A degree in communications opens up a world of possibilities and equips you with a versatile skill set that can be applied to various industries. With this degree, you can pursue a wide range of career paths, such as public relations, marketing, journalism, advertising, and corporate communications. As a communications professional, you can shape and convey messages effectively, both in written and verbal forms. You'll have the expertise to craft compelling content, manage social media channels, build strong relationships with stakeholders, conduct research, and analyze data to inform strategic decision-making. Whether you aspire to work in the fast-paced media industry, engage with audiences through digital platforms, or develop impactful campaigns for organizations, a degree in communications empowers you to thrive in the dynamic and ever-evolving world of communication.
Communications jobs: 10 career fields
The ability to communicate effectively will serve you well in just about any job. These 10 career opportunities tend to emphasize the skills of communications degree graduates. *All salary data represents the average annual base pay in the United States as of June 2022 via Glassdoor.
1. Social and digital media
The emergence of digital media has changed the way we communicate and consume information. Working in this industry means leveraging social networks, online news platforms, and other digital technologies to disseminate a company’s message.
Social media manager salary: $50,344
As a social media manager or digital media planner, you may be tasked with:
- Running a company’s social media accounts
- Developing digital content strategy
- Leveraging visual elements to tell brand stories
- Communicating with the public online
- Planning and tracking the success of digital campaigns
Tips for getting the job: Most digital or social media specialists have a bachelor’s degree in communications or public relations. It’s also essential to have knowledge of social media platforms and search engine optimization (SEO) best practices.
2. Public relations
The field of public relations focuses on managing the spread of information and messages between individuals or organizations and the general public. This is often done to create a more favorable public image.
Public relations specialist salary: $47,736
As a public relations specialist, you may be tasked with:
- Writing press releases
- Speaking to the media
- Developing persuasive story ideas to earn media placement
- Analyzing trends
- Problem solving after a crisis
Tips for getting the job: Most companies look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, or journalism. Build your skills by volunteering for your school paper or interning at a PR agency.
3. Marketing and advertising
Marketing and advertising both play a key role in business success. Professionals in these fields help build brand identity, develop a customer base, and increase profits.
Marketing manager salary: $69,590
As a marketing or advertising professional, you may be tasked with:
- Conducting market research
- Monitoring market trends
- Collaborating with sales, product development, and public relations teams
- Developing messaging campaigns to build brand awareness
- Producing clear and engaging content for various media platforms
Tips for getting the job: Communications roles in marketing and advertising typically require a bachelor’s degree in communications, advertising, or business. Practice writing marketing plans for companies you might want to work for. This is sometimes a part of the interview process for higher-level positions. Some marketing and advertising managers start out as entry-level sales representatives or PR specialists to gain experience.
4. Human resources
The human resources (HR) department at an organization oversees many elements of the employee lifecycle. Human resource specialists are there to support employees and maintain company morale.
Human resources specialist salary: $46,972
As an HR specialist, you may be tasked with:
- Recruiting and hiring new employees
- Training new hires
- Moderating workplace conflict
- Supporting employee health and wellness
- Managing disciplinary actions
- Conducting benefit analysis
Tips for getting the job: While requirements vary from company to company, most HR specialists have at least a bachelor’s degree. Consider courses in psychology and human resource management to develop your skills.
5. Writing and publishing
While digital media may be the new norm, that hasn’t changed the need for effective written communication. The writing skills you gain through your communications degree can open up opportunities for jobs in journalism, technical writing, book authoring, or publishing.
Editor salary: $59,425
As a writer or editor, you may be tasked with:
- Communicating ideas through clear, concise writing
- Structuring content to efficiently deliver information
- Revising and preparing content for publication
Tips for getting the job: Most careers in writing and publishing require at least a bachelor’s degree in communications or journalism. Develop your writing and editing skills by working for your school newspaper, magazine or participating in online writing communities.
The main focus of the media sector is to communicate, whether for educational or entertainment purposes. Roles in traditional media are varied and include jobs in television, film, and radio.
Broadcaster salary: $50,595
As a media professional, you may be tasked with:
- Presenting information verbally
- Interviewing notable individuals
- Providing commentary
- Combining visual and audio elements to tell a story
Tips for getting the job: The world of media tends to be competitive. As you’re working toward your degree, build valuable experience by volunteering at your school’s radio, podcast or television station.
7. Meeting and event planning
A lot of work goes into the success of an event, including detailed planning, effective promotion, and efficient communication with speakers and attendees. Meeting and event planners might work onsite for hotels or convention centers or for particular organizations or event planning firms.
Event planner salary: $41,179
As an event planner, you may be tasked with:
- Conducting market research
- Negotiating contracts with vendors
- Working with clients to identify goals and needs
- Coordinating logistics with technology, lodging, food and beverage, and transportation providers
- Collaborating with marketing and PR to promote the event
Tips for getting the job: Many event planners have a bachelor’s degree in communications or hospitality management. Boost your resume with a certification that demonstrates your expertise by minoring in event planning.
The ability to craft and deliver a persuasive message is often critical to success in politics. This is true whether you’re running for public office, lobbying legislators to support a cause, or consulting on a campaign.
Legislative assistant salary: $53,409
As a politics professional, you may be tasked with:
- Planning and drafting bills and legislation
- Raising money for a campaign or cause
- Conducting polling or opposition research
- Communicating efforts and accomplishments to constituents
- Cooperating with other offices to form coalitions
Tips for getting the job: There’s more than one path toward a career in politics. In addition to polishing your communications skills, start by volunteering for a local political campaign or lobbying organization.
Fundraisers help raise money and other donations for nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, religious organizations, research foundations, and political campaigns.
Fundraiser salary: $44,145
As a fundraiser, you may be tasked with:
- Planning and organizing fundraising events
- Building and maintaining relationships with previous and potential donors
- Writing funding proposals, reports, and press releases
- Training volunteers
- Attending community events
Tips for getting the job: Fundraisers typically have a degree in communications, public relations, journalism, or business. Gain work experience by volunteering with local campaigns or organizations. This can open opportunities for paid positions.
Salespeople leverage written and verbal communication skills to deliver pitches, sell products, and win repeat customers. You’ll find sales roles in a wide variety of industries, including retail, real estate, insurance, manufacturing, financial services, and travel.
Sales development representative (SDR) salary: $49,179
As a salesperson, you may be tasked with:
- Explaining the benefits of a product or service
- Managing client relationships
- Analyzing existing and potential needs of a client
- Resolving complaints
- Reaching out to new clients through cold calling
Tips for getting the job: Not all sales positions require a degree. But communications skills could help you learn to anticipate the needs of customers and clearly communicate benefits that meet those needs.
Life After Tech
Where do our graduates work? The answer is as varied as the profession itself. Some go straight for big-time journalism in magazines, newspapers, radio, television, and in advertising and public relations.
Graduates have worked for publications of various businesses and departments such as Apple, IBM, Major League Baseball, American Automobile Association, General Telephone, Tennessee School Boards Association, State of Tennessee Tourism Department, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Hospital Corporation of America, Memphis Chicks, Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee Farm Bureau and State of Alabama Highway Department.
A former student newspaper reporter is producing television advertising for an ad agency in New York. Another landed a job at CNN. Another works for television's PM magazine in Chattanooga. Another is editor of a major woman's magazine. Still another is writing frontier and Civil War novels. One graduate got a job at the state capitol as assistant press secretary for the governor. Now she is the public information officer for the Tennessee Department of Safety.
Many are happy working for small city newspapers such as Cookeville's Herald-Citizen, Crossville Chronicle, McMinnville's Southern Standard, Lebanon's Democrat, Carthage's Courier, the Decatur Daily in Alabama or the Warner Robbins Daily Sun in Georgia. Some are working in radio and television in Cookeville, Sparta, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
COMM 4853 (3 credit hours) and COMM 4856 (6 credit hours
- Communication and Marketing of Tennessee Tech (Photographers, Content assistants, writers)
- Delmonaco Winery (Event Planning)
- Young Life (Recruitment and Counselors)
- Enterprise (Management Trainee)
JOUR 4853 (3 credit hours), JOUR 4856 (6 credit hours), and JOUR 4859 (9 credit hours)
- Communication and Marketing of Tennessee Tech (On-air Talent, Writers, photographers, etc.)
- WCTE: PBS Cookeville (Television Production)
- StoneCom (Street Team, Production assistants)
- Creative Control Magazine
- Disney World (Attractions Cast Member)