Online Bachelor's Degree in Communication
Earning a bachelor’s degree in communication can help open doors in this broad field. Since most employers desire a candidate with knowledge and experience, acquiring a bachelor’s degree in communication, with focused coursework in a specialized field, is a great first-step towards pursuing these opportunities. Graduates often pursue careers in fields like advertising, writing, or interpreting.
Because requirements vary across colleges, so students should consult admissions policies or speak with a counselor at their desired school for specific details. Generally, however, admission into a bachelor’s degree program is dependent on the student having completed several things: a high school diploma or GED, an interview with an advisor, and proven proficiency in prerequisite skills.
Typically, colleges ask to arrange consultations between candidates and admissions advisers to determine whether they are eligible for the program. Proficiency in basic skills, such as reading writing or math, will be evaluated during the admissions process. In some cases, placement exams or foundational coursework are offered to ensure students are adequately placed in classes. If English is not your primary language then you may need to prove proficiency in English prior to arrival by providing TOEFL test scores or completing an equivalent assessment.
Coursework in communication tends to be broken into three sections: core basics, major coursework, and electives. This variety presents students with the opportunity to tailor their education to a particular interest or career objective. Since the field of communication is broad, students should be prepared to make decisions about an area of focus early on in their studies to ensure that they take courses that match their career goals.
While cores and elective courses may differ between schools, typical courses can be broken down into four types:
- Theory or basic skills of communication: These courses can be thought of as Communication 101. Students will be introduced to the field and will gain basic understanding of the importance of language. Examples may include Theories of Communication, Concepts and Skills in Communication, and Practical Uses of Theoretical Communication.
- Communication in different contexts: Courses like these will teach the role location, or context, plays in communication. The same way you would adjust your language for a small child, you will learn how to change the way you relate and communicate with different audiences. Examples may include Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Communication, Gender Communication, and Leadership and Managerial Communication.
- Speaking and writing techniques: In these courses, students will sharpen their language skills, both written and verbal. Examples may include Media Writing for Communication, Business and Professional Writing, and Persuasive Communication.
- Technology and media: Here, courses will specialize in recent technology and media platforms as they relate to the evolving field of communication. Examples may include Communication Technology and Tools for the Digital Age.
The length of online bachelor’s degree programs in communication vary between colleges, but can typically be completed within three to four years. However, because many programs are self-paced, program length is also dependent on individual diligence. Once they have completed all coursework and requirements, bachelor’s degree graduates typically have a firm grasp of various media channels, including their impact and efficacy. Upon graduation, students should have sharpened writing and speaking skills as well as insight into consumer psychology, market dynamics, and audience relation. Students should have refined their professional presentation abilities as well as learned various techniques of persuasion and conflict resolution.
Often, graduates will have a portfolio of compiled coursework or special projects. This portfolio may be shown to prospective employers as proof of competency. Specific degree programs also offer capstones, seminars, or internships which offer students real life, hands-on experience in the field.
A bachelor’s degree in communication could prepare you for pursuing a Master’s degree in the field. After successful completion of a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree may be attained within another two years of study, in most cases.
Employers in the following fields often require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in communication:
- Public Relations
- Interpreting and Translation
- Technical or Copy Writing
Industry trends show that job opportunities are on the rise in the fields of public relations and interpreting. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), employment rates in the field of public relations are projected to grow between 20 and 28 percent through 2020. Due to the rise in social media, employers are likely to look for public relations specialists who can use these new media channels effectively. The rate of employment in the field of interpreting and translating is expected to grow 42 percent by 2020, much higher than average. An ever-growing global marketplace will sustain the need for individuals who are multilingual and understand cultural context.
Online Degree Programs in Communication
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