Why Communications Majors Might Have More Choices in LifeJune 19, 2012 by William Frierson
In some circles, choosing to major in communications is the academic equivalent of choosing to major in underwater basket weaving. Some dismiss the major as “fluffy,” or easy, or the place for students who don’t really want to study (or get a job), but are just getting a degree to please their parents.
In reality, though, nothing could be further from the truth. Communications – which encompasses fields including journalism, mass communication, public relations and advertising – is a versatile major that opens the door to a wide variety of careers. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists more career opportunities for communications graduates than any other major, including computer science, engineering and mathematics.
If you’re considering majoring in communications, you probably know some of your options already. But a communications degree opens the door to a number of careers beyond journalism and public relations that you might not have considered, including:
Government. Did you think all of those politicians write their own speeches? At every level of government, from small cities all the way up to the nation’s capital, communications professionals work behind the scenes to create messages and communicate what’s happening in government. Government communications options run the gamut from speechwriter or press secretary, to communications assistant, where you actually serve as a liaison between elected officials and their constituents.
Healthcare. Healthcare communications is a growing industry and encompasses several layers of communications. Consider this – when you go to the hospital and receive a pile of brochures and information sheets, someone has to write and produce those materials. Healthcare communication executives do everything from develop patient care information and materials to high-level, strategic communications pieces. Many hospitals and healthcare systems also hire communications professionals to handle the media, serve as lobbyists and manage community relations to keep the organization engaged in the community.
Internet Marketing. This is a relatively new field, but a growing one – and one of vital importance. Studies indicate that more and more consumers are turning to the internet for news and information, and smart businesses are tapping into that audience. Communication programs are beginning to develop new programs training students in the principles of internet and electronic marketing, including the use of social media, skills that are valuable to employers who want to tap into the power of the when to market their products and services.
Mediation. Whenever there is a dispute between two parties, the fastest way to a resolution is good communication. Communications majors with training in mediation can have a fulfilling and lucrative career serving as a mediator between disputing parties, using their communication skills and strategies to help others come to agreement.
Nonprofits. Whether you want to save the whales or cure cancer, there is a nonprofit organization devoted to the cause. Communications majors are in high demand by nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, as these groups need to communicate their message effectively to gain support. Communication majors with a heart for service can work for a nonprofit developing communications and public relations materials, or working in the fundraising field. Communication skills are vital for successful fundraising, as organizations need to build relationships and clearly articulate what they will do with the money that’s raised; a communications major will have those vital skills.
For some people, combining a communications degree with another program, such as political science, business or computer science can actually open up more doors after graduation. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for technical writers, those who write operating instructions and user manuals for the products we buy every day, will grow over the next decade. A degree in communications and engineering or computer science paves the way to these well-paying jobs. Or combine your communications studies with business courses in marketing, advertising or human resources to work in those departments.
Communications is a versatile and fascinating major that allows you to learn more about all aspects of human communication. In the process of learning about how we communicate with each other, what mass media messages mean and how to communicate more effectively both interpersonally and on an organizational level, you build skills that are marketable to nearly any organization; no matter what the pre-med students might think.
This guest post article was written and provided by Amanda Connely. Amanda received her Bachelor’s degree this last fall, and she is continuing her education by pursuing her Master’s degree in nursing.
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