What is Communication?
College students considering a Communication major, their parents, employers, and other interested stakeholders all want to know the answer to the question, “What can Communication majors do professionally after graduation?”
There are many answers, ranging from securing full-time employment to making a difference in their workplaces and communities, to continuing their education. But among the most important answer is that college graduates with Communication degrees have the knowledge and skills employers need. When responding to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook Survey, employers identified the ability to verbally communicate with others inside and outside the organization and the ability to create and/or edit written documents as among the top ten skills they seek when hiring new college graduates. Graduates who majored in Communication bring these critical skills to the workplace. They demonstrate strong verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills and have considerable expertise in speaking well in front of small and large audiences.
The Humanities Indicators track trends in humanities disciplines and are developed from existing data sets and from the Humanities Departmental Survey. Humanities Indicators’ data indicate that Communication is one of the most popular humanities majors. In 2015, nearly 25 percent of bachelor’s degree completions in the humanities were in Communication.
Students, parents, faculty, and administrators—people from just about everywhere—are asking about Communication. As more and more students major in Communication, and as more students successfully pursue careers and professions that require and reward knowledge and ability in the Communication arts and sciences, NCA provides resources that assist students, their faculty mentors, career counselors, and other interested educators in their professional growth and development.
Advantages of a Degree in Communication
The knowledge, understanding, and skills that a student acquires through a program of study in Communication will help him or her become a valued asset in a variety of contexts—from organizations to politics, from families to multinational corporations. Communication graduates also appreciate how communication cuts across contexts and situations; it is the relational and collaborative force that constructs the social world.
The ability to communicate is one of the most highly sought skills by employers. In fact, the 2018 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey of 201 employers found that the knowledge and skills taught in Communication courses are essential to being hired, regardless of one’s major.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Many programs of study in Communication embrace a deep commitment to ethical and civically productive communication; they bring these values to their students via service learning experiences and coursework that reinforces the ethical imperative of good communication. Students emerge from such programs with a commitment to using their education to make a difference.
Communication majors make a difference in their workplaces every day. And they also make a difference in their communities.
What Can a Graduate Do with a Communication Degree?
A degree in Communication opens the door to a wide variety of employment opportunities. Communication graduates find jobs in the private, government, and non-profit sectors. Following are profiles of people with Communication degrees who are now employed in a range of interesting positions. These profiles illustrate the breadth of opportunity that is available to Communication graduates. Further, the profiles share, in graduates’ own words, how an education in Communication serves them well in their jobs.
SIERRA WILSON LOWE, B.A., Communication
Regulatory Communications Coordinator, Cook Medical Group
Sierra Lowe works as a Regulatory Communications Coordinator, responsible for the timely reporting and investigation of stakeholder complaints, including Adverse Event Reporting. At a company specializing in the development of minimally invasive medical devices, Lowe is continually managing sensitive information and assessing situations to determine effective forms of communication. Her role requires her to be informed of current regulatory laws and safety practices and also to present information to diverse audiences, including both corporate and government officials.
ROBERT ADDISON LAMPLEY, B.A., Communication; J.D.
Assistant Director, Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity, Central Michigan University
As an attorney, Robert Lampley investigates civil rights-based claims of harassment and discrimination that occur within the university community. He also advises a student-based organization that encourages students to voice their opinions and actively engage in campus activities. Lampley also provides training on university policies involving civil rights and equity.
DANA BASH, B.A., Political Communication
Chief Political Correspondent, CNN
Dana Bash is a journalist and anchorwoman for CNN, currently serving as the network’s chief political correspondent. Bash plays a key role in election coverage, and served as a questioner in six of the network’s seven 2016 primetime primary debates in addition to co-anchoring CNN Election Center. Since joining CNN upon her college graduation 23 years ago, Bash has served as the network’s White House and Capitol Hill correspondent and as an editor in CNN’s Washington bureau and producer for several of the network’s public affairs shows including “Late Edition” with Frank Sesno, “Evans & Novak,” and “Inside Politics Weekend” with Wolf Blitzer.