Business Communications Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Learn about careers in business communications. Get job description, salary and education requirement information. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a business communications career.
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Pros and Cons of a Business Communications Career

Business communications is a broad field that deals with the promotion of products, services or entities. This facet of communications holds opportunities for careers in management, which can offer high salaries and strong job prospects; however, high-profile positions in management can be stressful and require both travel and long hours. Common job titles in this field include marketing manager, public relations (PR) manager and sales manager. Compare these occupations side-by-side to determine if one is right for you:

Marketing Manager Public Relations Manager Sales Manager
Career Overview Marketing managers oversee an organization's product development and marketing strategies. Public relations managers develop a positive public image for an employer or client. Sales managers oversee and direct the activities of sales staff.
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree, though master's degrees are also common Bachelor's degree
Program Length Four years Four years Four years
Certification N/A Voluntary certification available through organizations like the Public Relations Society of America N/A
Experience One to five years of marketing or related experience At least a few years of PR experience One to five years of sales experience
Job Outlook for 2010-2020 Fast-as-average growth (14%) compared to other occupations* Faster-than-average growth (21%) compared to other occupations* Fast-as-average growth (12% ) compared to other occupations*
Median Salary (2011) About $116,000* About $93,000* About $102,000*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Marketing Manager

A marketing manager supervises the activities of an organization's marketing department, which can include identifying markets for the company's products or services, determine pricing strategies and monitoring trends to determine the need for new products. You'll conduct market research to help a company target its products to the consumers who are likely to make a purchase. You'll also work with product development, advertising and sales staff to introduce products to the targeted consumers.

Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), marketing managers usually have bachelor's degrees. You might earn a degree in advertising, marketing, journalism, communications or another relevant field to qualify for this position. Additionally, employers tend to prefer marketing managers who have between one and five years of experience related to marketing, advertising or sales. These managers must also have strong leadership and communications skills.

Below are some examples of marketing manager positions available in December 2012:

  • A healthcare system in Texas needs a marketing manager with a bachelor's degree and skills in developing graphics, websites and marketing strategies.
  • A home goods manufacturer in Texas is looking for a marketing manager with a bachelor's degree in or related to marketing and at least three years of experience in the field. Expertise in digital marketing and social media is also required.
  • A Missouri cattle trade company is looking for a marketing manager with a bachelor's degree in marketing, business, communications or journalism as well as three to five years of experience in marketing and communications. Knowledge of the cattle industry is also necessary.

Standing Out

While marketing and communications degree programs may not require an internship, the BLS recommends completing one during college to prepare for this career. You may also want to augment your education with courses in management, business law, statistics, economics and other subjects relevant to the daily duties of this position. Additionally, since becoming a marketing manager requires experience in the field, you may benefit from working a part-time or entry-level job as a sales representative or public relations specialist. In fact, many marketing managers start out in such positions.

Public Relations Manager

Public relations managers may work for a single employer managing the business's public relations or in a firm managing the image of multiple clients. These managers write and approve press releases and assist their employers or clients in finding the best approach to communicate the business's message. Public relations managers may direct the activities of PR specialists who create messages, logos and other communication methods for clients.

Requirements

According to the BLS, a minimum of a bachelor's degree in or related to communications or public relations is required to work as a public relations manager. Some employers require a master's degree in business communication, journalism or public relations. After gaining the appropriate education, you may start out as a public relations specialist, gaining on-the-job training for up to a year and then working for a few more years before qualifying for promotion to management.

Below are some examples of public relations manager positions available in December 2012:

  • A New York company in the healthcare industry is seeking a public relations communication manager with a bachelor's degree in communications, public relations, journalism or English. The employer also requires applicants to have at least five years of experience in public relations, two of which must be specific to healthcare.
  • An artists' supplies manufacturer in Pennsylvania is looking for a public relations manager with at least a bachelor's degree, but the employer prefers a master's degree. The employer also requires applicants to have at least ten years in the public relations field.
  • A gas station chain with headquarters in Georgia is searching for a public relations manager with a minimum of a bachelor's degree and at least six years in public relations.

Standing Out

Certification is not mandatory for this profession, though it may help you stand out among the competition when searching for employment. The Public Relations Society of America offers the Accreditation in Public Relations credential to experienced PR professionals who pass a certification exam. According to the BLS, a credential from the International Association of Business Communicators may also help you gain an edge in the profession.

Sales Manager

Sales managers direct the activities of a business's sales staff, implement training programs and set goals for the sales department. They also help the sales staff develop communication techniques to sell products or services to customers. The duties and responsibilities of a sales manager require interaction with other departments in the company, such as advertising, marketing, manufacturing and operations departments.

Requirements

Sales managers generally must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree to qualify for employment, though some complete master's degree programs. On the other hand, some sales managers start out as sales representatives then work their way up to supervisory positions and are not subject to the same education requirements. Even with education, obtaining a sales manager position typically requires at least one year or up to five years of experience in sales.

See below for some examples of sales manager positions available in December 2012:

  • An Iowa bedding company is seeking a sales manager with at least a high school education, though the employer prefers candidates with advanced training. In addition, applicants should have at least three years of experience in sales management.
  • A trade show display manufacturer in New Jersey is looking for a sales manager who has at least a 4-year degree in business or marketing and five to seven years of experience in a similar role.
  • A California HVAC company is searching for a sales manager with at least a bachelor's degree and five years of experience as a sales manager in an equipment manufacturing setting.

Standing Out

The BLS reveals that, despite steady job growth, the sales management field was projected to see strong competition for jobs in the coming years; however, opportunities should be more plentiful in the business-to-business sector compared to the business-to-customer sector. As such, you might benefit from taking courses in business-to-business commerce in order to better qualify yourself for a position in this area.

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Featured Schools

South University

  • Business Administration (DBA)
  • Business Administration (MBA)
  • Business Administration (BBA)

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Argosy University

  • Business Administration (DBA)
  • Business Administration (MBA)
  • Bachelor - Business Administration
  • Business Administration (AS)

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George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

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Grand Canyon University

  • DBA with an Emphasis in Marketing
  • MBA: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

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Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

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Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

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Kaplan University

  • MBA: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • Associate: Business Admin.

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Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

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