We've come a long way from Alexander Graham Bell and his first scratchy telephone call. Today, we "talk" with text, Skype, and wall posts. We get news and information from television and the Internet in addition to old stand-bys such as newspapers and magazines. Social media--from Facebook to YouTube to Twitter--has started a revolution in how we interact with one another. At the forefront of it all are the professionals working in the communications and media field.
Career Options in Communications and Media
If you are interested in a communications career, you have all sorts of options. Since the field covers a wide variety of mediums, you'll find everything from bloggers to media consultants in this industry. Whether you want to be in front of the camera or behind it, a communications career can be right for you.
Some popular careers in communications and media include:
- Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technician
- Translator and Interpreter
- Public Relation Specialist
- News Reporter, Analyst or Correspondent
- Radio Operator
- Television, Video or Motion Picture Camera Operator
- Film Editor
- Technical Writer
All these careers share a common thread: they impact how we gather information, access media, and communicate with one another.
On a daily basis, communication specialists may have to meet tight deadlines and juggle multiple tasks. Although it can be challenging, communications professionals often enjoy an energetic and exciting work environment. While some career choices, such as writing and photography, lend themselves well to working alone, many PR jobs are found in media agencies or an advertising firm.
The Right Education for a Career in Communications and Media
Media jobs are in high demand. Many individuals are intrigued by the opportunity to work in front of a camera or be part of the motion picture industry. However, without the right training, it may be hard to break into these fields.
Today's public relations jobs often require that you have a bachelor's degree in a communications-related major. These may include:
- Public Relations
Within these degree programs, your coursework covers a variety of subject areas including finance, advertising, creative writing, and business administration.
After you graduate, the best way to break into the communications and media industry is to locate an internship. Many colleges and universities can arrange for an internship on your behalf. These may be paid or unpaid opportunities with media agencies or an advertising firm. Having the opportunity to work side-by-side with an established publicist gives you the experience and contacts needed to find your own full-time employment.
What to Expect from Your Communications and Media Career
Individuals looking for communications jobs often follow a career path that leads them from college to an entry-level position where they work until they become PR experts.
Entry-level jobs often involve providing support services such as monitoring media outlets, preparing brochures, and maintaining files. Over time, you begin to work on PR projects that expand your knowledge and skill base until you are finally ready to work as a publicist or other communications specialist.
It is interesting to note that some communications professionals come to their jobs as a second career. For example, government officials may be brought on as media consultants or a computer software specialist may be used for branding design. These individuals are not specifically trained in communications, but they have skills and connections that make them valuable to media agencies.
The Future of Communications and Media Careers
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most communications careers are expected to grow in the coming years. For example, if you are interested in becoming a public relations specialist, job openings in this field are projected to grow 24 percent by 2018. Advertising communications jobs are also expected to grow an average of 12-15 percent in the next decade.
Annual salaries for communication jobs vary depending on your experience and field, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the following median incomes:
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
|Media and Communication Workers||$63,130||575,630||5.8%|
|Media and Communication Equipment Workers||$55,520||234,960||2%|
Although PR jobs can be found nationwide, many public relations jobs are concentrated in California and New York.