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Career Opportunities - Communication Studies

Please note: The information provided here has been collected from The National Communication Association Office (Rana Culotta), multiple print and online resources, and from Kevin Gillen and Alec Hosterman of Indiana University at South Bend.

What is Communication?

Communication is shared symbolic meaning and includes both verbal and nonverbal sending and receiving of messages.

Famous People with Degrees in Communication:

It may surprise you to discover exactly who holds a communication degree. There are many famous people who have both studied in the discipline and gotten degrees in communication. A fair share of politicians and actors have studied communication, not to mention athletes and media personalities.

Career Options:

There are many career paths that a person with a communication major can choose. Here are some job titles that former graduates with communication majors hold. Use this as an idea list, and remember that it represents some - but certainly not all - of the careers you might consider. Some careers may take additional schooling.

Business: Management, Manager, Personnel Recruiter, Vice-President of Human Resources, Trainer, Director of Training and Development, Admissions Counselor, Benefits Administrator, Sales Representative, Executive Manager, Public Information Officer, Industrial and Labor Relations, Negotiator, Customer Service Representative, Newsletter Editor, Human Resources Manager, Mediator, Buyer

Advertising: Advertising Specialist, Marketing Specialist, Copy Writer, Account Executive Manager, Media Planner, Media Buyer, Creative Director, Media Sales Representative, Public Researcher

Communication Education: Language Arts Coordinator, High School Speech Forensics/Debate Coach, Drama Director, Speech Communication Department Chairperson, School Counselor, Education Researcher, Audiovisual Specialist, Educational Administrator, Director of College News, Educational Tester, Educational Fund Raiser, Alumni Officer

Broadcasting - Electronic Media, Radio, TV, etc.: Broadcasting Station Manager, Director of Broadcasting, Film/Tape Librarian, Community Relation Director, Unit Manager, News Writer, Transmitter Engineer, Technical Director, Advertising Sales Coordinator, Market Researcher, Actor/Actress, Announcer, Disc Jockey, News and Relation Manager, Comedy Writer, Casting Director, Producer, Business Manager, Floor Manager, Talk Show Host

Journalism - Print, Electronic, etc.: Reporter, Editor, Newscaster, Author, Copy Writer, Script Writer, News Service Researcher, Technical Writer, Acquisitions Editor, Media Interviewer

Public Relations: Publicity Manager, Advertising Manager, Marketing Specialist, Lobbyist, Corporate Public Affair Specialist, Account Executive, Development Officer, Sales Manager, Media Analyst, Media Planner, Creative Director, News Writer, Public Opinion Researcher

Theatre/Performing Arts: Performing Artist, Script Writer, Arts Administrator, Performing Arts Educator, Costume Design, Scenic Designer, Lighting, Theatre Critic, Makeup Artist, Stage Manager, Model, Theatre Professor, Casting Director

Government/Politics: Public Information Office Writer, Legislative Assistant, Campaign Director, Research Specialist, Program Coordinator, Elected Official

High Technology Industries: Trainer for Communication Tech., Circuit Television Producer/Director, Systems Analyst, Technical Copywriter, Language Specialist, Cognition Researcher, Audio and Visual Computer Display Specialist

Communication and Health Care: Health Educator, School Health Care Administrator, Medical Grants Writer, Hospital Director of Communication, Clinic Public Relations Director, Health Communication Analyst, Research Analyst, Medical Training Supervisor, Health Personnel Educator, Medical Center Publications Editor, Hospice Manager, Heath Care Counselor, Activities Director, Marketing Director

International Relations and Negotiations: On-Air International Broadcasting, Corporate Representative, Translator, Student Tour Coordinator, Diplomat, Foreign Correspondent

Law: Public Defender, Corporate Lawyer, District Attorney, Private Practice Lawyer, Legal Researcher, Mediation and Negotiation Specialist, Legal Secretary, Legal Reporter, Legal Educator

Social and Human Services: Public Administrator, Social Worker, Recreation Supervisor, Human Rights Officer, Community Affairs Liaison, Park Service Public Relations Specialist, Religious Leader, Mental Counselor

  • Sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, taught rhetoric at Harvard.
  • Lyndon Johnson taught public speaking at Southwest Texas State University.
  • Christine Gregoire, former Attorney General and current Governor of the state of Washington, earned a BA in speech from University of Washington.

Many successful actors and actresses were formally educated in the communication discipline.

  • Spike Lee holds a communication degree from Indiana University.
  • Meg Ryan studied journalism at New York University.
  • Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughy are both rumored to hold communication degrees but it remains unconfirmed.
  • Renee Zellweger and Denzel Washington both studied communication.
  • David Boreanaz from the television series "Angel" holds a communication degree.
  • James Gandolfini from "Sopranos" graduated from Rutgers University.
  • Nicholas Meyer, screenwriter/author/director, earned a Ph.D. from University of Iowa.

An abundance of star athletes have majored in communication as well.

  • Soccer player, Brandi Chastain, holds a degree from Santa Clara University.
  • Star basketball player "Magic" Johnson is an alumnus of Michigan State.
  • Donovan McNabb, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, holds a communication degree from Syracuse University.
  • St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner is a University of Northern Iowa graduate.
  • Minnesota Twins President David St. Peter studied communication at the University of North Dakota.

Not surprisingly, many successful media personalities and broadcast journalists hold degrees in communication.

  • Network newscaster Connie Chung studied communication.
  • Walter Cronkite earned a communication degree at the University of Texas.
  • Former "Nightline" host Ted Koppel earned a B.A. in speech and M.A. in mass communication from Syracuse University.
  • "Today Show" host Matt Lauer holds a B.A. from Ohio University.
  • Shock-jock radio and television personality Howard Stern studied communication.
  • "Late Night" host David Letterman studied at Ball State University.
  • Network news anchor Jane Pauley is an Indiana University alumni.
  • Former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather holds a journalism degree from University of Texas at Austin.
  • Television news/sports host, Bob Costas studied communication.

There are many more interesting people with communication degrees. Here are some additional examples:

  • John Gray - author (He earned a Ph.D. from Columbia Pacific University.)
  • Hugh Hefner - publisher (He earned a communication degree from the University of Illinois.)
  • Gary Larson - "The Far Side" cartoonist (He earned a B.A. from the University of Washington.)
  • Mark McGrath - lead singer for Sugar Ray (He earned a B.A. from the University of Southern California.)
  • Edmund Muskie - politician (He was a debater at Bates College.)
  • Andrea Rich - Director of LACMA, former professor at UCLA
  • Tennessee Williams - playwright (He studied communication at the University of Iowa.)
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic - popular parody/novelty musician (He was involved in the forensics team at Cal Poly.)

For more information....

For more information:

Rob Vogel
(509) 533-7348 or 1-800-248-5644 ext. 7348


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