Best Online Associate in Communication Programs
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In associate in communication programs, learners explore how organizations communicate with designated audiences. Graduates can work in a variety of settings including media outlets and nonprofit organizations.
An online associate in communication is an investment of time and money. An associate degree typically takes two years of full-time study, or 3-4 years of part-time study to complete. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the average cost of tuition and fees at two-year colleges averaged $3,781 per year in 2020-2021. Generally, online students can save on additional expenses like transportation and room and board.
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Graduates with an associate in communication can pursue some well-paying and in-demand opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that advertising sales agents earned a median salary of $53,310, while broadcasting technicians earned a median of $51,280. These earnings are higher than the median salary for all occupations.
The BLS projects media communications jobs to grow by 14% from 2020-2030, faster than the 8% average for all occupations.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Communication Program?
Communication integrates business theory and the social sciences. This field may be suitable for people with strong creative thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills with an interest in business and technology.
Coursework typically covers journalism, digital marketing, business-to-business communication, mass media, advertising, and social media. Although internships are rarely required, many learners choose to supplement their in-class learning with hands-on work experiences that reflect their career goals.
Associate in communication programs typically require 60 course credits. While full-time students can often graduate in four semesters, or two years of study, program length can vary significantly for students who pursue part-time, asynchronous, or accelerated options.
In this interdisciplinary major, some students choose a concentration that aligns with their specific interests or career goals. Some common concentrations include:
- Digital publishing
- Social media management
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Popular Online Associate in Communication Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Communication Program?
Students explore the cultural, political, and sociological impacts of mass media. Learners examine how media is distributed and platforms have evolved over time. They also study what mass media laws and how they shape cultural and individual values.
Marketing for Integrated Marketing Communications
In this course, learners gain a foundational understanding of integrated marketing communications. They study how developing strong marketing strategies can help a company or organization compete in a global marketplace.
Advertising and Promotion
Students learn various theories and applications of advertising, and how retailers manufacturers employ key principles of promotion. Learners use case studies to evaluate and critique promotional strategies.
This workshop gives learners the opportunity to practice writing press releases, promotional campaigns, and news features based on current events and featured products.
Audiences and Media
In this course, students explore the relationship between media and consumerism, including how media can be curated to meet visibility and advertising objectives. Learners explore how companies research target demographics, budget promotional initiatives, and develop media campaigns.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Communication Program?
Students applying to online degree programs submit the same application materials as their in-person counterparts. Nearly all schools require prospective students to submit a formal application, typically through online platforms like the Common App.
Applicants typically have to submit proof of high school graduation or GED certificate, plus transcripts from all secondary and postsecondary schools that they have attended. Some students may be able to transfer credits from other institutions, or in some cases, work experience.
Although a growing number of colleges have become test-optional, applicants may want to include strong SAT or ACT scores to showcase their academic capabilities.
Students may also have to submit written materials like application essays and letters of recommendation to give colleges a more holistic representation of their goals, abilities, and character.
What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Communication Degree?
There are a number of in-demand opportunities available to graduates with an online associate in communication. The BLS projects that between 2020 and 2030, the number of jobs available for broadcasting, sound engineering, and video technicians will grow by a substantial 21%, while the number of jobs of announcers and DJs will grow by 15%. This is much higher than the 8% average growth for all other occupations.
Graduates with an associate in communications can also find relatively well-paying jobs, although salary prospects depend greatly on location, experience level, and job title. Communications professionals also have the opportunity to earn more within specific niches and specializations like journalism or copywriting.
The BLS reports broadcast, sound, and video technicians earned a median annual salary of $49,050 in 2021, but technicians who worked in the motion picture and sound recording industries earned a median of $60,540. In the same year, advertising sales representatives earned a median of $52,340.
See where an online associate in communication can take you. Learn more about communications careers.
These professionals support the marketing team. They may collect or organize market research data to be analyzed by higher-level marketing professionals. Marketing assistants also complete administrative tasks like researching campaign costs or synthesizing information into spreadsheets or folders.
Average Annual Salary: $39,994 (July 2022)
Audio and Video Technicians
These technicians set up and operate lighting, cameras, sound, and recording equipment. They may oversee sound and lighting equipment for live shows, broadcast media, or film productions. Audio and video technicians often digitize recordings and work closely with video editors and other production staff.
Average Annual Salary: $56,086 (July 2022)
Announcers and DJs
Announcers and DJs typically work in entertainment mediums like radio and television. They may conduct interviews and present sporting events, news, music, or human-interest content. They organize media, use scripts to outline their content, and conduct research to provide informed commentary or create more engaging interviews.
Median Annual Salary: $45,810
Advertising Sales Agents
These professionals represent a variety of media and advertising platforms, such as television networks, podcasts, and digital publishers. They sell advertising space to partnering companies or organizations. They may also reach out to potential advertisers, grow a network of sponsors, and create presentations that promote the efficacy of their platforms.
Median Salary: $52,340
Public Relations Coordinator
Public relations coordinators manage an organization or individual’s public image, typically collaborating with PR and marketing teams. These professionals help organize promotions campaigns, press releases, social media posts, and events. They must adhere to company-specific branding and use promotional strategies that align with an organization’s public image and media presence. Public relations coordinators typically need a bachelor's degree.
Average Annual Salary: $43,384 (July 2022)
Communication Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Many graduates with an online associate in communication use their degrees as a stepping stone for a four-year degree. It is common for graduates to pursue bachelor’s degrees in communication, journalism, marketing, or film. Professionals who wish to continue their education without a formal degree can consider certificate programs to specialize their skills.
Communication professionals with bachelor’s degrees can pursue higher-paying roles like video editor, marketing manager, or public relations specialist.
Some graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees like a master’s in communication, MBA in marketing, or doctorate in communications to pursue leadership positions or compete for more prestigious opportunities. Master’s or doctoral degrees also allow communications professionals to teach at a postsecondary level.
How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Communication Program?
According to the NCES, the average yearly cost of college tuition and fees at a 2-year institution was $3,781 in 2020-2021. During the same academic year, the average public college tuition at a 4-year institution was $9,375. Public school students can often access affordable in-state tuition.
These figures do not include additional expenses such as room and board, transportation, and meal plans. Although tuition rates are comparable for online and in-person programs, virtual students are often spared many of these costs.
Online programs feature more flexible formats. Although many students follow two year, full-time schedules, others prefer to condense their learning through accelerated programs. Students with prior professional or family obligations may find part-time schedules more realistic.
Remote learners may also choose synchronous or asynchronous course formats. Synchronous courses consist of set meeting times, while asynchronous options let learners view lectures when convenient.
Although online learners can access associate in communication programs without having to relocate, many students choose to pursue online courses offered by local colleges or universities. Students may wish to take advantage of affordable in-state tuition rates or regional scholarships. Many learners embrace the opportunity to access campus amenities, meet with faculty members face-to-face, or take hybrid courses.
When choosing online associate in communication programs, learners should look for schools with accreditation. Agencies evaluate colleges and award accreditation to institutions that meet standards of academic excellence. Online associate in communication programs can be accredited by organizations like the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Prospective students should look for schools with ample student service infrastructures like tutoring centers, academic advising, writing centers, and digital libraries. Colleges should also provide career support infrastructures like alumni networking platforms, internship postings, mentorship opportunities, and career counseling.
Best Accredited Online Associate in Communication Programs
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Best Online Associate in Communications Programs
Colorado Christian UniversityLocation
Based in Lakewood, CCU stands out for its affordable tuition and 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school's reputation for affordability and personalized learning extends to its online programs, which include an associate in communications.
The 60-credit online associate of arts in communication studies typically takes under two years to complete at an accelerated pace. Course topics for the major include communication and technology, communication law, and professional public speaking. Learners must also take an advanced seminar in biblical studies, helping learners integrate an evangelical worldview with the legal and ethical aspects of the communication field.
The major's 18 credits of core requirements articulate with CCU's online certificate in communication studies. CCU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
South Texas CollegeLocation
A public community college that serves approximately 31,000 students in the Rio Grande Valley region, South Texas College maintains its commitment to practical, affordable programs. The school's catalog currently features an online associate degree in communications.
The 60-credit online associate of arts in communication studies takes two years to complete and prepares learners for work in public relations. Course topics taken for the major include business and personal communication, discussion in small groups, and public speaking. The program culminates with an academic cooperative project integrating real-world work experience.
Many courses from the associate in communication studies articulate with the school's related associate degree in advertising and public relations. South Texas College holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Finger Lakes Community CollegeLocation
A public institution based in Canandaigua, New York, FLCC maintains seven regional campuses and a close affiliation with the State University of New York. Established in 1965, FLCC suits nontraditional learners on a budget. For the class of 2017, the school reports that 90% of graduates obtained full-time employment or continued their studies full time.
The school delivers its 64-credit associate of science in communications in a partly-online hybrid format. Most students complete the program in two years. Course topics include public speaking, video production, and introduction to mass communication. The curriculum allows learners to pursue specializations in digital video and communications. The program also offers a variety of professional internship opportunities to entry level learners.
Learners must maintain a 2.0 minimum GPA to graduate. FLCC holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Chippewa Valley Technical CollegeLocation
Eau Claire, WITuition
A bedrock of the Wisconsin Technical College System, with campuses throughout the state, CVTC furthers its commitment to helping nontraditional students through its online programs, including an online associate degree in communications.
The 60-credit associate of science in professional communications incorporates a strong writing component. The curriculum prepares learners for a career as a journalist, technical writer, or copywriter, with course topics encompassing writing for social media, grant writing, and technical writing. Credits earned for the associate in communication at CVTC articulate with several related graduate certificates in social media writing, grant writing, and technical writing.
The school gives applicants the option to apply for prior learning assessment for credit. CVTC holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Georgia Military CollegeLocation
Recognized as one of the most rigorous community colleges in the nation, GMC's strong reputation applies to its online programs. The public institution offers an affordable liberal arts-based education with a mission centered around building character.
The online associate degree in communications consists of 90-100 quarter credits and takes two years to complete. The curriculum primarily provides learners with a foundation for further undergraduate study in liberal arts topics. Course topics for the concentration include interpersonal communication, introduction to communication theory, and public speaking.
GMC's core requirements articulate with many four-year institutions nationwide, giving graduates plentiful transfer options not limited to regional schools. GMC holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Sinclair Community CollegeLocation
Established in 1887 in Dayton, Ohio, Sinclair continues to rank as one of the best community colleges in its home state and offers a range of affordable online programs. The school offers an online associate degree in communications geared toward transfer students.
The 62-credit associate of arts in communication studies usually takes two years to complete and prepares graduates to transfer to a variety of regional colleges through the Ohio Transfer Module. Coursework includes an introduction to software applications, mass communication, and small group communication. The program culminates with completion of either a communication studies capstone project or a supervised independent study seminar.
Online students access asynchronously-formatted coursework through the eLearn learning management system. Sinclair holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Monroe Community CollegeLocation
Based in Rochester, New York, MCC offers affordable higher education options for transfer students in the State University of New York system. MCC's catalog features numerous online programs, including an online associate degree in communications.
The 60-credit associate of science in communication and media studies takes two years to complete, preparing graduates for work in settings such as performing arts, media, and advertising. The program offers three tracks: public relations, speech, and journalism. The main coursework for the major covers topics such as interpersonal speech communication, small group communication, and media literacy.
Graduates leave the program able to evaluate the impact of mass media on communication in modern society. MCC holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Saint Paul CollegeLocation
Saint Paul, MNTuition
Serving about 13,000 students in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, SPC also enrolls many degree-seekers in fully online or hybrid courses. Preparing ambitious students for high-demand careers, SPC takes pride in its emphasis on values such as respect, integrity, and excellence.
The 60-credit online associate degree in communications and media studies takes two years to complete, and prepares graduates to transfer into a bachelor's program in communication studies at a Minnesota school. Coursework for the concentration includes gender communication, family communication, and special topics in English. Graduates leave the program with a skillset applicable to work in journalism, media relations, and sales.
Applicants must present a 2.0 minimum GPA for consideration for admission. SPC holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Northampton Community CollegeLocation
Founded in 1967 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, NCC maintains campuses throughout the state. The school's affordable online offerings include an online associate degree in communications.
The 60-credit associate of arts in communication studies generally takes two years to complete and prepares graduates for transfer to a four-year college. Aside from general education requirements, coursework includes intercultural communication, communication theory, and mass media and society. The program allows learners to customize their degree by choosing a specialization such as mass communications, communication technology, or performing arts.
Online learners access primarily asynchronous coursework through the Blackboard learning portal. NCC holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Lone Star CollegeLocation
The Woodlands, TXTuition
Established in 1972, LSC boasts a strong reputation in Houston, Texas, and supports civic responsibility and serving 90,000 students at its campuses statewide. The public community college also offers fully online programs, such as an associate in communications.
The 60-credit associate of arts degree in visual communication takes two years to complete. Coursework encompasses digital imaging, typography, and web design. The program culminates with either a portfolio development project or a real-world cooperative education project in commercial and advertising art. LSC students may apply up to 48 credits earned towards its graphic design level II certificate to the associate in communications degree.
LSC holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Communication Programs
Is an associate degree in communication worth it?
Many prospective students wonder if an associate in communication will be worth it. From a financial standpoint, individuals with an associate degree earn more than those with just a high school diploma. According to BLS data, people with an associate degree earned a median of $963 per week in 2021, while those with a high school diploma earned a median of $809.
People interested in media, marketing, social media, and communication careers may have difficulty entering these fields without any postsecondary education. Most entry-level jobs in these disciplines require professionals to hold at least an associate degree.
How fast can I get an associate in communication degree online?
Associate degrees typically take two years of full-time study to complete, however some learners can graduate in as little as one year. Some schools offer accelerated programs, which often consist of fast-paced and demanding course schedules.
Students may shorten their program lengths by transferring previously earned credits or AP credits, using work or life experiences for college credit, or testing out of general education requirements.
Is an online associate degree in communication credible?
Many accredited institutions offer online associate degrees. Virtual students access the same course materials and faculty members as their in-person counterparts. As an increasing number of students pursue postsecondary credentials online, more employers are recognizing online degrees favorably.
According to a 2018 study conducted by Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy, 92% of employers perceive online degrees from well-known, accredited institutions as legitimate. Colleges award the same degrees to remote and in-person learners, and a diploma earned online looks identical to one earned in-person.
How much money can I make with an associate in communication?
Salary potential depends greatly on position and industry. The BLS reports that announcers and DJs earned a median of $45,810 in 2021, while those working in TV broadcasting earned $60,790. In the same year, advertising sales representatives earned a median of $52,340, while those employed in the advertising and public relations industry earned $60,770.
Is an associate degree in communication in demand?
As commerce, advertising, and entertainment platforms evolve, demand for communication professionals is projected to grow. According to BLS projections, between 2020 and 2030, the number of communications jobs is projected to grow by 14%, exceeding the national average growth rate of 8%.
Some roles are projected to be especially in demand. The number of roles for announcers and DJs is projected to grow by 15%, accounting for 8,100 new jobs. The number of broadcasting technicians is projected to grow by 21%, accounting for 28,600 new jobs.