Career Information for a Degree in Business Communications
Students interested in coordinating the communications strategies of corporate, public and private organizations may want to consider a degree program in business communications. These programs teach students to write, speak publicly and interact with clients, preparing graduates for careers as communications managers, public relations specialists, technical writers and more.
Business Communications Degree Programs
A bachelor's degree program in business communications teaches communications theory with an emphasis on how communication is used to advance the interests of corporations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies or other companies. Students study interpersonal, group and business communication, as well as management, marketing, advertising, public relations and writing for a variety of traditional and digital media. Some programs may also include the opportunities for internships at public relations firms, corporations, media organizations or other businesses.
Business Communications Careers
Communications managers use communications strategies to gain the support of groups and individuals vital to an organization's success, including stockholders, consumers and employees. Also known as public relations managers or public relations directors, they guide the creation of internal and external communications to promote a positive view of their company or client. They write press releases and executive speeches, schedule media events, maintain corporate social media and websites, answer information requests and facilitate communication among corporate departments, executives and employees.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for public relations managers were expected to rise by 16% between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov). The BLS attributes this growth to an increased demand by corporations and other organizations to promote their public image. The bureau also notes that public relations managers earned median annual salaries of $95,450 in 2012 (www.bls.gov).
Public Relations Specialists
Public relations specialists, more commonly known as PR specialists, work for public relations firms, corporations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and individuals. These professionals establish and maintain the client's public image through media coverage and positive relationships. PR specialists are especially valuable to businesses and corporations because they write press releases to generate knowledge and interest in the company, or respond to negative press coverage. They also communicate with media outlets, citizen groups, shareholders, employees and government regulatory bodies on behalf of the client to disseminate information, answer questions and influence public perception. They may focus solely on crisis control, government relations or public affairs.
The BLS projected rapid occupational growth for PR specialists, with employment expected to increase by 23% between 2010 and 2020. Increased use of social media was the biggest factor in this projected growth. As of May 2012, the BLS reported median salaries of $54,170 per year for PR specialists.
Technical writers are responsible for writing instruction manuals, pamphlets, directions, catalog descriptions and promotional releases in clear, concise language. They understand the technical language of an industry, such as information technology, healthcare, scientific disciplines or engineering, and can translate that material so that many audiences can understand it. This may include assisting sales representatives with customer service, technical support and business communication questions. In addition to writing, they edit text, work with visual components of technical communications and interact with engineers, product developers and manufacturers as part of their research.
The BLS predicted demand for technical writers between 2010 and 2020, with 17% employment growth expected in this field. Growth in the technology industry and an increase in technical products and Web-based support would attribute greatly to the demand for technical writers, the BLS said. According to 2012 BLS estimates, technical writers earned a median wage of $65,550 per year.
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