Online Bachelor’s in Communication Programs
Communication is one of the most popular choices for bachelor's degrees in the country. A wide-ranging subject of study, bachelor's in communication degrees prepare students for careers in business, media, arts, and the law. Students can choose from Bachelor of Arts degrees that focus on interpersonal communication, corporate communication and the humanities, or Bachelor of Science programs that provide students with technical and science-based communication skills. Aside from bachelor degree type, communication students also have a variety of schools, program specializations and program formats to choose from, including online bachelor's degree programs. The choice to pursue a bachelor's in communication online versus a traditional on-campus communication bachelors program may make sense for students with a number of special circumstances, including those who need to work while taking classes, parents of young children, and those who live in rural areas far removed from a college or university. For these students, there are a number of high-quality bachelor's in communications programs to consider.
Online bachelor's in communication programs prepare students for a number of potential careers, such as:
- Writer and Journalist
- Sales & Marketing Executive
- Public Relations Manager
- Advertising Executive
- Web Designer & Website Manager
- Human Resources Specialist
- Social Media Manager
- Consumer Researcher
- Public Affairs Officer
- Video Producer & Content Creator
Enrollment in online higher education courses continues to grow. According to a survey by the Babson Survey Research Group, more than 31 percent of all higher education students in 2016 took at least one distance education course, and distance education enrollment increased 5.6 percent in 2016 compared with the year before. With this rise in popularity, a number of colleges and universities offer high-quality bachelors in communication degrees. If you are considering enrolling in an online bachelor's program, be sure to keep the following considerations in mind when researching schools and programs:
Especially important with an online degree program is accreditation. A program's accreditation by a reputable third party organization means the program has been evaluated according to high academic standards and has met or exceeded the organization's criteria for a high-quality educational program. Any program you consider should be accredited by an accrediting organization such as the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, specialized communication program accreditors such as the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications or the Public Relations Student Society of America, or a regional accrediting organization like the Higher Learning Commission.
Another important factor for many students is the program cost. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of undergraduate education in the U.S was estimated to be $16,757 at public institutions, $43,065 at private non-profit institutions and $23,775 at private for-profit institutions during the 2015-2016 academic year. Obviously, tuition cost can vary widely from school to school. In addition to school type, other factors that can influence program cost are a school's geographic location, reputation, a student's residence status, and whether a student takes online courses. In some cases, earning your bachelor's degree online can be more cost-effective than a traditional on-campus program, particularly when you factor in the cost savings on housing and commuting to campus.
Whether you are considering an online program or an on-campus program, make sure to research the total cost of any program. That includes tuition, mandatory fees, estimated cost of books and materials, and housing costs. Take the time to contact your school's financial aid officers to ask about scholarships, grants, work study opportunities, student loans, and other programs that can save you money and make your degree program more affordable.
Admissions requirements for online bachelor's in communication programs are the same as their on-campus counterparts, which include:
- High school diploma and transcripts of all high school coursework
- GPA of 3.0 or higher in college preparatory coursework
- Standardized test scores from ACT or SAT at or above the school's minimum requirements
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement or other writing sample
Be sure to verify all the admissions requirements and application deadlines with your school of choice to ensure you have met all requirements and submitted your application by the appropriate deadline for consideration.
Classes & Courses
Bachelor's degrees in communication include general education courses in humanities, math, science, and social studies as well as communication degree courses. Specific communication courses vary from school to school depending on a particular program concentration such as journalism, public relations, advertising, business communication, etc. As one example, the online bachelor's in communication program at Purdue University Global offers the following courses:
- Communication Concepts and Skills
- Mass Media and Broadcasting
- Interpersonal Communication
- Communication of Research Skills
- Public Speaking for the Professional
- Technical Communication
- Tools for the Digital Age
- Organizational Communication
- Strategic Communication
- Communicating in a Diverse Society
Real World Experience
One of the benefits of distance learning is the ability to take classes on a flexible schedule, which allows students the time for on-the-job experiences in the communications field. Like their on-campus counterparts, many online schools also allow students to earn credit for an internship in their chosen field. For example, Montana State University in Billings' online B.S. in Public Relations program makes sure to provide students with internship opportunities throughout their course of study. This real-life experience in the communication industry can go a long way toward helping recent graduates find full-time employment.
Online bachelor's degree programs offer many advantages to students, including the convenience of completing assignments and watching lectures from home, according to their own busy schedules. For working students and those with family commitments, this convenience can make earning a bachelor's degree attainable. For students living in rural or remote locations, an online degree program saves students long commute times and puts a wider variety of schools and programs within reach. Online degree programs offer the same rigorous coursework as on-campus programs, as well as internship opportunities near a student's home, allowing them to gain hands-on and professionally-supervised experience in their chose field. Additionally, online programs save students the cost of campus housing, commuting, and parking that can make getting a bachelor's degree in communication more affordable.