Different Programs Focus on Different Roles

Communication has been called the key that opens all other doors. It is the first principle of politics; it’s one of the founding laws of science; it’s the heart of all great literature; it’s the basis for all successful business endeavors. And above all, it is the glue that holds society together.

In this wired age, people can’t think past their communication degree. After all, how else can they do all their work? At the same time, journalists, public relations officers, government agents, even entrepreneurs understand the critical importance of the media as a form of mass communication and have devoted themselves to educating themselves about its many facets.

Communications majors explore the many different forms that communication takes in our lives from the personal to the political arena. These communication skills can be used in every aspect of our lives. In the business environment, you’ll learn the skills needed to negotiate deals, develop products and services, and promote your company. In the social media world, communications majors explore the way that individuals and groups use online media to communicate. While these media outlets vary widely in their purposes, they all serve to create a positive experience for those participating.

Beyond the business realm, graduates with communications degrees find work in a variety of settings. The media, advertising agencies, publishing houses, the Internet, communications departments of schools and universities, and nonprofit organizations are just a few of the places where communications professionals find work. But there is even more important than finding a job: communication skills need to be developed. For graduates looking to build a successful career, it is important to choose a major that prepares students to not only be great communicators, but also to become proficient in writing, listening, acting and managing others.

Some communications specialists may focus on writing and the written word. Others will be more concerned with the oral style, taking courses in communication skills like oral public speaking and persuasive writing. And, of course, some may have a flair for the dramatic. While the arts may not be a main focus of a communications specialist’s studies, these degree recipients often end up doing theater work, directing theater shows or creating videos for nonprofit organizations. It is no wonder then that many communications specialists are also interested in film production, video editing and corporate training programs.

For the professional who wants to learn more about mass communications, an associate degree in communications is the best choice. An associate degree will allow the student to not only focus on broad communications themes like mass media, advertising and PR, but also specific topics like government and political communication, advertising for nonprofits and local businesses, and the ever-popular business and advertising topics. With an associate degree, students will be able to take courses in mass communications, research methods and design, writing, oral communication, public speaking, psychology of communication and more. While these aren’t the only topics that can earn a communications associate degree, these are some of the most common courses that are taken and some of the best preparation that can be given to a student entering the profession.

Most often, the coursework for an associate in communications program will include a large amount of writing, as well. Students may find that they enjoy reading, writing and even reviewing others’ works. The skills that are gained by working in a communications specialist capacity may be used in other careers, such as writing for a magazine or newspaper or contributing articles to websites and academic journals. A communications specialist may find employment as a writer or editor in a major publication, contributing to an online newsroom or even working as an education writer, teaching a writing class or writing articles for a web site focused on education.

Most graduate students will find that they enjoy communicating with others about a number of different topics, from business to religion to art to personal growth and happiness. This is not surprising when one considers that communication is integral to each of these areas. Graduate students will have a lot of work to choose from when choosing a graduate program that will allow them to explore these various interests and enhance their own communication skills. Many communication programs focus on communication, marketing and public relations, which are great career choices for graduates interested in pursuing journalism, writing or communications. Communication programs that provide internships and apprenticeships allow students to learn more about the field while gaining valuable experience and contacts.

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