Studying communications provides students with a wide range of skills in public relations, journalism, and multimedia that can be applied to a variety of careers in nearly every kind of business and organization. Online degree programs in this field may include training in writing, marketing and advertising, and entertainment, along with practical skills and professional guidance to help students navigate their many potential job prospects after graduation. In addition to PR and marketing techniques, ideal candidates for this field are interested in building interpersonal relationships, networking, and learning the ins and outs of the communications industry. With an associate degree in communications, graduates may be qualified for entry-level jobs in sales, marketing, human resources, advertising, or public relations, among others.
Why an Associate Degree?
An associate degree is the minimum education requirement for many entry-level jobs in communications. Associate degree-holders may be eligible for entry-level jobs in broadcasting, public relations, advertising sales, and other media-related fields. Associate programs typically take two years to complete, and an online communications associate may be a smart option for someone seeking the added convenience and timely advantage of an e-learning format. The best associate degree programs online integrate an introduction to communications through courses in media writing, public relations, marketing, and advertising with practical training and media production experience.
Getting Into an Associate Degree Program
While admissions processes vary according to the granting institution, associate-level programs typically require minimum pre-requisites:
- High school diploma or GED
- Minimum GPA (varies by school)
- Application including statement of intent and/or application fees (as applicable, according to school)
Inside an Associate Degree Program
Earning an associate degree in communications online typically requires two years of study in basic communication tools, as well as career preparation. Associate-level courses should provide an introduction to mass media, various forms of cultural communication, and technology-related communication concepts and tools. Curriculum may include introduction to journalism, media writing, and principles of marketing, advertising, microeconomics, and critical thinking workshops. Graduates of an associate degree program in communications should gain a basic understanding of the field of public relations and communications, as well as entry-level professional skills.
Pursuing an online associate degree is ideal for those who need flexibility in their educational pursuits. The best online communications associate degrees offer many courses taught by the same professors that teach on-campus, and communications teachers are often working professionals with advanced expertise in the field. As the communications industry continues to be increasingly connected to digital media and new technologies, an online program introduces students to many of the tools and resources they may use once employed in this industry, through an exclusive Web platform specifically designed for e-learners. All assignments, teacher-student communication, research, and Webinars are conducted entirely via email, chat, or streaming media, online.
What’s Next for Public Policy Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
The field of communications is extremely broad, and offers a diverse range of career opportunities in various industries that incorporate media and public relations skills. Some introductory jobs including broadcast or sound engineer technicians, customer service reps, and select ad sales reps require minimal education and work experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), advertising sales agents, for example, may obtain communications training necessary for an entry-level position in this field through a communications associate degree program. Associate-degree holders often go on to pursue a higher degree in communications or a related field, in order to increase their job prospects and/or advance their current career.
For some, the next step after obtaining an associate-level education is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in communications. Both traditional and online programs exist at this level. Bachelor’s programs in communications typically require completion of an associate degree or partial college education for admission. With a communications bachelor’s degree, graduates may become writers, public relations managers, or advertising and marketing managers, among others. For students looking to achieve the utmost available qualifications in this field, a graduate program may provide eligibility for advanced positions in public relations or management, or research-related communications work.