What Can I Do with a Strategic Communications Degree?

An ordinary communications degree teaches students a variety of highly marketable skills; but a strategic communications degree further specializes those skills with an even greater emphasis on professional communications theory. 

From improving internal communications to enhancing marketing campaigns, graduates with a strategic communications degree learn about business communications in a greater level of depth. But what kind of skills do you learn? What does a strategic communications salary look like? And how do those skills translate into strategic communications careers?

 

What is a Strategic Communications Major?

A strategic communications major provides students with an in-depth look at the way people, groups, and organizations communicate. That makes the core of any strategic communications degree an understanding of public relations: how organizations use communication to influence opinion and adapt in response to listening to public outreach.

But the strategic communications major is also well-rounded, blending both professional and human communications theory. Graduates are prepared to apply the strategies and principles of communication with digital media strategies and other evolving methods of communication. For example, some of the courses you might be taking with the Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications at National University might include:

  • COM 354 Professional Presentations
  • COM 385 Interactive Storytelling
  • COM 394 Strategic Writing
  • COM 404 Media Management
  • COM 441 Communication Strategies
  • COM 344 Organizational Communication
  • COM 443 Interactive & Mobile Campaigns

Cumulatively, the skills learned in these courses can prepare a strategic communications major to create context-appropriate content across a wide range of media and technologies. But what other kind of skills do you learn?

 

Strategic Communications Degree Skills & Curriculum

By design, the focus of a strategic communications degree provides a variety of highly employable skills. Students learn data analysis, market research, and ways to improve communication planning to smooth company workflows. These kinds of skills are necessary for virtually any project or industry that requires strategic planning.

A strategic communications major learns to apply principles of persuasion, work in various platform/media formats, adapt messages to different audiences, and evaluate communication events. But while learning more about theories of communication, students also develop critical soft skills. 

According to Indeed.com, communication is the most employable skill because it’s an essential part of nearly any job. Communication is also an integral component of teamwork; which research consistently ranks among the top most employable skills. In short, learning things like strategic thinking, communication, and the qualities of leadership can prepare graduates for a wide range of different career opportunities. 

Statista.com estimates that among recent graduates, communications degrees have a low 3.6% unemployment rate. That figure is nearly identical to studying marketing finance and electrical engineering. It also means recent strategic communications graduates are also less likely to be unemployed than students of physics, math, and computer science.

 

What Jobs Are Available with a Strategic Communications Degree?

Political research, mass media marketing, healthcare, education – strategic communications graduates end up working in many different fields. PayScale.com has estimated that the average salary for a bachelor’s Strategic Communication Degree is $50,663. However, it’s difficult to create an accurate estimate of a strategic communications salary without looking closer at industry and experience. 

A strategic communications degree prepares students for leadership positions: especially in relation to especially marketing, advertising, PR, corporate communication. Consequently, many of the most common strategic communications jobs have “manager” in their title, while the second most common positions are customer service representatives and HR personnel.

But a strategic communications major is also prepared to enter many of the same fields as a less specialized communications degree. Students are prepared for positions that require project management, content creation, strategic thinking… but also positions that only require communication skills as a foundation for growth. 

For example, many of the highest earners with a strategic communications degree will go on to become physicians, sales engineers, or involved with another interdisciplinary field. That makes it difficult to encapsulate the full range of jobs for strategic communications majors, but exploring a few example strategic communications careers can help.

 

Example Jobs You Can Get with a Strategic Communications Degree:

Digital Media Strategist Understanding the nuances of digital media communication and being able to develop “on-brand” content, a strategic communications degree can prepare graduates for the responsibilities of a digital media strategist. (PayScale estimated annual salary: $52,808.)

Brand Manager – Monitoring how a product or service is positioned with the consciousness of the public at large, analyzing and reacting to that data, a brand manager utilizes many of the essential skills taught by a strategic communications degree. (PayScale estimated annual salary: $70,991.)

Marketing/Advertising Manager – Overseeing promotions, advertising, and generating interest in products/services, a marketing/advertising manager must leverage a variety of essential communications skills. (BLS estimated annual salary: $135,900.)

Public Relations Specialists – Most organizations need to influence the way they’re perceived by the public. Mastering strategic thinking in relation to public perceptions prepares strategic communications graduates to write effective press releases, organize press conferences, and other core duties of a PR specialist. (BLS estimated annual salary: $61,150.) 

Journalist – As professional communicators, strategic communications degrees can naturally be used for careers informing the public. Journalists can work in TV, radio, print, digital media, around an equally wide range of topics, sports, art, politics, economics, etc. (BLS estimated annual salary: $46,270.)

HR Specialist – Managing employee relationships, aiding recruitment and training, an HR specialist is a natural career path for anyone with a background in communications. In a larger organization, these career paths can have considerable opportunity for growth. (BLS estimated annual salary: $67,760)

 

Strategic Communications at National University

National University is a regionally accredited institution that offers a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications. Our program helps students acquire the skills employers want the most, preparing them to enter a variety of leadership positions in marketing, advertising, PR, corporate communication. 

Our 4-week program makes it possible to finish your degree faster while learning to develop campaign messaging strategies, create content that fills strategic objectives, and develop effective multi-platform messages.  

 

Additional Sources

DataUSA – strategic communications jobs by popularity 

https://datausa.io/profile/cip/09

Indeed – most employable skills

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/employability-skills 

LinkedIn – most valuable soft skills

https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/trends-and-research/2020/most-in-demand-hard-and-soft-skills 

PayScale – Brand Manager

https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Brand_Manager/Salary

PayScale – Strategic Com. Salary

https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Bachelor_of_Arts_(BA)%2C_Strategic_Communication/Salary

PayScale – BA strategic com degree

https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Bachelor_of_Arts_(BA)%2C_Strategic_Communication/Salary

PayScale – Digital media strategist 

https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Social_Media_Marketing_Manager/Salary

BLS – marketing/advertising manager

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm 

BLS – journalist 

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/reporters-correspondents-and-broadcast-news-analysts.htm 

BLS – PR Specialist

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm

BLS – HR Specialist

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131071.htm 

Statistica  – unemployment rate of college grads by major

https://www.statista.com/statistics/642043/unemployment-rate-of-us-college-graduates-by-major/