Peter Drucker – who often is credited as being the man who created the concept of management – said that “the most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

Drucker was a writer, professor, management consultant and a self-described social ecologist who had a unique way of exploring the means by which humans not only organize themselves, but also interact with one another. His insights into the best communication practices made him one of the most sought-after experts in his field until his death in 2005.

While not everyone naturally is a good communicator, it is a skill that thankfully can be taught. It also is a skill that is invaluable to many professions.

Those who possess skills and the proper training and degree in communications can work as reporters, linguists or in public relations. Virtually any management position today requires the ability to communicate effectively.

Education Requirements

An associate degree in communications – which takes 18 months to two years to complete – will introduce students to the fundamentals of communications. They will develop skills in basic press release writing, working with the media, interacting with consumers, crisis communications and event planning. Candidates who graduate with an associate degree in communications can work in entry-level positions within the industry, such as public relations assistant or marketing assistant. They also may be qualified to work as reporters for both print and broadcast media.

An undergraduate degree in communications, also known as a bachelor’s degree, will take four years to complete. Students enrolled in an undergraduate degree program can expect to focus on communication strategies and skills which will help them better engage their target audience through social media campaigns, marketing campaigns and other presentations.
Candidates who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communications can work in advertising, marketing and public relations or as print or broadcast journalists.

Graduate degrees in communications – also referred to as master’s degrees – focus on the strategy involved in delivering responsible, positive messages. Students can expect to learn how to employ a global perspective through various communication methods. Candidates who possess a master’s degree are eligible to work in management positions within the communications industry.

Doctorate degrees in communication are available, but generally only required for those who wish to teach communications at a college or university.

Due to the nature of the coursework included in a communications program, both online and traditional classroom settings are available. Working professionals who wish to expand their knowledge of communications may find it more convenient to participate in an online program. Regardless of the degree level being pursued, students are advised to select a program with accreditation from a reputable accrediting agency.

Future Outlook

Demand for those trained in communications is expected to grow by 12 percent between now and 2020, according to information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth rate is average compared with other business and industry during the same time frame.

The average annual salary is dependent on the type of degree possessed and the area in which the candidate chooses to use their degree. Public relations specialists, for example, can expect to earn an average of $54,170 annually, while reporters and correspondents can expect to make $35,870 on average.

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