Career Pathway: Communications

Pathway Overview

Why Communications?

  • Variety of options for specialization
  • Opportunities for continual advancement
  • Desirable payscale

The way we communicate constantly evolves.  Every breakthrough changes the way we deliver and consume news, advertising, and content. That means communications professionals need to evolve, too. Tomorrow’s creative leaders will need knowledge and expertise across multiple fields. This program prepares students to think critically while identifying and analyzing opportunities; envisioning, proposing, and implementing solutions; and adapting to change and uncertainty.

Certifications and Professional Development

OrganizationDefinition/PurposeAssociated Roles
PRSAThe Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the nation’s leading professional organization serving the communications community.Public Relations Specialist
Security ClearanceSome positions within the communications field require government security clearance. Technical WriterCommunications Planner
STCThe Society for Technical Communication is the world’s oldest professional association dedicated to the advancement of technical communication.Technical Writer
AMAThe American Marketing Association (AMA) leads unparalleled discussion on marketing excellence. The AMA offers differentiated content that focuses on the tension between Best Versus Next Practices™.Chief Marketing OfficerMarketing DirectorAdvertising Manager

In-Demand Skills

Ultimately, your ability to land a specific role rests on your experience and educational background as well as your proficiency in the skills below.

Field-Specific Skills

  • Marketing and PR: Social Media
  • Project Management
  • Media and Writing: Journalism
  • Online Marketing
  • Content Development and Management
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Market Analysis
  • Brand Management
  • Business Process and Analysis
  • Business: People Management

Transferable Skills and Qualities

  • Detail-Oriented
  • Microsoft-Office
  • Proficient
  • Collaborative
  • Critical Thinking
  • Deadline-Oriented
  • Organized
  • Presentation
  • Savvy
  • Solution-Oriented
  • Customer-Service
  • Proficient
  • Quality-Assurance Minded
  • Self-Development
  • Driven
  • Communicative

Job Titles

Note: Some job titles are used interchangeably. The title descriptors may change the level of the position; for example, terms like “associate” and “coordinator” tend to indicate entry-level positions, whereas terms like “lead,” “senior,” and “specialist” often indicate mid-level. 

Entry-Level

Technical Writer

Technical writers prepare, review, revise, and maintain technical documents. They may review materials such as letters, memorandi, reports, guidance and training documents, and meeting minutes. They also collaborate with senior members of the writing team to develop expertise in products, and write clear documentation that simplifies complex topics. Tags: Technical Writer (Junior), Technical Communications

Relevant Certifications: Some government positions require security clearance.  

Future Roles: Sr. Technical Writer, Consultant, Data Engineer.

Social Media Associate 

Social media associates develop social media content across multiple platforms, monitor activity trends, and evaluate strategies for organizations and clients. Associates develop content based on social media monitoring and analysis, using data to inform tactics and plan future marketing. They also coordinate with design and graphics teams to create a cohesive brand identity. Tags: Social Media Associate, Coordinator, Social Media Analyst

Future Roles: Social Media Manager, Business Intelligence Analyst, Data Scientist

Public Relations Specialist

PR professionals specialize in crafting brand identity through problem solving and expertise in a variety of verbal and written communications. Core responsibilities include building client relationships, creating branded content, managing media relations, digital marketing, and project management. Tags: Public Relations, PR and Marketing, Public Relations Specialist

Future Roles: Public Relations Manager, Social Media Manager, Marketing Manager

Mid-Level

Advertising Manager

Advertising managers are responsible for building client and customer relationships. They prioritize analytical thinking to develop and implement sales plans, processes, and programs for their organizations. They also interpret data at the macro level and strategize marketing campaigns to meet sales, recruitment, and advancement goals. Tags: Advertising Manager, Senior Advertising Account Manager, Sales Manager, Audience Manager

Previous Roles: Marketing Specialist, Data Analyst

Future Roles: Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Director


Media Planner

Media planners analyze client goals, develop media strategies, and optimize media plans. They also oversee budgets and create performance feedback loops to optimize content reach. This is a highly collaborative role that interfaces with media directors, public relations, and account services. Key skills include expertise in social media, Google and Bing platforms, as well as other marketing data programs. The role also calls for strong leadership abilities and attention to detail. Tags: Media Planner, Media Buyer, Media Intake Specialist

Previous Roles: Data Analyst, Public Relations Specialist, Social Media Planner 

Future Roles: Marketing Director, Chief Marketing Officer

Senior-Level

Chief Marketing Officer

CMOs develop strategies to drive long-term growth of an organization. They do so by leveraging existing markets to sell products across verticals, cultivating a pipeline of prospects, and negotiating with potential partners.  Tags: Senior Director, Associate Director, Director  

Previous Roles: Marketing Manager, Public Relations Manager

Future Roles: Director, Vice President, or Other Senior Title

Employer-Ready

We encourage everyone to become employer-ready, which means having an industry-backed resume and strong online presence (ex: LinkedIn).

Employer-Ready Means…

  • Meeting industry requirements.
  • Creating industry-backed materials.
  • Successfully networking.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to on-going learning.
  • Being proactive with outreach and follow-up strategies.

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