With the growing ubiquity of digital and web-based technologies, organizations in all industries must practice clear and cogent communication across multiple platforms. While some innovations have helped to streamline communication opportunities, in many ways communication itself is harder than ever: one misinterpreted message can have disproportionally large consequences, whether it’s a confusing support guideline, a misleading internal memo, or a bad tweet. Communication in the 21st century is high risk, high reward.
In light of the above, organizations are hiring communication professionals in droves, and universities are offering online communication degrees to keep up with demand and give students scheduling flexibility. While online bachelor’s and master’s in communication are available, associate degrees in communication are excellent for working professionals, adult learners, and non-traditional students who want specific, accelerated technical training in communication.
Job Prospects for Associate’s in Communication Degree-Holders
The future is bright for communications professionals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Media and communication occupations are predicted to add 45,300 new jobs through 2026, which include public relations specialists (23,300 jobs) and technical writers (11% job growth). Marketing occupations are predicted to expand, as well. Experts predict entry-level roles like market researchers, analysts, and social media specialists to grow as much as 23%, or about three times the national average; and mid- to upper-level advertising, promotions, and marketing roles should grow 9%.
Let’s take a closer look at specific jobs for professionals with an associate’s in communication.
Common Jobs that an Associate’s Degree in Communications Prepares You For
Communication planners can have a variety of titles and tiers, from specialists to managers, but the essential skill set remains the same, including proficiencies in social media marketing, web content management, corporate communications, and media and public relations.On the technical side, communication planners should be able to utilize programs like HootSuite, FileMaker Pro, Google Analytics, front-end programming language like HTML and CSS, and best practices for SEO and SEM.
Social Media Communications Specialist
Median Annual Salary: $49,198
Social media communications specialists plan, write, and curate web content to develop an organization’s brand identity. Because of the nature of the position, most work is unsupervised and up to the individual’s judgment – meaning high-quality experience for entry-level work. Additional responsibilities may include social media monitoring, analyzing online trends, and timely and personal community engagement. With an average work experience of less than two years, this is a perfect job for anyone with an associate’s in communication.
Public Relations Specialist
Median Annual Salary: $49,440
The public relations specialist prepares and disseminates information on behalf of an organization via multiple media platforms and channels. In particular, the role promotes, manages, and develops brand identity, and assists in crisis communication when necessary. Unlike social media specialists, PR specialists report directly to a supervisor or manager, and a quarter work in the media industry. With an average work experience of 0-2 years, this is another idea job for professionals with an associate’s degree in communication.
Median Annual Salary: $69,850
Also called technical communicators, jobs for technical writers are predicted to rise 11% through 2026, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Primary responsibilities include synthesizing complex and technical information into a core message through instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents. Nearly half of technical writers have less than a year’s experience, and 70% have either a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Over a quarter work in software and networking, followed by education, government, and nonprofits; aerospace and defense; and business and financial services.
While brand managers generally have at least a bachelor’s degree, a supplementary associate’s in communication can definitely land you a brand manager position. Responsibilities include planning, development, and implementation of brand strategy; brand performance analysis; and coordination with other departments to drive growth. About 10% of brand managers have less than a year’s experience.
Additional Communication Jobs
Social Media Communication Manager
Public Relations Manager
Common Specializations for Master’s Degrees in Communication
Communications professionals work in nearly every industry – business, government, tech, media, healthcare, law, marketing, education, and more – so associate’s degrees in communication tend to feature similarly wide-ranging specializations and concentrations, including:
Global Strategic Communications
Advocacy and Social Impact
Digital Strategies and Analytics
Earn Professional Certifications and Specialized Graduate Certificates in Communication
In addition to earning an online associate’s degree in communication, online certificates can help current or aspiring communication professionals develop specific technical skills and build your resume:
Navigate information-rich environments using current communication trends and models, e.g., data scraping, big data analysis, cross-cultural communication strategy, etc.
Utilize best practices for online communication, including SEO, SEM, and Google Analytics and AdWords
Leverage social media platforms for brand development
Analyze communication data and tools to enhance methods and strategies