The ideal student for master's in media and communication programs aims to work in a public-facing field, does well with public speaking, writes well, and can function in high-pressure environments that may require long or irregular hours. If this sounds like you, a master's degree in media and communication can help you pursue a career in public relations, digital marketing, journalism, or advertising.
For some students, it might make sense to pursue an online media and communication master's over an on-campus degree. Online versions of the degree often allow students to continue to work or raise a family while still maintaining full-time attendance. Students who work 40+ hour weeks, already care for children, or do not live close to a university that offers media and communications programs often prefer online education over in-person education.
Major urban hubs like New York City and Washington, D.C. provide the most job opportunities for graduates who hold an online media and communication master's. As such, New York state and the District of Columbia both top the list of the highest-paying states for public relations or fundraising managers. Similar to other careers, professionals in the field typically earn higher median annual salaries as they progress deeper into their careers and gain more experience.
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||4,460||$170,750|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
As a relatively broad field, media and communications provides several different career paths to degree holders. Students may pursue journalism, public relations, or some form of digital marketing after they graduate with their accredited master of communication in digital media. Each career path typically requires professionals to enjoy human interaction and possess strong writing skills and an understanding of how public relations works.
Annual Median Salary: $111,280
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
Public relations and fundraising managers organize events, create content, and oversee strategy to help an organization's public image. Though work experience often determines who receives promotions in this field, an accredited online master's degree in mass communications/media studies can help separate you from a pack of similar candidates.
Annual Median Salary: $129,380
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers create programs to help a company sell more products or enhance its image. A bachelor's degree generally suffices, but an advanced degree in media communications provides an advantage when you interview for management-level positions.
Annual Median Salary: $40,910
Projected Growth Rate: -9%
Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts break news stories, informing the public about the news that they need to know. Holding an online media and communication master's gives these reporters a strong talking point during interviews.
Annual Median Salary: $64,439
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
Digital marketing managers oversee online marketing programs that help an organization further its goals and values. Typically, the position includes managing advertising, social media, search engine optimization, and content promotion.
Annual Median Salary: $56,591
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
This position includes many of the same duties as digital marketing managers. However, digital content managers focus even more on search engine optimization and social media content. They must possess a firm grasp of how to direct traffic to an organization's content and how internet marketing works in the current climate.
The following section provides a list of classes that students in online media and communication master's programs typically take before graduating. It also provides a list of typical licenses and certifications in the media and communications field. Details can vary from program to program, so make sure to contact your program of choice for specifics.
Students typically take this broad survey course early in their studies, as it prepares them for a variety of careers, including digital content director and strategic communications professional. The course covers new and digital marketing methods, particularly social media.
This course can apply to many careers beyond media and communications. It explores foundational techniques and processes that change attitudes and behaviors, showing students how to implement them. Students learn the basics of tailoring their message to a specific audience.
By preparing students for careers as digital content creators and managers, this course explores how to create content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. It also covers overall content strategy, email marketing, and best practices in search engine optimization and keyword research.
Crisis management constitutes a huge portion of any public relations professionals skillset. This course ensures that graduates possess the necessary competencies to enter that field, teaching students how to interact with and use the media to manage issues. The course typically uses actual case studies from real-world public relations.
This broad course gives students an idea of the power and scope of branding and teaches them how to harness it. Students learn how to use a brand's equity with its customers to stand out from comparable brands.
Accredited Business Communicator: The ABC credential takes a generalist approach, preparing certificate holders to function in any strategic communications or public relations setting. Candidates must already boast nine or more years of combined college and professional experience in the communications field.
Certificate in Principles of Public Relations: This entry-level credential goes to candidates who graduated from an accredited media and communications program within the past six months and hold Public Relations Student Society of America membership. To earn the credential, candidates must complete a curriculum of 13 courses. Topics include ethics, communications theory, and crisis management.
Whether you work in branding, strategic communications, or journalism, you need the capacity to relate to people and understand them. As such, professional organizations play a huge role in media and communications. These groups and resources can help you find a job, learn more about the profession, and connect with other professionals.
American Communication Association: ACA primarily operates online to provide communications professionals with resources for research and professional development. The organization focuses on teaching professionals how to use the latest communications technologies.
Association for Women in Communications: AWC champions and advances women in communications, offering resources such as a national conference, professional development, and a jobs board.
Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management: The Global Alliance represents 160,000 professionals in the field worldwide, offering workshops and forums in addition to publishing original research.
International Public Relations Association: IPRA, a comprehensive professional organization offering resources to public relations professionals, provides books, professional development, training, and global conferences to its members.
Digital Content Next: DCN serves big-name digital content companies such as The Guardian and WebMD, offering access to research and annual conferences. DCN also advocates for certain policy changes to help these companies.
What Can I Do with a Major in Communication and Media Studies?: Provided by St. Norbert College, this webpage provides job titles, salary potential, graduate data, and other information about the career landscape for media and communications professionals.
JournalismJobs.com: Widely regarded as the best jobs board for media professionals, JournalismJobs.com provides a thorough list of journalism-related opportunities across the nation, including remote positions.
Contena: Contena provides one of the most thoroughly curated freelance writing and content creation jobs boards on the web. Additionally, the site provides an academy that teaches professionals how to succeed as freelancers.
Five Books All Communications Practitioners Should Read: The Forbes Communications Council provides this article, which highlights five essential books that can help communications professionals learn more about their profession and develop necessary skills.
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