Communication Management Degrees: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Class Info

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What will you learn in a communication management degree program? Read about program requirements, the pros and cons of a bachelor's and associate degree and potential careers.
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Communication Management: Bachelor's and Associate Degrees at a Glance

Communication management professionals direct the flow of information between businesses, employees and consumers. A degree in the field can prepare you for several career options, ranging from public relations specialist to director of corporate communication. Most management-level positions will require you to have at least a bachelor's degree, while associate degree programs in communication studies can prepare you for entry-level positions or transfer to 4-year universities.

For the most part, employment in the communications field is predicted to grow faster than average over the coming decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), public relations managers should see a 21% growth in employment over the 2010-2020 decade, while advertising and marketing managers should see about a 14% job increase.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want to transfer to a 4-year university or begin entry-level positions such as marketing or advertising assistant Individuals who want to advance to management positions in the communications field
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Marketing assistant ($38,000)**
- Copy writer ($56,000)***
- Promotions assistant (unavailable)
- Public relations manager ($93,000*)
- Marketing manager ($116,000)*
- Promotions manager ($88,000)*
- Communications director ($125,000)**
Time to Completion About two years About four years
Common Graduation Requirements - Communications courses
- General education courses
-Communication and writing courses
- Possible management courses
- Possible foreign language requirement
Prerequisites High school diploma or its equivalent -High school diploma
- Relevant transcripts from other postsecondary schools
Online Availability No Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011), **Salary.com (December 2012), ***O*Net OnLine (May 2011)

Associate in Communication Management

Few associate degree programs exist in the field of communication management. However, an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science in Communication Studies can provide you with a basic overview of the communications field and prepare you for entry-level, assistant positions or transfer to a 4-year program. They can also prepare you for beginning-level positions in broadcasting and journalism, though these positions have more to do with communicating messages to the public than with managing communications within a business or organization. Most of these programs should provide you with an understanding of interpersonal and group communication methods, communication ethics and communication techniques.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A communications degree is broad and can prepare you for several career fields.
  • Some associate degree programs in communication are specifically designed to prepare you to transfer credits to a 4-year school.
  • Upon graduation, you might be qualified to work in some creative positions, such as copywriter.

Cons

  • Most management positions require you to have a bachelor's degree.
  • Median annual salaries for marketing and promotions assistants are below the national average.*
  • You will likely need to earn a considerable amount of work experience before you can advance in your field.

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

Associate degree programs in communication studies offer courses that cover the basic theories and techniques of communication. You will likely also have to complete general education classes. Some courses common to these programs include:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Business and professional communication
  • Critical thinking and writing
  • Speech and communication
  • Intercultural communication
  • Mass communication theory
  • Public relations

Online Degree Options

Not-for-profit schools rarely offer associate degree programs in communication studies online. Many courses in these degree programs include hands-on components, requiring you to work within groups or deliver speeches. These requirements limit what courses you can take in a distance learning format.

Stand Out with This Degree

If you know what area of the communications field you would like to work in, you should look for an associate degree program that offers relevant courses. For example, to stand out in the public relations field, you will want to take some PR courses. If you want to work in journalism or broadcasting, you should find a school that has its own newspaper or radio station so that you can gain hands-on experience. According to the BLS, working on school newspapers or completing internships can help you stand out to potential employers.

Bachelor's in Communication Management

Bachelor's degree programs in communication management should provide you not only with an understanding of communication theory, but also with an understanding of business and management techniques. These programs sometimes include concentrations that allow you to specialize on a particular aspect of the field, such as corporate communication, organizational communication or even health communication. They sometimes also include an internship or integrative capstone project.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The job outlook for careers in communications is expected to be strong over the next decade.
  • Management-level jobs in communication tend to offer higher-than-average salaries.
  • You might be prepared to work for several types of industries, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, educational services or government agencies.

Cons

  • You will likely be required to have experience as well as a bachelor's degree before you can advance to a management position.
  • Competition for management-level jobs is strong.
  • You might face long work hours (about one-third of PR managers and specialists worked 40+ hours per week in 2010)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

While enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in communication management, many of your courses will cover communication theory, culture and writing. You will likely also have to take general education courses in social sciences, mathematics and English, among other topics. Some communication-specific courses you might take include:

  • Communication principles
  • Professional and public communication
  • Interpersonal and group communication
  • Negotiation tactics
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Communication and leadership
  • Gender and communication

Online Degree Options

Some schools do offer online programs in communication studies. These programs might be ideal if you are a working professional looking to finish your degree while maintaining your job. Many will allow you to interact with professors, complete projects and even work with classmates from your own home. Some schools will require you to have completed general education courses or an associate degree before you can begin online classes.

Stand Out with This Degree

As with associate degree programs, choosing a concentration similar to your area of interest can help you get a head start on your career path. Completing internships or gaining hands-on experience can also help you stand out to potential employers. As internet-based forms of communication, marketing and advertising become more prevalent, staying on top of advancing technologies can also make you more desirable to employers.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BSBA in Marketing
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Benedictine University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BAM - Marketing Concentration
      • BAOL - Marketing Concentration
      • Bachelors in Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management: Marketing Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Marketing
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
      • BS - Business Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Marketing
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. General Studies - Marketing
      • B.S. Marketing - Analytics
      • B.S. Marketing - Services and Non-Profit
      • B.S. Marketing - Social Media
      • B.S. Business Administration - No Specialization
      • B.S. General Studies - Business
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Marketing
      • BS in Applied Management
      • BS in Business Admin.
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Marketing
      • BS - Business Administration - Digital Marketing
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media
      • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
      • B.S. - Music Business

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • BSBA - Investment
  • BSBA in Marketing

Which subject are you interested in?

Benedictine University

  • BAM - Marketing Concentration
  • BAOL - Marketing Concentration
  • Bachelors in Management

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Herzing University

  • B.S. - Business Management: Marketing Concentration
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

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Keiser University

  • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
  • Business Administration, BA - Management

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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Marketing
  • BS - Organizational Leadership
  • BS - Business Management

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American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • B.S. General Studies - Marketing
  • B.S. Marketing - Analytics
  • B.S. Marketing - Services and Non-Profit

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Grand Canyon University

  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • BS in Marketing
  • BS in Applied Management

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