Earning a Master’s in Media Communications Online

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September 7, 2021

Should I Pursue a Master's in Media Communications Online?

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.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Media Communications Graduates

Master's in Media Communications Salary

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.

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

Master's in Media Communications Careers

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.

Public Relations or Fundraising Manager

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.

Advertising, Promotions, or Marketing Manager

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.

Reporter, Correspondent, or Broadcast News Analyst

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.

Digital Marketing Manager

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.

Digital Content Manager

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.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statstics / PayScale

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

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.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Media Communications

Digital Media Strategies

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.

Persuasion and Negotiation Techniques

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.

Digital Content Creation

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 Communication

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.

Branding

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.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Media Communications Prepares For

Professional Organizations and Resources

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.

Methodology

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