In a given morning, how long does it take for you to immerse yourself in media? Do you check Twitter and Facebook while in bed? Eating breakfast? On your morning commute? According to the Pew Research Center, more than 80% of teens use some kind of social media. It's most likely that some or most of that time spent on social media, you're getting current events in the world and in your own life. If you're an avid media consumer and often think about its impact, a communications major might be the major for you.
A communications major studies society's past, current and future trend of media and its influences. Besides an overall interest in today's media culture, good skills to have are writing, creativity and open-mindedness to concepts--seeing both sides of current issues.
Something to consider
Because of the nature of communications, be sure to research specialties within a communications major, such as advertising, public relations and journalism. The more specialized you are in communications, the easier it is to track down internships and future jobs.
It's also important to get real life experience while in school, so seek out internships and network as much as possible. The communications line of work, whether it's broadcast journalism or public relations, is all about who you know. Internships are like working interviews, and if you perform well, a job offer is possible.
Jobs with a communications degree include: reporter (print and broadcast), copy editor, radio host/producer, public relations manager/specialists, TV producer and technical writer.
Most graduates in communications begin entry level jobs shortly after school. This is why having an internship or work experience in school is vital because you most likely need some experience for even an entry level job.
However, there are graduate school options such as a masters in journalism or communications. For the most part, these options are for students who have an undergraduate in something other than communications, but if you want a future in teaching communications at a university, you'll need a master's degree.
Where you could end up living
According to My Next Move, in 2013, as a reporter and correspondent (in print, broadcast and radio mediums), there are 40 states with average to above-average career opportunities including Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York and Wyoming.
Keep in mind that with media jobs, you could be placed in a variety of places, such as rural communities to large cities.
Salary and occupation outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2013 there were over 43,500 people employed as reporters and correspondents with an average salary of $44,360 per year. The growth rate for reporters and correspondents is projected to decline 13 percent from 2012—2022. This is due to decline in the print industry, along with a decline in advertising revenue that keeps newspapers and magazines in business. However, for broadcast news analysts there is little to no change in the next 10 years.
Despite that, many communication jobs are morphing into one job. For example, print journalist now find themselves taking photos at events they cover, along with shooting video and reporting to different news outlets. Nevertheless, there is still a demand for media in our society and the need of qualified people to report today's current events.
Mass media will always be evolving and universities are trying to stay one step ahead of the curve with new courses and a combination of majors to make graduates more marketable for jobs.