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Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Communications

By Jordan Beliles | Updated 10/6/2022
Quick Facts
Accreditation: ACEJMC
Average Tuition: $27,452
Alumni Salary: $34,520

Online communications degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Communications is an interdisciplinary field that draws from sociology, psychology, and politics to examine the ways in which people communicate. The online communications degrees of the highest caliber are featured in our lists of the 2020 best online communications bachelor's and master's programs. Rankings are based on alumni salary data provided by PayScale.

Students pursuing degrees in communications should verify that their school has been regionally accredited and their specific degree program is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC), which helps to ensure that it meets rigorous national standards.

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2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Communications Degrees

2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Communications Badge

This list highlights the 23 best value colleges offering online bachelor's degrees in communications. Graduates of the #1-ranked school, Webster University, earn a median salary of $111,400 after earning their BA in Media Communications. Tuition at Webster University is also very affordable at just $23,200 per year.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Webster University $23,200 $111,400
# 2 #2 Park University $12,865 $107,100
# 3 #3 University of Missouri $11,622 $104,600
# 4 #4 Lynn University $9,000 $102,100
# 5 #5 Maryville University $16,000 $103,500
# 6 #6 Saint Xavier University $33,300 $109,600
# 7 #7 California State University-Bakersfield $9,600 $100,100
# 8 #8 West Virginia University $10,380 $98,300
# 9 #9 University of Arkansas at Little Rock $8,400 $96,300
# 10 #10 Stevenson University $13,500 $98,000
# 11 #11 SUNY Empire State College $10,943 $95,400
# 12 #12 SUNY College at Oswego $8,480 $93,500
# 13 #13 University of Idaho $8,304 $93,200
# 14 #14 Florida Southern College $10,106 $92,400
# 15 #15 University of Kansas $11,916 $91,000
# 16 #16 Ohio University - Main Campus $7,290 $89,000
# 17 #17 Washington State University $11,550 $90,043
# 18 #18 Florida International University $10,376 $88,500
# 19 #19 University of Arkansas $7,568 $87,200
# 20 #20 Mercer University $14,250 $88,300
# 21 #21 University of Missouri at Saint Louis $31,164 $95,000
# 22 #22 University of Arizona $15,000 $88,400
# 23 #23 University of Denver $30,060 $94,200
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Communications Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 Webster University

  • Annual Tuition: $23,200
  • Median Salary: $111,400
  • Locations: St. Louis (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications at Webster University offers students a foundational education in modern media design, development, and implementation that can be used to begin or advance a career in a number of progressive industries. Students in the program learn to create, adapt, and analyze effective communication across several mediums through instruction in contemporary theories, practices, and techniques in the discipline. The core curriculum includes courses in media literacy, research and writing, digital and social media, diversity and society, and the laws and ethics governing communications. Near the completion of the online communications degree, students can choose to demonstrate their mastery of the discipline's fundamentals through an individual project or thesis or an internship in the field. Students can choose to complete the 128-credit hour fully online bachelor's degree part-time or full-time, and online classes are offered in 8-, 9-, and 16-week formats. There is no on-campus residency requirement, and online courses require no set log in times, allowing students maximum flexibility in completing assignments and readings and meeting weekly deadlines. Online students are afforded the same resources and are instructed by the same professors as their on-campus counterparts, and academic advising is available by phone, email, or webinar. Applications for both freshman and transfer students are accepted, and students are admitted on a rolling basis. Applicants are required to submit transcripts of all prior school work completed, including high school and college courses. Test scores, including ACT and SAT scores, are optional, and applicants may be asked to submit additional application materials, including an essay, resume, or letter of recommendation.

#2 Park University

  • Annual Tuition: $12,865
  • Median Salary: $107,100
  • Locations: Parkville (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The online Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication offered at Park University is designed to give students the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to become leaders in the industry. Students are instructed in leadership in modern professional environments, including corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations. Students complete a minimum of 122 credit hours of coursework that includes instruction in organizational leadership, multicultural communication, communication and leadership in groups and teams, communication laws and ethics, and theories of communication. An 18-credit hour minor in a discipline of the student’s choosing is required to graduate the program. The purpose of the minor is to complement the student’s education with studies in a field relevant to their future education or career goals. Park University offers start dates in the spring, summer, and fall. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be considered for admission and must submit a transcript for every institution they have attended. Upon completion of the online bachelor’s degree in communications, graduates are qualified and prepared to begin a career in project management, communications management, public relations strategy, or media communications.

#3 University of Missouri

  • Annual Tuition: $11,622
  • Median Salary: $104,600
  • Locations: Columbia (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The online Bachelor of Arts in Communication at the University of Missouri prepares students for a range of professions in the field through a broad curriculum in the discipline. Students are instructed in coursework relevant to the modern industry, focusing on skills in project management, budgeting, teamwork, collaboration, and customer service. Coursework includes instruction in public speaking, political communication, crisis communication, and theory and research in persuasion. The online communications degree program curriculum also requires an internship in a business environment that provides students practical experience and hands-on, real-world education in the field. Upon completion of the 120-credit hour online bachelor’s degree in communications, graduates are prepared to pursue a career in public relations, marketing, advertising, social media, and corporate communications. Applicants are eligible for admission through the university’s established minimum ACT or SAT score, or through the completion of at least 24 credit hours of applicable college coursework with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students may enroll in one of three distance learning formats, including self-paced courses that can be started at any time and completed in as little as six weeks or as many as six months, self-paced 8- or 16-week courses, or 8- or 16-week semester-based courses. Coursework in all formats is offered asynchronously, meaning students are not required to log in at any specific time. While assignments, readings, and discussions are facilitated entirely online, some courses may require in-person, proctored exams.

#4 Lynn University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,000
  • Median Salary: $102,100
  • Locations: Boca Raton (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media offered at Lynn University aims to prepare students for a career in the field by providing a wide range of internship opportunities at relevant media organizations. Lynn University seeks to provide students with the theory and practical application of communication through a curriculum that includes coursework in media literacy, television production, photojournalism, persuasion and propaganda, and advertising design and production. The online communications degree also prepares students for a career in the media industry through internship opportunities with companies that include MTV, WPTV Channel 5, Boca Magazine, the Palm Beach Post, and Telemundo. After the 120-credit hour program is completed, graduates should have the education and real-world experience needed to pursue a career as a journalist, speechwriter, marketing specialist, social media specialist, or communication consultant. Admission to the program requires a high school diploma, a GED, or 12-college credit hours, in addition to a personal statement. Students are not required to submit test scores, and work experience can be applied toward the required credit hours. The online bachelor's degree in communications is designed to be completed through the university's iPad-powered learning platform, with all coursework facilitated through the Apple device.

#5 Maryville University

  • Annual Tuition: $16,000
  • Median Salary: $103,500
  • Locations: St. Louis (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

There are various opportunities to study communications in a flexible online learning environment at Maryville University. The Bachelor of Arts in Communication is offered in a general degree program, as well as in two concentrations, Strategic Communication and Emerging Media Strategy and Social Media. The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a focus in Communication offers a broad curriculum for those who have other academic interests in addition to communications. Students in these online communications degree programs have the opportunity to complete internships, research experiences, and portfolios as a culminating experience in their studies and as an introduction to the working world. Applicants may apply for fall, spring, or summer semesters. Prospective students must submit an online application with a high school transcript (or college transcript for transfer students) to start the admissions process with the support of an online enrollment coordinator. Maryville students have access to other campus resources, including academic advising and career development.

#6 Saint Xavier University

  • Annual Tuition: $33,300
  • Median Salary: $109,600
  • Locations: Chicago (IL)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Bachelor of Arts in Applied Communication program at Saint Xavier University is a degree completion program designed for working adults looking to return to school. This 30-credit program can be completed in five terms or 18 months. Courses include social media, mass communication, public relations, persuasion, organizational communication, and leadership. Graduates of the program go on to explore career opportunities in advertising, corporation relations, event planning, health communication, human resources, journalism, media, public relations, organizational communication, and more. To gain real-world experience, students are encouraged to apply for internship opportunities as well as create portfolios that can be used during the job search. Students have access to the Center for Success, writing center, counseling, instructional tech support, and other campus services. To apply to this online communications degree program at Saint Xavier, students must create an online applicant account through which they can submit their transcripts and other required documents. Prospective students can apply online, and an admissions representative will connect with the individual to complete the application.

#7 California State University-Bakersfield

  • Annual Tuition: $9,600
  • Median Salary: $100,100
  • Locations: Bakersfield (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Bachelor of Arts in Communications at California State University-Bakersfield is a two-year, 50-60 credit degree completion program. The program’s curriculum equips students with written and verbal communication skills as well as principles of ethical messaging and mass media that can be applied to journalism, public relations, media, and a host of other communications-driven fields. This program has an emphasis in Public Relations; students also have the opportunity to minor in Sociology to further enhance their study of Communication and Society. Students can apply to start the program in fall, spring, or summer. Enrolled students have access to campus services, including academic advising, library resources, career development, and disability services. To be considered for this online communications degree program, prospective students must have already completed 60 credits eligible for transfer and have earned a 2.0 GPA or higher. To apply online, students must complete a form (fee applies) and submit transcripts from all colleges previously attended.

#8 West Virginia University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,380
  • Median Salary: $98,300
  • Locations: Morgantown (WV)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The region's Bachelor of Arts degree at West Virginia State University is created for adult learners. Applicants must be four years out of high school to apply to this program. Students earn credits through the completion of asynchronous online classes, as well as work experience or training credentials. This 120-credit program has a course distribution in communications, humanities, science, social sciences, math, and computer science. Students have the opportunity to choose a concentration in many areas, including Marketing. This online communications degree program is well-suited for business-minded students who wish to pursue careers in advertising, sales, promotion, and marketing both in a traditional and digital setting. Transfer students can complete it in as few as two years up to 72 transfer credits are accepted. Online students at West Virginia State University have access to student services like academic inquiry advising as well as military and veteran services. To apply, students must submit an online application with a high school transcript and ACT or SAT scores if the GPA is below 3.0.

#9 University of Arkansas at Little Rock

  • Annual Tuition: $8,400
  • Median Salary: $96,300
  • Locations: Little Rock (AR)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Individuals who wish to major in Communications have two options at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock: the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Communication and the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies - Speech Communication. Both are online communications degree programs suited for a working adult’s schedule. Graduates of the BA in Applied Communication use their skills to explore career paths in nonprofits, business organizations, health care, education, and government. Students learn to analyze and develop messages, to push past communication barriers to accomplish messaging goals, and to engage diverse audiences. Students are encouraged to double major or minor to complete the 120-credit requirement for graduation. A capstone course and portfolio are required. For the BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, students can focus in Speech Communication while also exploring a wide range of academic interests. Enrolled students have access to student services such as library resources, military and veteran support, IT service, academic tutoring, and disability services. To apply, students must submit their application online along with their transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. An online program coordinator will advise on what other documents are needed to complete the application process.

#10 Stevenson University

  • Annual Tuition: $13,500
  • Median Salary: $98,000
  • Locations: Stevenson (MD)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Stevenson University offers a number of online communication programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Business Communication. Students who graduate from this online marketing degree program can pursue fields like public relations, marketing management, media sales, and event planning. They may instead choose the Bachelor’s to Master’s option, with Master of Science programs in Business and Technology Management, Communication Studies, Community-Based Education and Leadership, and Health Care Management. These master’s programs are also offered fully online in eight-week class sessions to offer flexibility and study even at the advanced level. These online programs are suited for working adults as they are offered in a flexible asynchronous format. Although students are not on campus, they have access to supportive services like career advising, academic advising and support, accessibility services, and library resources. To apply, students must fill out an online application with their high school or college transcripts (if they are transferring).

#11 SUNY Empire State College

  • Annual Tuition: $10,943
  • Median Salary: $95,400
  • Locations: Saratoga Springs (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

There are a number of online communications degree options for adult learners to pursue at SUNY Empire State College: the Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies with a Communication concentration and the Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs with a concentration in Public Communications. Students gain skills in writing, research, and critical thinking to be able to pursue roles in media, education, nonprofits, and more. Students who opt for the Public Communications concentration can pursue careers in public administration, public policy, political science, criminal justice, homeland security, public communication, healthcare, and emergency management. The BA Cultural Studies covers ethics, gender, class, and race. Students can pursue concentrations that include Communications, Philosophy, Writing, Literature, Women's Studies, or a mix to provide a personalized approach to study. These programs offer flexible starts with fall, spring, and summer terms. Enrolled students have access to academic advising, career development, tutoring, and library resources. Prospective students must submit an application form, along with their transcripts.

#12 SUNY College at Oswego

  • Annual Tuition: $8,480
  • Median Salary: $93,500
  • Locations: Oswego (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

The Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting and Mass Communication at SUNY Oswego is a completely online communications degree program suited for students who already have previously earned an associate degree or the equivalent of two years of college credit. This is a completion degree program that is offered in an asynchronous format. In this program, students will learn various aspects of audio and video production, journalism for broadcast, copywriting, and media management, including digital media and social media. Online students at SUNY Oswego have access to student services such as academic and career advising and online library resources. Each student has a coordinator to help plan out each semester’s schedule so that students can complete the degree in a timeline that’s efficient and flexible. The same faculty that teach in-person classes also create and teach curriculum for the online program. SUNY Oswego offers rolling admission, and students may begin in the fall, spring, or summer sessions. Students can complete the program in two years at the full-time enrollment level. To apply, students must complete an online application and submit their college transcripts.

#13 University of Idaho

  • Annual Tuition: $8,304
  • Median Salary: $93,200
  • Locations: Moscow (ID)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Students seeking an education in the field of communications have several online options at the University of Idaho: the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Communication and the Bachelor of Organizational Sciences, in which students can opt for either the Organizational Communication or Organizations and Communities concentrations. The BA/BS in Communication program is interdisciplinary in nature, teaching students the skills that can apply to public relations, sales, media, and other areas. The BA has an Arts and Humanities core while the BS has more of a Science concentration. The BA/BS in Organizational Sciences presents communication through a variety of lenses, including business, psychology, communication, and sociology. The Organizational Communication concentration offers a variety of perspectives, including organizational and intercultural leadership persuasion. Enrolled students have access to the Vandal Success Center for academic and career support. Prospective students must submit an application and a fee plus their SAT or ACT scores along with their transcripts. GED and homeschool students must also submit a written statement and letters of recommendation to be considered by the admissions committee. Scholarships are available.

#14 Florida Southern College

  • Annual Tuition: $10,106
  • Median Salary: $92,400
  • Locations: Lakeland (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Bachelor of Science in Communication program at Florida Southern College is an option for students seeking careers in creating messages for diverse groups of people. This online Communications Degree program presents a strong core curriculum in the research, theories, and practice of communication with a concentration in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication. This program is preparation for graduates not only to pursue careers in a variety of industries but also to pursue an MBA or an MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. The BS in Communication is a 48-credit program with 12 seven-week classes that begin six times a year for a flexible approach to study. Florida Southern College keeps classes small for individualized attention and to encourage student engagement. Enrolled students are paired with an academic advisor who helps them create a success plan for graduation. Online students have the same access to resources as do on-campus students, such as scholarships, career development, tech support, tutoring, and library resources. Prospective students apply online (there is no fee) and submit transcripts. Test scores are required unless students have 25 or more credits to transfer into the program.

#15 University of Kansas

  • Annual Tuition: $11,916
  • Median Salary: $91,000
  • Locations: Lawrence (KS)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Studies in Communication at the University of Kansas offers the same academic coursework found on campus but instead is offered through an asynchronous online format (Blackboard platform) with eight-week classes for flexible study. The program is suited for students who want both a concentrated study and a liberal arts education. Students will take classes in rhetoric, interpersonal communication, persuasion, behavioral research, organizational communication, and argumentation, among others. A capstone class is required for graduation. Students must also choose a second area of study in anthropology, history, psychology, sociology, history of art, or women's studies. To graduate, students must complete a three-credit career course in technical writing or career management. Alternatively, they can choose to complete an internship. Students have access to academic and career advising as part of their program support period. To apply to this program, students must submit an online application and their transcripts.

#16 Ohio University - Main Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $7,290
  • Median Salary: $89,000
  • Locations: Athens (OH)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The degree completion program for a Bachelor of Science in Applied Communications from Ohio University’s main campus is designed for students who already have an associate degree and want to continue their education online. Students use the asynchronous Blackboard platform to understand written, oral, and visual communications to help them progress in the career of their choice. A total of 120 credits is achieved through transferred credits and a combination of foundational knowledge, practical skills, strategy, and a capstone in applied communication, journalism ethics, or communication data collection. Students enrolled through the University’s Scripps College of Communication can expect to study a variety of subjects, including public speaking, web design, internet privacy, and audience research. Many communications students use internships to apply their skills while gaining knowledge and building their resumes. Prospective students with an associate degree and a GPA of 2.5 overall can apply through the Common Application or via the school’s website. A fee and documentation are required.

#17 Washington State University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,550
  • Median Salary: $90,043
  • Locations: Pullman (WA)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Washington State University offers several online communication degree programs, including the Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and the Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, both with a Communication concentration. These offer education in communication with a liberal arts education. For students who wish a greater focus on communication, the Bachelor of Arts and Integrated Strategic Communication could be a good option. This program focuses on communication as it is used in advertising, public relations, promotion, and marketing; it is offered through the prestigious Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. Students must complete an internship in order to graduate. Online students have access to various support services, including academic and career advising, academic support, and disability services. To apply to any of these online communication degree programs at Washington State University, students must submit an online application with their high school transcripts or college transcripts if they are transferring credit into the program.

#18 Florida International University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,376
  • Median Salary: $88,500
  • Locations: Miami (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Florida International University offers two online programs for aspiring communications professionals: the Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts with a concentration in Organizational Communication Studies and the Bachelor of Science in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication. Both of these programs are well-suited for students who wish to pursue careers as communication professionals in a variety of fields, including marketing, advertising, education, business, government, and nonprofit organizations. In addition to these professional paths, students may also pursue graduate study in a variety of fields, including business administration, law, public administration, human resource management, hospitality management, and more. These online programs are offered in an asynchronous format so students can combine learning with other personal and professional responsibilities. Students are connected with a success coach for support throughout the program, as well as other services and resources like career advising and library databases. To apply, students must submit an online application with their transcripts from high school or college if they are transferring.

#19 University of Arkansas

  • Annual Tuition: $7,568
  • Median Salary: $87,200
  • Locations: Fayetteville (AR)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The nationally recognized University of Arkansas Department of Communications has a fully digital option for students interested in a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Students accepted into the 120 credit hour program use Blackboard to virtually attend classes (asynchronous schedule) and complete assignments. Major courses in this online communications degree program cover topics such as the influence of social movements, how media technology impacts daily life, and communication strategies using various mediums. The University of Arkansas has a Career Development Center to provide students with career counseling, job searches, resume writing, and interview skills. Students can also use Handshake, a job board for students and recent graduates to help them find employment or internships. Those interested in applying to the program must have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher and a minimum composite ACT score of 20; transfer students must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA.

#20 Mercer University

  • Annual Tuition: $14,250
  • Median Salary: $88,300
  • Locations: Macon (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

At Mercer University, the Bachelor of Arts in Communication is offered in two concentrations: Organizational Communication and Public Relations. This online communications degree program is offered through the College of Professional Advancement. The program is created for working adult learners with classes that can be completed fully online in an asynchronous format; courses are eight weeks long. Students who wish to explore career paths in content creation, corporate communications, marketing, project management, public relations, social media, and more will benefit from this program. In addition to an academic curriculum in communications and the liberal arts, students have access to support services at Mercer University, including academic advising, career development, library research databases, and more. These programs are even more flexible due to five start terms in January, March, May, August, and October. To apply to these online communications degree program at Mercer, students must submit an online application with their transcript.

#21 University of Missouri at Saint Louis

  • Annual Tuition: $31,164
  • Median Salary: $95,000
  • Locations: St. Louis (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication at the University of Missouri at Saint Louis presents students with the opportunity to earn both a liberal arts degree as well as a focused skillset in communication. Students can select communication as the general major, but they may also take an emphasis on applied visual communication, interpersonal communication, mass communication, or strategic communication. Core requirements include mass communication, organizational communication, and intercultural communication. Students are required to complete a three-credit practicum or internship to graduate. For students with academic interests besides communications, they may benefit from the Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in communication. Online students at the University of Missouri at Saint Louis have access to a variety of supportive student services that include academic and career advising, library databases, accessibility services, tech support, and more. To apply to either of these online communications degree programs, students should submit their application online along with their transcripts from high school or college, if they will be transferring.

#22 University of Arizona

  • Annual Tuition: $15,000
  • Median Salary: $88,400
  • Locations: Tucson (AZ)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication at the University of Arizona is for students who wish to pursue career paths in a variety of fields, including the arts, media, journalism, public relations, psychology, and social sciences. The program is a general communication program with no concentration requirements, giving students the opportunity to study a range of topics in communication. As part of the general education coursework, students at the University of Arizona must complete four semesters of a foreign language (or the equivalent in proven proficiency). Study abroad and internship opportunities are available to provide a real-world perspective to the program. Students from Arizona community colleges can transfer credit easily to this online Communications Degree program, provided they meet admission eligibility requirements. Accepted students who enroll will have access to advising and other student support. To apply in the fall, spring, or summer sessions, prospective students must open an online account to submit their application (fee applies) and transcripts for admissions consideration.

#23 University of Denver

  • Annual Tuition: $30,060
  • Median Salary: $94,200
  • Locations: Denver (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts at the University of Denver is an online bachelor’s degree communications completion program. It is designed for students interested in building relationships with diverse audiences in a variety of fields, including communications, media, and any other industry where strong writing and analytical thinking are valued by employers. This program is offered as 100% asynchronous online or in a hybrid format depending on the student’s preference. The virtual classroom (provided through Canvas) offers the same course content as the online program, providing access to both professors and peers. The online communications degree program has 10-week classes divided into core classes majors, and electives (number of electives will depend on the amount of credit transferred in). Enrolled students have access to campus resources, including academic advising, research opportunities, writing assistance and tutoring, IT support, library resources, disability services, and veteran and military support. A career services center offers one-on-one professional coaching and networking opportunities. Students apply online and submit their application form, fee, and transcripts for consideration by the admissions committee.

What Can You Expect from an Online Communications Degree?

Communications degrees are one of the most popular degrees in the country. This is primarily because the subject matter is broad and the skills can be applied to nearly any industry. During an online communications degree, you'll study various ways of effective communication through writing, digital media, marketing, and public speaking. These degree programs generally require 120 credits and take four years to complete on a full-time schedule. At minimum, applicants will need a high school diploma or GED certificate to apply for a communication degree online.

During an online communications degree, you'll study various ways of effective communication through writing, digital media, marketing, and public speaking.

Once accepted into a program, you'll explore both written and spoken communication and various forms of speech — including persuasive, informative, and demonstrative. Some students use a bachelors as a stepping stone to a master's in communications.

Are Online Degrees Valid?

There are a lot of things to consider before applying for college, such as ways to save money by applying for scholarships, financial aid, or student loans. Among the most important considerations is your school's accreditation status. This refers to the process of evaluation performed by accrediting organizations to determine whether a school meets the appropriate standards.

Online schools are accredited the same as traditional universities, making them just as respected as their on-campus counterparts.

The best communications schools are approved by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications: the premier organization responsible for ensuring quality programmatic education in the field of communication.

Courses for a Communications Degree Online

Online communication degrees offer a broad set of courses that are designed to develop skills for employment in journalism, public relations, and digital media. If your degree is designated as a Bachelor of Science, it will also include STEM courses. Overall, classes cover the foundational principles of communication through public speaking and social media as well as organizational leadership skills and communications systems on an international scale.

Below is a list of some of the common courses found in a bachelor's degree in communications:

Critical Approaches to Communication

This class helps to form your understanding of the foundation of communication through a historical and theoretical lens. It also focuses on the philosophical understanding of communication and the guiding principles used to develop the discipline.

Introduction to New and Social Media

An online degree in communications wouldn't be complete without an exploration of the new media landscape. This course looks at social media and how it's transforming societal, organizational, and individual communication styles. It also covers the concept of creating meaningful communication through new media, such as journalism, public relations, and advertising.

Presentation and Interview Anxiety Reduction Techniques

This course looks at the various ways of reducing stress and anxiety while communicating in a public forum. It covers the necessary skills and tools needed to perform during high intensity speeches, presentations, and interviews.

Speech Communication in Business

Speech communication in business explores the methods and principles for communicating in a professional environment or workplace setting. This includes informative and persuasive methods of speaking as well as one-to-many presentation practices.

Interpersonal Communication

This introductory course looks at the research, concepts, and theories for communicating with one or more people. The subject matter includes an in-depth teaching of non-verbal forms of communicating, such as facial expressions, hand gestures, body language, and eye contact.

Should You Choose a Concentration?

The best online schools for communications feature several concentration options. Concentrations allow you to narrow the scope of your studies and build your skills for the career you want to achieve. They are specific to certain industries or communication methods, all the way from health care to journalism.

Health Communication

Students of health communication study how health-related information is produced and disseminated in order to educate individuals, community groups, institutions, and public policy. For instance, a graduate of a health communications program might be hired to design a health communications strategy for a vulnerable population, create a guide pamphlet on medications for patients, communicate hospital news and field questions for the media, or prepare health policy briefs for legislators. Coursework in this focus area typically includes health communication technology, biostatistics, professional health writing, and public healthcare policies.

Journalism & Media

Journalists produce media content to inform the public about current news and events happening on a local, national, or global scale. Journalists may work for newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, television, radio, or social media. They work as reporters, correspondents, broadcast news analysts, television and radio announcers, editors, photographers, and more. Typical journalism coursework includes journalism ethics, feature writing, copywriting, news reporting, photojournalism, video journalism, business journalism, digital media, and beat journalism.

Public Relations

Public relations (PR) specialists produce media releases to build and sustain a desired public image for the organization or entity they represent. Their clients vary widely and may include large corporations, politicians, nonprofits, artists, and more. Public relations responsibilities often include acting as company spokesperson before the media, preparing clients for press conferences and interviews, writing speeches, and managing social media. Important coursework for potential PR specialists includes advertising, speech writing, political campaign strategy, image management, public relations writing, marketing and promotion, and other writing-focused courses.

Speech & Rhetorical Studies

A concentration in speech and rhetorical studies helps to train students to employ persuasive strategies toward advocacy, law, social justice, and political professions. Typical coursework for speech and rhetoric programs includes public advocacy, writing seminars, theories of rhetoric, language and meaning, rhetoric and social change, speechwriting, and body language. Graduates with this specialization can go on to become teachers, administrators, corporate educators, lawyers, advertisers, political campaigners, social advocates, consultants, media promoters, and grant-writers.

Strategic & Organizational Communications

Degrees focused on strategic and organizational communications train students to develop and implement communications strategies that promote an organization’s goals, identity, and mission. Specialized coursework typically involves organizational strategy and leadership, strategic storytelling, setting strategic direction, small group communication methods, gender roles in communication, and other courses specific to organization type. Graduates may pursue one of a variety of career paths, including managing corporate inter-departmental communications, devising ways of disseminating information to the public, or volunteering for nonprofit organizations.

Technical Communication

Technical communicators, or technical writers, design communications materials about technical information or products. For example, technical communicators might create instruction manuals, how-to guidebooks, or journal articles to be used in a range of fields: software development, manufacturing, government, and biomedical technology. Coursework for these degree programs typically includes standard communications curriculum as well as a shared set of prerequisites in math, statistics, and computer programming. Some programs give students the chance to work on real projects for actual clients to keep up with the rapid developments in software and technology.

Jobs in Communications

Pursuing a career in communications involves a variety of interpersonal and professional communication skills. Your career options upon graduation are just as varied as the required skills.

Public relations specialist is a popular choice for graduates because your communication skills can be applied to many different industries. They make a median annual salary of $62,800 per year, and experience above-average job growth at 11%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

There's also the option of becoming a journalist, which would require a fair amount of specific training and expertise. There are even options for technical writers that develop how-to guides and support documents. This particular role earns a median salary of $78,060 — much higher than that of a news analyst/journalist, which each sits at $48,370.

So, are communications degrees in demand? Each career has their own job outlook depending on the growth of the industry. Technical writers and public relations specialists are expected to see a higher job growth than average (11-12%), while a journalist or editor's job outlooks range from only 5-6%. Two of the fastest growing roles in communications are interpreters and translators, which are expected to grow by 24% in the next decade.

Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications Degree Worth It?

Online degrees in communications provide a useful set of skills in critical thinking, writing, and problem-solving. The number of students taking on these particular programs have been steadily increasing for decades, and the job outlook is positive for several roles that require these skills. But, is it really worth it?

To answer this question, let's look at the pros and cons of obtaining a degree in communications:

Potential Benefits

There's a broad range of career opportunities in various areas. Public relations majors, for example, can enter a wide variety of industries — from entertainment to healthcare and technology to marketing.

Conquer your fear of public speaking. Communications degrees require you to challenge yourself, especially with speaking in a public forum, giving presentations, and participating in interviews.

The median salary for communications careers is higher than average. The BLS states that the median yearly earnings for roles in communications was $62,340, as of May 2021, while the average salary of all occupations sits at $45,760.

Potential Drawbacks

Communications degrees may not set you apart in a competitive job market. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, communications degrees are in the top ten most common degrees in the country.

Roles in the media are often looked at as untrustworthy. A 2021 Gallup poll reported that only 36% of Americans trust the news to report accurate stories.

Social media is constantly evolving. As both a student and professional, you'll be required to frequently update your skills as they relate social media trends and how to effectively communicate within their ecosystems.

Bottom Line

Communications degrees provide ample opportunity for a stable, professional career. Although the wages vary, depending on the industry and the role, many fields boast a positive job outlook, and overall, you can expect a higher-than-average salary.

You'll explore subjects such as journalism, writing, and ESL while developing useful skills surrounding business practices and interpersonal relationship building.

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