalism, public relations, and film that fall under the general umbrella of communications. 

    For instance, journalism majors take a lot of reporting and writing classes. Meanwhile, film students take video and audio production courses. 

    Alternatively, some schools offer a degree specifically in communications, which covers a broad range of topics such as journalism, public relations, and marketing. Although course requirements vary between programs, most communications students are required to take writing and public speaking classes. 

    Below are some potential courses you may encounter as a communications major:

    • Communications in a Digital Age
    • Creating Multimedia Content 
    • Public Speaking
    • Media Writing
    • Corporate Publishing
    • Film and Television Aesthetics
    • Cinema Production
    • Web and Mobile Publishing
    • Visual Communication 
    • Fundamentals of Design 

    Opportunities after graduation

    A communications degree opens doors to a wide variety of jobs in the industry. From producing TV shows to managing social media, there’s countless opportunities. For now, here’s just a few career options related to the field of communications: 

    • Public relations specialist
    • Social media manager
    • Journalist
    • Event/wedding planner
    • Video editor
    • Camera operator
    • Technical writer
    • Agent
    • Producer
    • Director

    Also read: What is the average starting salary out of college?

    Jobs you can get with a communications degree

    In today’s age of information, communications jobs are more prevalent than ever. Professionals in this field convey information through spoken, written, visual, or digital mediums. Below are some popular career choices for communications majors, along with median annual salaries according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    1. Public relations specialists

    PR specialists create and maintain a positive public image for companies, brands, or individual clients. They write press releases, manage social media posts, and handle face-to-face engagement at special events with journalists and media professionals. PR specialists can work for a specific organization, a PR firm, or freelance. 

    2022 Median Pay: $67,440 per year
    Projected Growth (2022-2032): 6% (faster than average)

    2. Journalist and reporters

    Journalists research and produce news stories for television, newspapers, radio, and websites. They keep the public informed on important local, national, and international stories.

    Some write articles for print and online media, while others produce videos for television, documentaries, and websites. There are even opportunities for journalists to write about the entertainment industry and popular culture, which can lead to interviewing influential people in society.

    2022 Median Pay: $55,960 per year
    Projected Growth (2022-2032): -3% (decline)

    3. Event planner

    Event planners organize a variety of professional and social events including weddings, business conventions, and educational conferences. They handle all the important logistics such as finances, venue inspection, guest registration, catering, and transportation. 

    2022 Median Pay: $52,560 per year
    Projected Growth (2022-2032): 8% (Much faster than average)

    4. Video editors and camera operators

    Camera operators and editors are both directly involved in the video production process. Camera operators shoot and record TV shows, films, music videos, documentaries, and news and sporting events. Video editors organize and arrange the footage to create a final product. 

    2022 Median Pay: $62,420 per year
    Projected Growth (2022-2032): 7% (Faster than average)

    5. Technical writer

    Technical writers compose instruction manuals, help sections of websites, and other documentation regarding the use of products and services. They use precise language to make complex and technical topics easier to understand. Generally, they work in the science, tech and management industries. 

    2022 Median Pay: $79,960 per year
    Projected Growth (2022-2032): 7% (faster than average)

    6. Producers and directors

    If you become a producer or director, you’ll create films, TV shows, commercials, music videos, and live theater. Producers handle the logistics of the production, ensuring the project stays on schedule and within budget. Directors handle the creative aspect of the production, overseeing lighting, design, and performances by actors. 

    2022 Median Pay: $85,320 per year
    Projected Growth (2022-2032): 10% (Much faster than average)

    How do I know if this major is right for me? 

    If you’re considering a major in communications, ask yourself the following questions: 

    • Are you curious about the news and/or entertainment industries?
    • Do you enjoy creating content and sharing information? 
    • Are you passionate about drawing, writing, or talking to people? 

    If you answered yes to most of these questions, then a communications major could be right for you!

    Also see: Top communications scholarships

    Frequently asked questions about majoring in communications 

    Are communications majors in demand?

    In today’s economy, there’s a fairly healthy demand for communications majors, but certain fields within communications are faring better than others. Newspaper and magazine jobs are on the decline, for instance, while jobs in the film industry are expanding with the rise of streaming services. As a whole, though, the communications industry is predicted to grow by 4% by 2029.

    Is communications an easy major?

    That depends on your individual strengths and preferences. Some students gravitate towards communications because of the lack of advanced science and math coursework. In this sense, communications majors aren’t as difficult as fields such as engineering and computer science. However, students who struggle with writing and public speaking may find a communications major to be more difficult. 

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