Why Study Communication? Jobs for Master's in Communication Graduates
Understanding the Numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors — like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.
If you're looking to advance or shift your career and already have your bachelor's degree, moving forward with a master's may be your next step. A master's in communication offers you a more focused education, advancing you toward your personal and professional goals.
Communication is utilized in every field, and a communication degree can prepare you for employment across broad industries, such as marketing, journalism, media relations and more. Your master's in communication can provide you with a specialized education to prepare you for advancement in your current job or help you change careers.
Master's in communication graduate Rachel Bishop '20G, who works as a content strategist for a software company, knows the importance of having your degree.
"Having a master's degree not only shows that you've mastered the fundamentals in the field, but also that you had the motivation, the discipline and the courage to set a hefty goal and work hard until you achieved it," she said.
A master’s degree can help you to stand out among your peers in your career field and could be the catalyst that gets you ahead.
What Do People Do with a Master's in Communication Degree?
The knowledge and skills you’ll learn during your communication degree can provide you with the tools needed to work across various industries. You can learn skills such as thinking both critically and creatively, and how to be a better communicator through your written, oral and visual communication.
Bryan Womack '15G, a communication graduate with a background in news reporting, said through his experience that communication skills are key in a work environment — no matter how big or small your role may be. Being able to properly communicate, especially in groups, is important.
The demand for employment in the media and communication field is rapidly changing and is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031, adding about 68,600 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual salary for workers in this field was $62,340 in 2021, BLS reports, which is higher than the median yearly salary of $45,760 for all other fields of employment.*
"I've seen a lot of openings for typical communication roles, such as communication specialists, outreach managers, and so on," said Bishop. "Many companies will happily accept applications from people who have earned a communication degree — which, again, is a testament to how versatile the degree is."
Some popular careers for people with a communication degree include:
- Journalist: As a journalist or a reporter, your main job is to communicate and share news stories with the public. You'll need to know how to do proper research, analyze and interpret information, interview people and write news stories while staying up to date with current events and world trends. According to BLS, in 2021 journalists earned a median salary of $48,370.*
While print journalism continues to be a source of news for some, many are turning to the digital formats. Find out what new media is and how many are now consuming information.
- Marketing Manager: A marketing manager's role is to build an awareness of the company by creating and executing strategies to meet customer needs while also looking for new ways to maximize profits. They evaluate the demand for an organization's services or products, how they can best market their own goods, and how the company compares against its competitors. With expected 10% job growth through 2031, marketing managers earned a median salary of $135,030 in 2021, according to BLS.*
A master's degree in marketing could also be beneficial if you're targeting this role, but if there's one thing to know about marketing career paths, it's that they are atypical.
- Public Relations Specialist: Public relations (PR) specialists ensure an organization's public image is positive and that the brand value remains intact. They write media releases, draft speeches and social media posts, respond to the media and more. According to BLS, in 2021 the median salary for public relations specialists was $62,800, with an 8% job growth projected through 2031.*
If you want to learn more about how professionals help organizations protect and uphold their brand every day, learn more about what PR is.
- Postsecondary Teacher: A postsecondary teacher, or professor, can teach several different academic subjects, typically at a public or private university. They create instructional plans for the students, design lessons and teach courses while staying up to date with the latest trends and innovations in their field. BLS reports, in 2021, postsecondary teachers earned a median salary of $79,640, and there is also a 12% projected job growth in this field through 2031.*
Postsecondary teachers traditionally work on a campus, although there is also an opportunity to build your teaching career online. If that interest you, learn more about how to teach online.
- Social Media Manager: Working in this role, you're a brand's voice through social media. You represent your company across different social media channels, communicating with the public through posts, comments, videos and more.
If social media management interests you, you might want to learn about seven other types of digital marketing that could benefit from solid communication skills.
- Technical Writer: Technical writers are needed in various industries, but they typically are focused on technology, computer and scientific fields. Technical writers prepare how-to guides, manuals and other documents sharing technical information. The median salary earned for technical writers in 2021 was $78,060, reports BLS, with a 6% job growth projected through 2031.*
There are a variety of other directions you could take a writing career, too, including as a copywriter, content writer and editor. Find out how to become a writer.
How a Master's in Communication Can Impact a Career
This year, Elanna Rubenstein '20G, a coverage producer and National Football League (NFL) logistics lead, is celebrating a decade of work at the Walt Disney Company. Specifically supporting the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN), a show they helped produce won an Emmy for Outstanding Studio Show in 2021, a year after they finished their master's degree in communication.
Rubenstein decided to pursue the degree at SNHU after a colleague shared her positive experience with the university.
"When I decided to go for my master's, I wasn’t sure where it would take me," Rubenstein said. "Was it going to be a fruitless endeavor? Or was it going to be life changing? It was life changing for sure."
In the years since they finished their degree, their career has evolved — from an office setting to a virtual newsroom to NFL fields — and they've also become a manager. Through it all, Rubenstein has drawn on what they learned during their degree program.
"I leaned on my knowledge and understanding of public relations, media technology and communication management as I navigate the various communication styles and methods that are used in the field versus in the office," they said.
Rubenstein's greatest takeaway from the master's in communication program was that they could do anything they put their mind to with a bit of time management and the ability to use technology and adapt.
"The last handful of years would not have had such incredible professional development and personal growth if it were not for my decision to obtain my master's from SNHU," they said.
Types of Communication Degrees
Within whatever industry you choose to work for, you'll need to convey the proper communication skills through your research, writing, critical thinking and analytical skills, whether interacting with your coworkers or the public. A bachelor's degree in communication can provide you with those tools and a solid foundation to begin your career.
After you've completed your bachelor's in communication, the next step in your education would be to move forward with a Master of Arts (MA) in Communication, which will allow you to build on the knowledge and skills you already learned during your bachelor's education.
"Through a master's in communication (program), you'll have the opportunity to practice real-world experiences as an individual while building a strong foundation rooted in ethics, best practices and current research," said Harley Hedlund Tennant '21G, a communication graduate who now works as a communication manager. "By enhancing the experience, knowledge and credibility of individuals, the program helps professionals best position themselves for success."
During your MA degree program, you'll often have the opportunity to choose a concentration. "Find a few complementary areas of communications you enjoy and have a passion for and build your skills in these areas," said Learning and Performance Improvement Consultant Tim Reed '16G.
MA in Communication concentrations can include:
- New Media and Marketing: In a more focused education than your Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, a concentration in new media and marketing at a master's level can give you the skills to effectively communicate and collaborate with others. You'll learn to work with those in your industry and outside of it through various channels such as organic marketing, social media and more.
- Public Relations: A public relations concentration when getting your MA degree will immerse you in the work that organizations do to build and maintain their brand value. You'll learn to manage the communication flow between brand and audience through traditional and digital media platforms.
Having the option to choose a more specialized degree that best suits you and your career goals can make you more marketable to future employers.
Womack said being one of the only people in previous workplaces with a master's has greatly benefited him. Only 14% of U.S. adults age 25 and older have an advanced degree, such as a master's degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, so having that degree can give you a competitive edge in your career.
According to Sue Ryan '16G, an inspirational coach, speaker and educator, "Effective communications provide impact, efficiency and clarity. Ineffective communications distort, confuse and can cause negative impacts."
Is a Master's in Communication Worth it?
While a master's degree can help you stand out to employers and provide you with a more specialized education than a bachelor's degree, is a master's in communication worth it?
In a word, yes.
Reed said the skills he learned from his MA in Communication degree have been both marketable and transferable throughout his career.
A master's in communication can provide you flexibility when choosing, advancing in or changing your career in the communication field.
"With the rate communication and marketing are projected to grow, there are countless opportunities to continue to be challenged by and engaged with the communication field," said Tennant. "If your personal and professional goals align with the master's in communication course outcomes, I'll always recommend exploring it."
Not only can obtaining your degree help you get into the field, but having advanced communication skills can help you in many other aspects of life. For example, Ryan said getting her online degree enabled her to become a confident and effective communicator. It also gave her the tools to structure the way she messages and speaks with people using different mediums and platforms depending upon her targeted audience.
Why Do I Want a Master's in Communication?
Communication is ever-evolving, and achieving your master's degree can give you the necessary skills and edge to excel in your desired career. No matter your goals, the benefits of a communication education can help you get there.
"Having a master's degree not only shows that you've mastered the fundamentals in the field, but also that you had the motivation, the discipline, and the courage to set a hefty goal and work hard until you achieved it," said Bishop. "That level of grit is a trait that employers tend to look for."
Your master's in communication allows you to learn about your communication styles and provide you with the tools needed to develop new communication habits in your personal and professional life.
"Communication applies to almost every industry, role, and issue faced in today's world, and that is exciting," said Tennant. "The demand for credible and reliable communication professionals can only grow and become of greater value."
Discover more about SNHU’s master's degree in communication: Find out what courses you'll take, skills you’ll learn and how to request information about the program.
*Cited job growth projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Actual salaries and/or earning potential may be the result of a combination of factors including, but not limited to: years of experience, industry of employment, geographic location, and worker skill.
Alexa Gustavsen '21 is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
About Southern New Hampshire University
SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.
Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.