Do you have a way with words and know how to effectively communicate with others? Put your knowledge to good use by pursuing a career in communications.
With the right educational background, you can land a role that presents new and exciting challenges each day. And if you already work in the field, you can brush up on your skills and land that management role you’ve always wanted.
Consider an online communications degree to bring you up to speed with all the latest developments and trends in the field. It will also help you attract top employers so you can get hired.
Benzinga is here to help you find the best online communications degree program for you.
Why Choose an Online Communications Degree?
The digital landscape is exploding, which means more opportunities for you as a communication major. Companies of all sizes, healthcare entities, governmental organizations and nonprofits need knowledgeable communications professionals.
Communications majors have tons of flexibility with their career choice. Here are some of the most in-demand roles:
- Brand Strategist
- Content Marketing Manager
- Digital Strategist
- Freelance Writer
- Marketing Coordinator
- Media Planner
- Public Relations Specialist
- Reporter or Correspondent
- Social Media Manager
- Social Event Planner
- Technical Writer
Another key benefit of getting an online communications degree is its earning potential. The amount you make will depend on your role, but expect a decent salary for most entry-level positions. As you rise through the ranks, your salary will follow suit. Freelance opportunities are also available if you wish to earn part-time income.
How to Choose an Online Communications Degree
Unsure of how to decide which programs are a worthwhile investment of your time and money? When evaluating online communications degree programs, be mindful of these factors:
Is the degree offered by an accredited college or university? This is significant as it speaks volumes about the school’s reputation. It also demonstrates that the departments within the institution adhere to strict academic standards.
A prospective employer may be reluctant to hire a recent communications graduate from an unaccredited university. If you make the mistake of choosing the wrong school, you may struggle to get your foot in the door at a reputable organization.
Anyone can read a pile of communication textbooks and regurgitate key concepts. But you want a professor that can do much more than that. They should be extremely knowledgeable in the field and know how to communicate in a way that’s easy to understand.
Relevant field experience is equally important. There are things that a textbook can’t teach you, but your instructor can fill the void by sharing tips and advice from past experiences.
Don’t be shocked by the cost of attendance for online communications degree programs. Many are well into the thousands, which is to be expected for a bachelor’s degree. You only want to spend as much as you need to on your studies.
So, what’s a reasonable price? The rate for tuition and fees will vary by institution, but the price points should be comparable across institutions. If you find that one of your top selections is far more pricey than the others, remove it from your list. This prevents you from spending far too much money for the same result.
Jobs Waiting for You with a Communications Degree
Here are a few of the top job opportunities for communication majors.
Copywriters write to sell. Their primary objective is to produce written content that’s intended to boost interest and sales for a particular product or service.
On average, copywriters earn $63,200 per year. This equates to $30.39 per hour.
Technical writers break complex material into written content that’s easy to understand. They create how-to guides, instruction manuals, journal articles and other instructional content that can be distributed to employees and management throughout the organization.
In 2018, the median pay for technical writers was $72,850.
Public Relations Specialist
Public relations specialists help shape and preserve the reputation of the organization or client with whom they are employed. They create press releases and social media posts and respond to inquiries from media outlets. Many also work closely with public relations managers to evaluate and gauge the effectiveness of PR strategies that are already in place.
The average annual salary for public relations specialists is $61,150.
Best Online Colleges for a Communications Degree
We’ve spent several hours researching and evaluating online communications degree programs. Our top picks are from reputable colleges and universities and afford you the flexibility you need to successfully juggle your educational, work and personal commitments.
You will also find a detailed review of each program to help narrow down your options and select the most suitable choice.
1. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers an online Bachelor of Arts in communication. It prepares you for a career in advertising, journalism, new media, professional writing, public relations or social media.
When you enroll, you will select a concentration. Choose from business communication, new media, professional writing or public relations. Each concentration requires specific courses, but all communication majors take the following core classes:
- Introduction to Communication
- Communication Law and Media Ethics
- Communication with Diverse Audiences
- Global Communication
- Management of Communication Projects
- Organizational Branding
- Personal Brand Communications
- Public Speaking and Presentation Skills
- Social Media Strategy
- Strategic Storytelling
- Visual Communication and Design
Planning to work towards your master’s degree? Communication majors can take 2 graduate-level courses during their undergraduate tenure for credit.
You need 120 credits to earn your degree. SNHU allows you to transfer up to 90 from an accredited college or university to save money and complete the program faster.
2. Colorado State University
Unleash your inner creativity as you hone your writing and technical skills. Consider an online Bachelor of Arts in journalism and media communication from CSU Online to show you how.
This program is most suitable for aspiring media and communications professionals who plan to jump into the workforce immediately following graduation. It features a fluid curriculum that dives into advertising, magazine writing, marketing, media ethics and law, news writing, online storytelling, web design and so much more.
Communication majors take these core courses:
- Media in Society
- Online Storytelling and Audience Engagement
- Visual Communication
You will also take a capstone course to wrap up your studies. It features guest speakers who provide valuable insight into many careers and share resume writing and job hunting techniques. Plus, you will build an online portfolio during the course that can help you stand out among the competition when applying for jobs.
Want to enhance your degree to closely align your studies with your career? Consider adding an optional minor in:
- Agricultural Business
- Business Administration
- Creative Writing
- Global and Environmental Sustainability
- Interdisciplinary Global Studies
- Media Studies
- Political Science
CSU online requires 120 credits to complete the program. Up to 72 transfer credits are permitted from qualifying colleges and universities.
3. Florida International University
Consider an online Bachelor of Arts in communication arts with a concentration in organizational communication studies from Florida International University Online.
It’s ideal for aspiring communication professionals who want to work in business, education, government and nonprofit entities. Students planning to seek a graduate degree in business administration, education hospitality management, human resource management, social work or other related fields will also benefit from the program.
This degree program delves into the fundamentals of business and interpersonal communication, group dynamics and the art of persuasion. You will also develop vital organizational communication skills needed to manage conflict and crisis in the workplace, make sound decisions, build teams and effectively lead others.
Students complete the following core courses:
- Advanced Public Speaking
- Business and Professional Communication
- Communication for Effective Leadership
- Communication Theory
- Conflict Management
- Intercultural/Interracial Communication
- Interpersonal Communication
- Interviewing Principles and Practices and Lab
- Organizational Communication
- Rhetorical Communication: A Theory of Civil Discourse
You need 120 credits to reach the finish line.
4. University of Central Florida
Want a better understanding of communication at the intercultural and interpersonal level? Consider an online Bachelor of Arts in communication and conflict to acquire more in-depth knowledge.
Core courses for students enrolled in the program include:
- Communication and Conflict
- Communication Theories of Interpersonal Conflict
- Conflict Communication Research Methods
- Conflict and Communication Context
You will also select 5 electives from the following options:
- Crisis Communication
- Electronic Media, Technology and Society
- Gender Issues in Communication
- Intercultural Communication
- Organizational Communication
- Public Relations
- Thirty-Party Processes and Intervention
- Transformative Communication
This 120-credit program also teaches you how to negotiate in the real world through simulated conflict resolution training activities. Upon completion, you will be prepared for a career as an arbitrator, counselor, dispute resolution administrator, employee assistance provider, family law facilitator, foreclosure mediation coordinator or human resources administrator.
5. University of Minnesota Crookston
The online Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota Crookston also prepares students for an exciting role.
Students choose an emphasis from the following options to fit their career goals:
- Communication studies
- Communication/public relations
The following classes are required for all communication majors:
- Introduction to Communication
- Business and Professional Speaking
- Communication Technology Trends
- Communication Theory
- Human Relationships and Leaderships
- News and Social Media Communication
- Organizational Communication
- Research Fundamentals
- Seminar in Communication
There’s also an internship component that allows you to gain valuable real-world experience.
Alumni work in many roles, including business writing, health management, marketing, media relations, politics, public affairs, public relations, speech writing and technical writing.
You need 120 credits to earn your degree.
6. Arizona State University
Learn how communication processes are leveraged to develop, manage and transform the identities of communities and workplaces. If this sounds intriguing, the online Bachelor of Science in communication from Arizona State University may be a good fit.
You will receive detailed instruction in business and professional communication, conflict and negotiation, intercultural communication in the global marketplace, leadership persuasion and social influence.
Communication majors must successfully complete these core classes:
- Advanced Research Methods in Communication
- Communication in Business and the Professions
- Communication in Professions
- Communication, Conflict and Negotiation
- Communication Training and Development
- Gender and Communication
- Introduction to Communication Inquiry
- Leadership in Group Communication
- Persuasion and Social Influence
- Quantitative Research Methods in Communication
When you reach the finish line, you will be ready to work in event planning, human resource management, public relations, sales and other related fields.
7. University of Louisville
Do you currently work as a communications professional and want to continue your education? The online bachelor’s degree program in communication from the University of Louisville is worth considering.
The curriculum will position you for a promotion or more rewarding role in communication training and development, electronic media, print media or public relations. It also provides you with more advanced insights on interpersonal, organizational and rhetorical competencies related to communication.
Undergraduate students pursuing this degree must take the following core courses:
- Introduction to Communication
- Advanced Speech Communication or 319 Debate
- Argument in Everyday Life
- Introduction to Communication Technologies
- Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
- Introduction to Mass Communication
- Research Methods
You will also complete an internship to acquire hands-on experience in the field.
8. Pennsylvania State University World Campus
Prepare for a career in advertising, fundraising, marketing, media relations and public relations with an online bachelor’s degree in strategic communications from Penn State World Campus.
The rigorous curriculum dives into practical ways to craft messages that resonate with target audiences. You will also learn how to evaluate communication channels and efforts.
You’ll need to complete 120 credit hours, and students are required to take these core classes:
- Principles of Strategic Communications
- Research and Analytics
- Social Media Strategies
- Strategic Communications in a Global Environment
- Strategic Communications Law
- Writing for the Media
When you finish the coursework, you will know how to create communication strategies that coincide with company objectives.
9. University of North Dakota
Get an online Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of North Dakota. It will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in an advertising, public relations or writing role.
This 120-credit degree program is designed to be completed in 4 years. However, you can finish faster if you already have credits from an accredited college or university under your belt.
You also have the option to make your degree even more valuable by specializing in advertising, digital analytics, digital journalism, public relations, social media strategy or strategic communication.
Get Started with an Online Communications Degree Program
Don’t spend hours agonizing over which online communications degree program is best. Start with our list of top selections, compare the top options and select the program that best suits your needs, budget and lifestyle.
Southern New Hampshire University Online
SNHU Online Offers:
- Flexible schedules
- Affordable tuition
- Online tutoring
- Access to electronic research materials
- Specialized academic advising
- Supportive online community