What Can I Do With a Communication Studies Degree

Business

Areas

  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Management
  • Human Resources
  • Training and Development
  • Labor Relations
  • Writing/Editing
  • Office Management

Employers

  • Product and service organizations
  • Retail stores
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Manufacturers
  • Financial companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Hospitals and other healthcare organizations
  • Print and electronic media
  • Other business corporations

Strategies

Develop strong verbal and written communication skills.
Demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills.
Learn to work well on a team.
Join related professional associations. Get involved in other campus organizations.
Take business courses or earn a business minor.
Gain experience through internships, part-time, or summer jobs.
Develop computer skills in areas such as spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.

Public Relations/Advertising

Areas

  • Public Relations
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Corporate Public Affairs
  • Development
  • Media Analysis/Planning
  • Creative Directing
  • Writing/Editing
  • Audience Analysis
  • Public Opinion Research

Employers

  • Private corporations
  • Public service organizations
  • Public opinion research firms
  • Public relations firms
  • Advertising agencies
  • Public opinion organizations
  • Radio and television companies
  • Sports and entertainment organizations
  • Hospitality and tourism industry
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Consulting firms
  • Freelance

Strategies

Develop excellent writing skills.
Gain experience through internships, even if unpaid.
Serve as public relations officer of an organization.
Take additional courses in marketing, advertising, public relations, or other area of interest.
Develop a portfolio of writing samples, ad campaigns, and other relevant work.
Join related professional associations.
Be willing to move to locations with greater numbers of job opportunities.
Be prepared to start at the bottom and work to more desirable positions.

Media

Areas

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Copywriting
  • Publishing
  • Producing
  • Managing/Directing
  • Research
  • Media Sales

Employers

  • Publishing firms including newspaper, magazine and book
  • Internet sites
  • Television and radio stations
  • Film industry

Strategies

Develop excellent interpersonal and presentation skills.
Take elective courses in journalism, broadcasting, public relations, and advertising.
Develop research skills.
Work for campus or local newspaper, radio station, or television station.
Get related experience through internships, even if unpaid.
Learn desktop publishing, webpage design, and other computer skills.

Non-Profit

Areas

  • Administration
  • Program Coordination
  • Grant Writing
  • Writing/Editing
  • Fundraising
  • Volunteer Coordination

Employers

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Professional associations
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Community centers
  • Philanthropies
  • Hospitals

Strategies

Take courses in psychology, sociology, or social work to broaden perspective.
Volunteer with community and campus organizations.
Learn to work well with different types of people.
Develop a wide array of skills including writing, speaking, budgeting, grant writing, and leadership.

Government

Areas

  • Public Information
  • Campaigning
  • Programming
  • Legislative Assistance
  • Research
  • Lobbying
  • Conflict Negotiation

Employers

  • All branches of local, state and federal government
  • Political parties
  • Political action committees

Strategies

Learn local, state, and federal government job application process.
Take courses in conflict management and develop negotiation skills.
Volunteer to work on a local political campaign.
Join related student organizations and earn leadership roles.
Find an internship with a government organization to get a foot in the door.
Maintain a strong grade point average as many government programs are very competitive.

Law

Areas

  • Law Assistance
  • Prosecution
  • Defense
  • Contractual
  • Corporate
  • Nonprofit or Public Interest
  • Government
  • Mediation
  • Lobbying

Employers

  • Law firms
  • Government agencies
  • Corporations
  • Public interest organizations
  • Private practice
  • Colleges and universities

Strategies

Plan on attending a specialized paralegal training school or law school depending upon area of interest.
Participate in a debate or forensic team to hone communication skills.
Join pre-law organizations.
Obtain a part-time or summer job at a law office.
Take courses in and gain experience with mediation and conflict resolution.

Education

Areas

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Student Support Services including: Admissions, Advising, Development, Student Affairs, Recruitment, Alumni Affairs

Employers

  • Colleges and universities

Strategies

Ph.D. required for teaching and research in colleges and universities. Maintain a high grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations. Earn a master's degree in college student personnel or a related field for administrative positions. Get involved in campus leadership roles in residence halls, student unions/activities, programming boards, etc.

General Information

  • Develop strong written and verbal communication skills and excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Get experience with public speaking by joining Toastmasters.
  • Learn to work well on a team and develop leadership skills.
  • Explore specializations within major and professional field. Select electives to enhance knowledge in area(s) of interest.
  • Obtain experience through part-time employment, co-op, internships, or volunteer experience.
  • Get involved in campus activities and professional organizations.
  • Speech communication is a broad degree that can lead to job opportunities in many different fields. Skills and experiences gained through co-curricular activities, internships, part-time jobs, and volunteering are critical in shaping a career path.
  • Speech communication is also good preparation for graduate school in many disciplines.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer