Comm Careers: A Comprehensive Guide

By Dana Ihlenfeldt

“What does being a Communication major mean, exactly? What can you do with it?”
These are questions that Communication students are likely familiar with hearing – from family, friends, other students, new acquaintances, and potential employers. It can be difficult to simplify the Communication major into something understandable – from our major, to our skills, emphasis, or our potential careers.

The Communication Major:  What is it?”

Communication students learn how to write well; speak to individuals, groups, or crowds; and create visually appealing materials to accompany that work. They learn how to research, analyze, and plan decisions. These observable skills also have underlying abilities that are practiced throughout our program.

Behind a good writer, speaker, or designer means having a mind capable of critical thinking, independent research, and planning through the use of strategies and tactics. I would argue that Communication students at UWGB have a unique advantage because of our program. We practice those skills in a group-work-based environment, unlike many other programs and majors.

This skill set lets us work wherever our passion is; our skills are needed in almost any field.

“What can you do with it?”

Communication is certainly a major with no set path, which can be exhilarating or fearful depending on perspective. The key to Communication students finding a career is understanding the value their major has. Regardless, students should be aware of common career paths their major offers. As far as specific careers go, I’ll go over the some notable possibilities below for each emphasis.

Word cloud image created from descriptions of the program within the Communication Department website

Public Relations: “What is it?”

Public Relations is the study of how organizations present themselves to internal and external audiences. PR students become comfortable using a variety communication forms such as visuals, print, digital, video, verbal, or internet modes. They also learn to respond to organizational challenges such as announcing changes, promoting events, and responding to crises. Possible careers from this emphasis range from marketing, advertising, management, and social media to human resources. Public Relations professionals primarily work in business settings.

“What can you do with it?”

With a Public Relations emphasis, your future career could be the Marketing Director for Chartwells Higher Education Dining Service at UWGB. Sherry Zuege has accomplished this after graduating from UWGB in 2016 with a Communication major. Sherry, a family friend of the author, says she enjoys her position because she is challenged daily with projects but loves the work she does.

Organizational Communication: “What is it?”

Organizational Communication students study the structure of organizations from practices to dilemmas. They are particularly skilled in researching, analyzing, and reporting organizational problems. They learn a variety of skills useful to businesses such as speaking, interviewing, facilitating, and persuading. They can perform a variety of business skills that make them suitable for careers such as human resources or management.

“What can you do with it?”

According to his LinkedIn profile, Ben Kotenberg was a 2008 graduate of the UWGB Communication program. Following graduation, he went on to attend Illinois State University to receive a Master’s in Communication. Since his graduation, he has held several Organizational Communication-related positions. Some future career possibilities based on his success would be those of Instructional Designer, Training and Development Specialist, Consultant, or Corporate Marketing Intern. Most importantly, Ben returned to UWGB as an associate lecturer in the Communication and Information Sciences programs. He also aids the University of Wisconsin system regarding instructional design.

Journalism: “What is it?”

Journalism students develop skills in reporting, interviewing, writing, editing, and publishing for traditional print as well as digital media. Students in Journalism also learn hands-on skills like video reporting, video editing, in-depth research, and are able to receive hands-on experience.

“What can you do with it?”

With a Journalism emphasis, you could become a photojournalist for television station WKOW-27 based in Madison, Wisconsin. A career like this can get you on the field to film and edit footage of Packer games, as well as other behind-the-scenes perks journalists get to experience. According to the LinkedIn profile of a 2016 graduate, Bryan Konicek, this is where he is beginning his Communication career.

Mass Media: “What is it?”

Mass Media students learn skills relevant to careers in radio, television, film, and multimedia technology. Mass Media students learn skills best suited for careers in radio, television, film, or multimedia technology. The skills they develop in these media are observable, but they have underlying skills in marketing, promotions, event planning, and advertising.

“What can you do with it?”

You could work your way up from the Video Production Assistant to the Director of Football Technology for the Green Bay Packers. According to Mike Halbach’s LinkedIn, he was a 2005 graduate of the UWGB Communication Program, and has advanced through the Packers organization for several years.

Health Communication: “What is it?”

Health Communication is a new Communication emphasis that saw its start in the fall semester of 2016. Professor Katie Turkiewicz said that “the Health Communication emphasis is off to a great start this year and already has 20 students signed on.” In this emphasis, students learn about internal and external communication in the healthcare environment. Students particularly learn how to improve provider and patient interactions, improve communication within healthcare organizations and how to inform the public about healthcare issues, threats or crises.

“What can you do with it?”

Since the program recently began in the fall of 2017 there are no student graduates at this time. Professor Turkiewicz says that Health emphasis graduates can find careers in any type of position that “would require someone to “bridge the health literacy gap” and promote more effective communication with various stakeholders” in healthcare organizations. She also provided some specific career titles for future graduates:

  • Patient advocate
  • Communication skills educator
  • Health and wellness coordinator
  • Health journalist



A TYPO? Did you spot a typo or grammatical error in this story? PLEASE report it NOW to The Grammar Police so we can fix it before a potential employer – or one of our parents – sees it and busts us! Report it: HERE! Thank you 🙂

Leave a Reply