Is A Degree In Communications Worthless?

"I want to major in Communication, because I’m really interested in it, but my parents say that it’s a worthless degree. They showed me statistics and articles to support their theory on the internet. I was hoping you could help me come up with some explanation which I can show them as to why a Communication major is not worthless. I think it would help to convince them if I could find an expert saying something to support what I want."

asked by Stephen from Bradshaw City, AZ

Well, first off, hoping that something is useful does not make it so. That said, anyone can argue all day long as to whether a degree in Communication (or anything else at all, for that matter) is worthless or useful. I would argue that what matters the most is what you choose to do with your degree. That goes for Communication or any other degree you might pursue.

Why are you interested in Communication? Is it the theory that appeals to you, or the practice? Do you want to write? Work in video production? Do radio? What are your long-term career plans? I recommend that you look up statistics in the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website for any occupation you might ultimately pursue.

See if you can find one that interests you and which the BLS reports will have a lot of opportunity or potentially pay you well. It’s hard to argue with the government’s data since it is pretty comprehensive. I recommend you look up “public relations specialist” first, if you are at all interested in PR. PR is considered one of the hottest fields right now, and a Communication degree is perfect for it. If that appeals to you, I bet it will appeal to your parents too.

Another nice thing about Communication is that it provides you with an all-around useful set of skills. You might ultimately put those skills to work doing something totally different from what you expected to do, pursuing a nontraditional career track later in life.

The technical skills in broadcasting (video camera operation for example) are useful for many different applications, and learning how to write and speak publicly is useful no matter where you go. The skills you learn in business and interpersonal communication are excellent for management positions.

Not all Communication related jobs pay well or offer a lot of opportunity right now, so your parents are right about that. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still perfectly viable career tracks out there that start with the degree you are interested in pursuing. I suggest teaming up with your parents and an advisor to work out an educational path that will lead you to a profitable career.

There is probably a way that you can study what you want to and still get a great job after school. You just need to get creative, have an open mind, and do some extra research to make your case to your family.

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