Communication & Media Studies
Types of Degrees Communication & Media Studies Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many communication and media studies graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Communication & Media Studies Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to communications and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for Communications Majors
According to O*NET survey takers, a major in communications should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Skills for Communications Majors
The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to communications:
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Abilities for Communications Majors
Communications majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
What Can You Do With a Communication & Media Studies Major?
People with a communications degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers||7.6%||$62,170|
|Public Address System and Other Announcers||2.6%||$27,720|
|Public Relations Specialists||8.9%||$60,000|
Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Communication & Media Studies?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of communications majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||541|
|Hispanic or Latino||486|
Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Communications. About 15.4% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
How Much Do Communication & Media Studies Majors Make?
Master’s Degree Starting Salary
Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that communication and media studies students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $46,450 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $40,225 (25th percentile) and $54,750 (75th percentile).
We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to communications so take that into consideration.
Salaries According to BLS
Average salaries range from $51,630 to $73,090 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to communications. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Communication & Media Studies
Some careers associated with communications require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
Find out what the typical degree level is for communications careers below.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||6.8%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||6.5%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||1.5%|
|Some College Courses||6.8%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||3.5%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||0.8%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||0.3%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||0.5%|
Online Communication & Media Studies Programs
In 2018-2019, 1,408 schools offered a communications program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||96||14|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||28||2|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||2||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||92||2|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Communication & Media Studies Worth It?
The median salary for a communications grad is $68,440 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 72% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $570,800 after 20 years!
Top Ranking Lists for Communication & Media Studies
Explore Major by State
District of Columbia
Majors Related to Communication & Media Studies
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to communications.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Public Relations & Advertising||2,370|
|Radio, Television & Digital Communication||1,666|
|Communication & Journalism (Other)||636|
*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By UNU-WIDER from Helsinki, Finland under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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