When pursuing an associates degree in communications, you’ll study mass media, technology, public speaking, organizational messaging, and more. This two-year degree has the potential to prepare you for a variety of promising fields.
The lessons you learn could provide the foundation for a career in business, writing, or broadcasting, and they could also prepare you for additional college studies.
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Read on to learn more about the versatility of a degree in communications. These skill sets are vital for many industries and essential for interpersonal relationships.
Online Associates Degrees in Communications
Everyone communicates, and every organization relies on clear communication. It makes sense, then, that communications is a valuable, versatile field of study for college undergraduates.
To earn a degree in 2 years or less, you might think about earning an associate degree in communications. During your time in school, you’ll likely learn about:
- Communication theory
- History of communication
- Intercultural communication
- Jobs in communications
- Law and ethics
- Mass media
- Organizational structure
- Public speaking
- Technology and social media
- Visual communication
- Written communication
This degree program usually requires students to complete 60 credit hours before graduation. Often, those credits can be earned through online classes. In fact, many communication associate degree programs are available 100% online.
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In your curriculum, there may be readings, essays, class discussions, case studies, and group projects to complete. An internship isn’t usually a requirement at this stage, but it might be an option that enhances your studies. Because you’ll take general education courses too, this degree program is often transferable toward a bachelor’s degree. In that case, you might be able to start a four-year program as a junior.
If that’s something you might be interested in, you can look for colleges that have articulation agreements with other schools or offer their own bachelor in communications programs. After graduation, you might be able to enter a variety of industries with your degree.
Options in this field could include public relations, social media marketing, writing, broadcasting, or human resources. For entry-level opportunities, you could also look at customer service or reception jobs.
Communication Studies Careers & Salaries
Many communication studies graduates pursue business jobs that rely on good communication skills. For example, people in marketing, public relations, and human resources departments need to be able to communicate well. These jobs often require a bachelor’s degree, but some entry-level roles may not.
Pursuing work as a secretary, customer service representative, receptionist, or administrative assistant could be another option for entry-level work in business and communications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following are common career paths for communications studies majors.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Writers and Authors||$69,510|
|Public Relations Specialists||$62,800|
|Broadcast, Sound, and Video Technicians||$49,050|
|Announcers and DJs||$45,810|
|Human Resources Assistants||$45,630|
|Secretaries and Administrative Assistants||$39,680|
|Customer Service Representatives||$36,920|
Hiring requirements can vary from one employer to the next. Some roles require no college experience, and others may require at least a bachelor’s degree.
A communication associate’s degree could also help you strengthen your written communication skills. Writers need to be able to communicate well with the people who read their work. Some writing jobs need a bachelor’s degree, but not all.
Technical writing is a branch that pays especially well. It could be a strategic choice if you have a good understanding of science or technology. Another job option for some graduates is to work as an announcer. Many announcers work for radio stations, but there are also announcing jobs in television, sports, and other industries.
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Depending on your program, you might also develop the technical know-how to operate communications equipment, such as video cameras or mixing boards.
AA in Communication Curriculum & Courses
During an associate degree program, you’ll study the fundamentals of the communications field. Here are examples of courses you may take:
- Communication Ethics: As you evaluate case studies and talk with your classmates, you’ll explore your ethical responsibilities as a communications professional.
- Communication in Organizations: This class will merge studies in organizational structure and leadership with communication principles so that you can learn to be a strong communicator in workplace settings.
- Cross-Cultural Communication: During your time in this course, you’ll explore ideas related to communication among diverse groups of people.
- Foundations of Communication: This introductory course can help you gain a broad overview of the communication field and consider possible career paths that you might want to pursue.
- Legalities of Communication: This course may cover legal issues like privacy, freedom of speech, and copyright laws.
- Mass Media: In this class, you’ll study forms of communication that reach large groups of people, you’ll examine their history, and you’ll consider their current influence.
- Public Speaking: You’ll practice your presentation skills and gain valuable insights for delivering oral communication in business settings.
- Social Media: You and your classmates will weigh the benefits and challenges of social media platforms and other digital communication spaces.
- Technology in Communication: This course will cover current technologies that enable communication among people, and it may address emerging technologies as well.
- Visual Design: As you learn how to communicate through images, you may also practice using digital design software.
An associate degree program in communications usually requires students to complete about 60 credit hours. In addition to major-specific courses, there will also be general education classes.
Before you can start a communications associate degree, it’s typically required that you first be a high school graduate. Some schools accept GED certificates as an alternative. Applying for a college associate degree program might also require:
- ACT or SAT scores (not required for all schools)
- High school transcripts and any college transcripts
- Online application form
- Proof of identification, such as a driver’s license
Some colleges charge a small fee to process your application.
Communications Degree Programs Accreditation
Before enrolling in an online communications program, it’s strategic to know whether the school is reputable. To figure that out, you can look into its accreditation status. The best schools hold regional accreditation. As a general rule, an accredited degree is worth more than an unaccredited one. That’s because both colleges and employers see accreditation as valuable.
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With an associate degree from an accredited school, you might be able to transfer into a bachelor’s program and already be halfway to a degree. Employers may also be more likely to consider you a well-prepared job candidate who’s ready to contribute to their teams.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If you’re concerned about the cost of an associates in communications online degree, it’s helpful to look into your financial aid options. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a good place to start.
As a full-time undergraduate student, you may be eligible to receive grants or student loans from state and federal programs. Part-time students can typically receive assistance too, but there is a minimum course load per semester that must be met.
Scholarships from your college or other sources could help as well. Some students can cover a large portion of their tuition through scholarship funding. Even your workplace might have employee scholarship programs.
What Do You Learn in Communications Studies?
In a communication studies program, you’ll first learn about the various communication theories that undergird this field. Other courses may cover the history of communication, current communication technology, and laws and ethics that should guide communication practices.
Common courses include:
- Communication in Business
- International Communication
- Media and Technology
- Visual Messaging
You can develop various communication skills during this program. For one thing, you’ll probably practice your public speaking abilities. You might learn to use graphic design software as well. In addition, you could have the opportunity to experiment with social media tools and strategies.
What Can I Do with a Communications Associates Degree?
An associates in communication could prepare you for entry-level work in a variety of business settings. Some graduates utilize their communication skills as customer service representatives or secretaries. Others pursue work as assistants in HR or public relations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, communications studies can also be helpful for launching a writing career. You could also look into working as a television or radio announcer. Sports teams rely on professionals with announcing skills too. These are just a few examples of what you can do with a communications degree.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Communications Associate Degree?
Full-time students can expect an online associate degree in communications to take 2 years. This is a pretty standard timeframe, especially for on-campus programs and other schools that organize the academic year into two semesters.
Some online accelerated communications degree programs have academic calendars with classes lasting 6 weeks to 8 weeks each. This can allow students to move through courses more quickly. They’re offered year-round, and some students can finish in about 1.5 years with full-time study.
Transfer credit can also help speed up your time to completion. Part-time enrollment, on the other hand, can lengthen your time in school.
What Jobs Can You Get with an Associates Degree in Communications?
Some communication professionals work in marketing or public relations. Social media management, a career that relies heavily on communication skills, is related to both fields.
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A variety of writing jobs may be appropriate for people with associate degrees. Some may start out as freelance writers or copywriters. Others could look for entry-level reporting roles. An associate degree can also be beneficial on a resume when applying for jobs in customer service or administrative assisting. Those positions don’t always require degrees, so having a college education could provide an advantage.
What’s the Difference Between a Marketing vs. Communications Associate Degree?
Communications majors sometimes end up in the marketing field, but the two degree options aren’t the same.
|Associate in Communications||Associate in Marketing|
Some schools offer degrees in marketing communications to bridge these two related fields.
Is an Associate’s Degree in Communications Worth It?
Yes, an associate’s degree in communications is worth it for many professionals. This is a field of study that’s relevant for many different careers. Whether you want to work in marketing, broadcasting, public relations, or another line of work, starting with a communications associate degree could be beneficial.
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Some communications-related jobs are experiencing a good deal of growth. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that marketing specialist jobs may increase by 22% over the next decade. Public relations specialists are seeing 11% job growth over the same period. Plus, this associate degree may transfer smoothly into a bachelor’s program down the road.
Universities Offering Online Associates in Communications Degree Program
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
American Public University’s Associate of Arts in Communication can be earned entirely online. Classes start monthly and are 8 to 16 weeks long. Required courses include Introduction to Communication, Public Speaking, Social Media and Society, Intercultural Communication, and more. Students must also complete 12 semester hours of electives.
APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Chippewa Valley Technical College offers an Associate in Professional Communications. This 100% online program requires the completion of 60 credits and can typically be finished in 2 years.
New students can start taking classes each August. Courses are 8 weeks long. The curriculum is designed to help students develop their knowledge and skills in word processing, document design, rhetoric, digital literacy, proofreading and more.
Chippewa Valley Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The curriculum of Colorado Christian University’s AA in Communication Studies program is rooted in biblical principles. Students in the program take courses one at a time in blocks that are 5 weeks long. To graduate, students must complete 60 credits, which can typically be done in 2 years. CCU provides small class sizes to help ensure students receive individualized attention.
Colorado Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Franklin University offers an Associate of Science in Communications that can be earned 100% online. Scheduling is flexible to help accommodate busy adults. Courses in the program are 6 or 12 weeks long. Options include Introduction to Mass Media, Professional Communication, Theories of Communication, Communication Ethics, Communication in Groups and Teams, and more.
Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Georgia Military College offers an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science in Communication. The curriculum is designed to help students develop strong writing and public speaking skills while preparing them for a wide range of career and education options. GMC uses a quarterly academic calendar.
Georgia Military College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Monroe Community College offers an Associate of Science in Communication and Media Studies. The program is primarily aimed at students who want to pursue careers in journalism, advertising, marketing, and related fields. Courses include Video Production I, Public Speaking, Principles of Journalism, Media Literacy, and more.
Monroe Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The AA in Communication Studies program from Northampton Community College can help students prepare for careers in sales, public relations, advertising, marketing, and related fields. The program requires the completion of 62 credits. It can typically be completed in 4 semesters. The full degree program is available online and at two different campus locations.
Northampton Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Saint Paul College offers an Associate of Arts in Communication Studies program that includes online, on-campus, and hybrid course options. Saint Paul has a transfer agreement with Metropolitan State University for students who wish to go on to a bachelor’s degree program. The curriculum includes studies in persuasive speaking and writing, conflict management, team building, and more.
Saint Paul College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Sinclair Community College offers an Associate of Arts in Communication Studies. The program requires the completion of 62 credit hours. Course options include Introduction to Mass Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Effective Public Speaking, Small Group Communication, and more. To graduate, students must also take a capstone course.
Sinclair Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
South Texas College offers an Associate of Arts in Communication Studies. The degree is available on campus and online. Course options include Public Speaking, Business and Professional Communication, Argumentation and Debate, and more. The curriculum is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in core subjects as well.
South Texas College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Associate Degree in Communications Online
You can start your college career and prepare for the workforce by earning an associate degree in communications. The lessons you learn in this program could make you a more effective communicator in person, in print, and online.
Whether you want to work in business, media, or another field, this program could be a valuable part of your preparation. You can even earn this degree online. With online study, you can potentially maintain a full-time job or other responsibilities while taking college classes. An online degree in communications is still recognized as credible as long as its earned at a regionally accredited school.
You can start comparing online communications programs today to decide which is best for you.