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There are many inquiries and decisions to make before registering for a degree program in communications. Some of these choices may include choosing between a campus-based communication school and an online communication school, identifying the area of specialty, and noting the necessary requirements for graduation. This may seem like too much to take in. However, the content below is designed to explain the processes involved in pursuing a degree in communications and related fields, the structure of an online communications course program, and options available for students.

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An online communications degree is useful beyond the limitations of a career or line of business, in that it provides a strong foundation needed to communicate effectively in a chosen career path or to switch from one profession to another with ease. It builds strength in areas like critical thinking, public speaking, team work, cooperation, reading, writing, mentoring, and leadership. These taught and practiced skills can be applied in a variety of careers such as public relations, journalism, advertising, broadcast media and more. Graduates can also build careers in entrepreneurship, business, law, and health services management. Some of the many job opportunities available to communications degree holders include:

  • Broadcast News Analysts
  • Media/Communication Workers
  • Public Address System/Other Announcers
  • Public Relations Specialists
  • Radio/Television Announcers
  • Reporters/Correspondents
  • Broadcast News Analysts

Broadcast news analysts research, evaluate, and state reports on television and radio newscasts.  They obtain information from diverse sources, edit and then organize the material in the required format for broadcasting. They then offer their explanations of current events as on-the-air or online commentaries. The latest technology now allows news analysts to share updates and opinions through podcasts or the Internet. Directors, reporters, and news anchors are similar positions that see to the day-to-day production of the news.


Communications is quite extensive and covers so many areas from speaking to teaching, blogging, technical writing to corporate marketing, and beyond. For the various fields in communication, the first practical step to be taken is a specialized education in the area(s) of interest. Communications degrees are offered at every degree level. Associate degree courses prepare students for the later levels in the most basic level and concepts. In the bachelor’s degree level, students may find a focus that suits them well. Graduate level programs are more focused in certain areas. All programs offer classes in communications but the more advanced you go the more focused and concentrated you can get.


There are options for students who either want an online program or campus college. There are various ways to earn degrees through online schools as practically almost all courses can be taught through distance learning. Students make use of e-learning to communicate with the course coordinators, access course materials, interact and submit their work and complete all the program requirements online without having to attend. Online learning means include programs such as streaming audio programs, video conferencing, and tutoring services. Still, there are some special graduate degree programs that may require students to be present for on-campus residency workshops. Students can interact online and on social networks.


Apart from the traditional on-campus options, there are online communications programs for students who need to be part-time to balance learning, work and personal obligations.  There are various opportunities to earn degrees through online communications schools as practically almost all courses can be taught through distance learning. Students make use of electronic media to communicate with the course coordinators, access course materials, interact and submit their work and complete all the program. Graduates of communications degrees prepares graduates to be able to take up career interests in as many areas as possible that might be effective interpersonal relations and analytical skills. Students are taught the theory of communication which they can use to build their strengths in their various fields of communication and be better positioned in their professions. Classes may be either online or on campus. Technology allows for proper communication between students and teachers. Most of the programs have courses like regular campus-based schools. Besides the regular coursework, students can pick elective courses. Students can also indicate a specialization if the school allows.


Associate in communication can be finished in about 2 years. It is a combination of core courses and classes in communications. Students are exposed to the basics of the communication field which could include media writing, digital marketing, public relations, speaking, and mass communications. Graduates can join a career or job or pursue a bachelor degree in communications. Below is an example of the courses offered.

Interpersonal Communication

This course begins to teach students how to convey their ideas in different ways to properly interact with others.

Digital Media Production This course is an intro to digital media production. Skills learned will be basic concepts of production, editing, and presenting for a larger audience to convey ideas.
Introduction to Journalism Basic concepts of journalism and writing for the media.
Introduction to Advertising Introduction to the methods, procedures, purposes and functions of advertising and its impact in the society. It also includes ideas surrounding ad campaigns.


A degree in communications gives a solid foundation on the knowledge of communication theories, research methods, and the practical application of these concepts in everyday experiences and at the workplace. Students also review mainstream media trends. Here are some course examples.

Mass Communications Concepts This type of course covers ideas presented as basic concepts in mass communication and conveying ideas to larger audiences of people.
Group and Team Communication This class focuses on working well with a team and communicating well throughout your group.
Intercultural Communication This course focuses on the correlation between different cultures and their communication strategies. Students learn to communicate well in various environments.
Digital Writing This class will focus on writing to convey ideas to the digital audiences they face.
Interpersonal Communication II

This course is an extension of interpersonal communication introduction. Students learn further how to convey their ideas in different ways to properly interact with others. 

Introduction to Public Relations This class teaches the basics of writing to convey to an extended audience important information. Students will learn how to write press releases and best practices when speaking to the media.


A Master’s degree in Communications places emphasis on concepts learned in the Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree levels. The graduate program seeks to take this knowledge further. Students learn different means of communications to transfer that to a larger audience. The programs are made up of a thesis, final exams, or assignments from the program. It can be completed in two years by most students.  Here are some examples of courses:

Content Writing for the Web This examines how Internet content engages and drives the behavior of visitors. It focuses on SEO, social marketing, content marketing and explores appropriate styles for blogs and websites.
Communication Behavior This course goes into high level thinking of how we can change our behaviors through communication on various levels.
The Digital Writing Age Concepts This course teaches students how to communicate properly these days. It shows how people interact and how information and thoughts are processed by different audiences.
Persuasion It examines the powers of persuasiveness in communication; varieties of messages, and mass communication. It emphasizes the speaker’s proficiency, reliability and geniality.
Media Effects Focuses on theories and perceptions that explain the influence of the mass media society, and in shaping public opinion.
Basics of Advertising Teaches the concept of branding and ad campaigns, with practical guidelines on how to write briefs, create timelines, write budgets  and build a creative department.
Large Audiences and Marketing This course provides ways to understand the different markets and audiences the media will communicate to. It comes up with effective means of communications to convey to these audiences
Risk and Emergency Communications This course teaches best practices in case of emergency situations. This teaches how to effectively communicate with audiences in crisis or with serious emergencies.
Editorial Writing This course provides concepts in opinion and editorial writing. These are more relaxed writing columns usually but there are still best practices to follow.


A PhD is research-based, analyzing the relationships between means of communication in various formats. Many students can combine a communications degree with other types of degrees as well. Graduates can proceed to teaching at a university of college or join the workforce.