Earning a Master’s in Communications Online

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September 7, 2021

Should I Pursue a Master's in Communications Online?

Some people are natural born communicators; however, even the best public speakers and writers can benefit from earning an online master's in communication. If putting your thoughts into words has always come easily and you want to advance your education, consider pursuing a master's degree in communication online. Professionals with a master's in communication work in varied fields, including education, fashion, and journalism, where they can become professors, communication directors, or even consultants.

Earning an online master's in communication is also convenient. You can complete coursework from your home on your own time, without needing to attend campus. If you're self-motivated and love to tell stories, an online communications master's degree could be right for you.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Communications Graduates

Master's in Communications Salary

Where you live and how much experience you have play a big role in your salary potential. For example, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, in New York and the District of Columbia the average mean wage for a public relations or fundraising manager is more than $164,000, while the national annual mean wage is only $111,280. In the charts below, you'll find more detailed information about communications degree salaries.

Top Paying States for Public Relations or Fundraising Managers

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
District of Columbia 4,460 $170,750
New York 6,100 $164,740
New Jersey 1,830 $161,860
Rhode Island 320 $158,730
Virginia 1,310 $150,150
United States 67,300 $127,690

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Public Relations Managers

Source: PayScale

Master's in Communications Careers

Communication career options are broad because every industry needs talented communication managers. If you have a passion for endorsing products, you could work as a public relations manager for a lifestyle blog. If you enjoy working with food and talking to farmers, you could work on the communication team for an agriculture company. Below, you'll find a list of some common jobs you can pursue with an online master's degree in communication.

Public Relations or Fundraising Manager

Annual Median Salary: $111,280

Projected Growth Rate: 10%

Public relations and fundraising managers work for businesses and nonprofits to manage the company's public image and raise funding throughs donations or investments. While you can become a public relations or fundraising coordinator with a bachelor's in communication, most employers require a master's for upper management positions.

Advertising, Promotions, or Marketing Manager

Annual Median Salary: $129,380

Projected Growth Rate: 10%

These professionals perform many of the same tasks that public relations managers do; however, they tend to focus on generating revenue through paid advertisements. Advertising managers often work directly with art directors, sale agents, and finance managers to achieve a company's marketing goals.

Corporate Communications Director

Annual Median Salary: $118,148

Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Communications directors oversee a communication team and manage a company's official press releases, emails, and media inquiries. Some corporate communications directors focus on internal communication among employees, while others focus on external communication with the public. Depending on the size of the company, some directors manage both.

Social and Community Services Manager

Annual Median Salary: $64,100

Projected Growth Rate: 18%

These managers work in nonprofits and government agencies where they advocate for minority groups, individuals in poverty, and other social causes. Social and community service managers use communication to spark political change by lobbying, writing newsletters, and leveraging social media to spread awareness.

Vice President of Communications

Annual Median Salary: $137,566

Projected Growth Rate: 6%

A corporate communications director can work in any industry. This professional works closely with the CEO and shares important information with target audiences. A vice president of communications typically speaks on behalf of an organization, especially to the media, or they train the CEO on how to effectively speak to the public.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Communications Program?

While earning an MA in communications online, you learn about making strategic plans, setting communication goals, and communicating with diverse audiences. Most online communication master's programs teach students to use different communication channels, like social media, to effectively reach target audiences. Curriculum requirements vary by school, but below are five common courses that most accredited communications programs offer.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Communications

Technical Writing

In this class, students learn how to write technical documents like manuals or contracts. Weak grammar and confusing sentences reflect poorly on businesses and nonprofit, so it's important to know how to write correctly and concisely.

Persuasion

Convincing individuals to take action is an art. In a persuasion course, students learn how to inspire people to behave in a certain way. Public relations and fundraising managers use persuasion to motivate the public to donate money or purchase products.

Public Speaking

Communication professionals must excel at public speaking. Whether public speaking comes easily to you or you need extra practice, a public speaking course can improve your skills. Public speaking courses prepare students for press conferences, media interviews, and speeches.

Organizational Communication

Organizational communication professionals teach students to effectively communicate within an organization. Large corporations often employ internal communication directors to keep their employees updated on company changes and maintain the company's image.

Social Media

As people spend more time on social media, many online schools are adding social media courses to their required course lists. In this class, students learn how to use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to inform and motivate audiences and track social trends.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Communications Prepares For

Professional Organizations and Resources

Successful communications professionals remain lifelong learners. If you want to keep up with everything from social media changes to relevant case studies, join a professional organization and take advantage of its resources. This helps you stay competitive in your field and network with other professionals. Many organizations also offer resource libraries and exclusive job boards. Below, you'll find a list of communications organizations and resources.

Methodology

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