Associate in Communications Program Guide
In today's interconnected and information-driven world, professionals skilled at effective communication are increasingly in demand. Employment in media and communications is expected to increase in the coming years — between 2019 and 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that more than 46,000 new jobs will be added to the field.
Students who earn an associate degree in communications can prepare for careers in media, advertising, and sales. This degree can also lay the groundwork for further study in the field.
Should I Get an Associate in Communications?
If you enjoy writing, public speaking, and sharing ideas, an associate in communications may be right for you.
If you enjoy writing, public speaking, and sharing ideas and information with others, an associate in communications may be right for you. The BLS projects that media and communications jobs will increase 4% between 2019 and 2029, which is on par with the projected job growth across all industries. However, some subfields within media and communications may grow more quickly. Public relations, for example, is projected to grow 7% between 2019 and 2029.
The time it takes to earn an associate degree in communications depends on several factors. While on-campus associate degree programs typically take two years of full-time study to complete, students can fulfill the requirements of some online associate degree in communications programs in less time by taking accelerated classes or enrolling throughout the year.
Although graduates of associate programs can qualify for some entry-level roles, many media and communications jobs require a bachelor's degree. Students planning to pursue further education should make sure their associate credits will count toward a four-year degree. Credits earned in programs at regionally accredited colleges and universities are usually transferable, but students should confirm this before deciding where to transfer.
What Will I Learn in a Communications Associate Program?
Communications is a broad field, and many programs have different emphases. Some focus on written communication — these may suit students who want to work as grant writers, copywriters, or technical writers. Other programs provide training in mass communications, which may appeal to students who plan to work in social media or advertising. Individuals interested in digital imaging and web design should consider a program focusing on visual communication.
Courses also vary by program. A communications program emphasizing writing may include classes like proposal/grant writing and writing for social media. Some programs may emphasize technical training in digital video production and editing, while others offer courses covering the media's relationship to society.
Students can choose to earn an associate of arts degree, an associate of science degree, or an associate of applied science degree in communications. An AAS degree is often a good choice for students who plan to look for work immediately after graduating. However, credits earned in an AAS program may be less likely to transfer, so if you plan to continue your education, make sure your AAS will count toward a bachelor's.
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What Can I Do With an Associate in Communications?
Communication professionals work in a variety of fields. Earning an associate degree in communications can be the first step toward a career as a copywriter, public relations specialist, broadcast technician, or journalist.
Although many communications roles require a bachelor's, graduates with an associate degree in communications may find work as broadcast, sound, and video technicians. Many associate degree-holders also find positions in customer service, office administration, and sales.
Popular Career Paths
Popular Continued Education Paths
How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Communications?
Salaries for communication professionals vary by profession. For example, the median pay for broadcast, sound, and video technicians was $45,510 in 2019, according to the BLS. Alternatively, secretaries and administrative assistants took home median wages of $39,850. Other communication professionals, such as reporters and public relations specialists, earn more. However, these positions usually require a bachelor's degree.
Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Communications Programs
Communications is a field of study focusing on how people share information and ideas. Most programs offer writing and public speaking courses, and some provide technical training in areas like broadcasting, visual communication, and even web design.
Yes. An associate degree in communications can prepare you for a variety of entry-level careers, such as a client service representative, administrative assistant, advertising sales agent, or audio-visual technician. It can also lay the foundation for further study, leading to more job opportunities and higher salaries.
With an associate degree in communications, you may be able to enter a fast-growing profession, such as broadcast and sound engineering. Additionally, associate degree-holders who decide to return to school and earn a four-year communications degree can pursue lucrative careers in public relations or marketing, both of which are projected to grow at above-average rates from 2019-2029, according to the BLS.
Your salary will depend on several factors, including your experience, education level, and the specific subfield of communications in which you work. For example, according to the BLS, customer service representatives earned a median income of $34,710 in 2019, while advertising sales agents earned $53,310.
Most full-time students can earn their associate degree in communications in two years. However, especially motivated students may be able to complete an online program in less time.