What is a Communications Specialist

Josh Earnest was the White House press secretary serving President Obama during his/her second term in office. He/She was voted the best press secretary in a Politico survey for his/her poise demeanor and persuasive construct in his/her correspondence with the White House press corps.

The role of a communication specialist is likened to that of a press secretary. That is, to be a spokesperson in charge of both internal and external communications of an organization. Their duties include developing social media strategy, producing marketing communications material, and crafting mass media announcements. Besides that, they also plan press conferences, contribute to website content, and build a relationship with key stakeholders.

Employers generally require communications specialists to have a business or communications-related bachelor's degree. This role earns, on average, $21 per hour and is well suited for someone who has a knack for public relations.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a Communications Specialist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $25.78 an hour? That's $53,632 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 17,300 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Communications Specialist Do

There are certain skills that many Communications Specialists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed Problem-solving skills, Speaking skills and Writing skills.

Learn more about what a Communications Specialist does

How To Become a Communications Specialist

If you're interested in becoming a Communications Specialist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 64.3% of Communications Specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 9.9% of Communications Specialists have master's degrees. Even though most Communications Specialists have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a Communications Specialist. When we researched the most common majors for a Communications Specialist, we found that they most commonly earn Bachelor's Degree degrees or Associate Degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on Communications Specialist resumes include Master's Degree degrees or High School Diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a Communications Specialist. In fact, many Communications Specialist jobs require experience in a role such as Internship. Meanwhile, many Communications Specialists also have previous career experience in roles such as Customer Service Representative or Administrative Assistant.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. IBM Jobs (54)
  2. American Red Cross Jobs (68)
  3. Science Applications International Jobs (209)
  4. Robert Half Jobs (43)
  5. Pharmaceutical Product Development Jobs (79)
Average Salary
$53,632
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
47,806
Job Openings
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Communications Specialist Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Communications Specialist

Communications Specialists in America make an average salary of $53,632 per year or $26 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $73,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $39,000 per year.
Average Salary
$53,632
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12 Communications Specialist Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Communications Specialist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Communications Specialist resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Communications Specialist Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. IBM Jobs (54)
  2. American Red Cross Jobs (68)
  3. Science Applications International Jobs (209)
  4. Robert Half Jobs (43)
  5. Pharmaceutical Product Development Jobs (79)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Communications Specialist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Communications Specialist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Communications Specialist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Communications Specialist Resume
Communications Specialist Resume
Communications Specialist Resume
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Communications Specialist Resume
Communications Specialist Resume
Communications Specialist Resume
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Communications Specialist Resume
Communications Specialist Resume

Communications Specialist Demographics

Communications Specialist Gender Statistics

female

57.1 %

male

42.9 %

Communications Specialist Ethnicity Statistics

White

73.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

10.5 %

Black or African American

8.6 %

Communications Specialist Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

57.6 %

French

12.6 %

Italian

4.5 %
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Communications Specialist Education

Communications Specialist Majors

14.5 %

Communications Specialist Degrees

Bachelors

64.3 %

Associate

13.9 %

Masters

9.9 %

Top Colleges for Communications Specialists

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

4. University of Houston

Houston, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,913
Enrollment
37,291

5. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

6. Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,853
Enrollment
14,759

7. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

8. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

9. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

10. Marquette University

Milwaukee, WI • Private

In-State Tuition
$41,870
Enrollment
8,200
Job Openings

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Online Courses For Communications Specialist That You May Like

Winning Communication Skills for Telephone, Conference Calls
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Top Skills For a Communications Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.0% of Communications Specialists listed Communication on their resume, but soft skills such as Problem-solving skills and Speaking skills are important as well.

Best States For a Communications Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Communications Specialist. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Oregon, Virginia, and Alaska. Communications Specialists make the most in Washington with an average salary of $71,452. Whereas in Oregon and Virginia, they would average $63,128 and $59,751, respectively. While Communications Specialists would only make an average of $59,487 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Communications Specialist Jobs:
327
Highest 10% Earn:
$91,000
Location Quotient:
2.24
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Virginia

Total Communications Specialist Jobs:
1,039
Highest 10% Earn:
$83,000
Location Quotient:
1.27
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Washington

Total Communications Specialist Jobs:
644
Highest 10% Earn:
$93,000
Location Quotient:
1.01
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Communications Specialists

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Top Communications Specialist Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ Communications Specialists and discovered their number of Communications Specialist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Us Navy was the best, especially with an average salary of $54,465. AT&T; follows up with an average salary of $53,794, and then comes United States Marine with an average of $54,465. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a Communications Specialist. The employers include The Williams Companies, ICF, and Marworth

Most Common Employers For Communications Specialist

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Communications Specialist SalaryAverage Salary
1$81,179
2$60,868
3$55,523
4$54,862
5$54,777
6$54,741

Communications Specialist Videos

Becoming a Communications Specialist FAQs

How long does it take to become a communication specialist?

It takes five to eight years to become a communications specialist. This role typically requires a bachelor's degree and three to four years of experience; however, some companies hire especially talented and experienced entry-level candidates.

The best way to become a communications specialist is to leverage your college education. Enroll in a program like English, Communications, or Journals. These programs ensure students create a work portfolio that demonstrates they are strong communicators.

Additionally, you should complete at least one internship as part of your degree, which demonstrates real-world experience. It is also recommended that communication specialists take part in extracurricular or volunteer opportunities such as running the school newspaper or joining networking groups.

Once a person graduates, they should quickly find their first communications position. Under certain circumstances, this first job might be a communications specialist, but this is uncommon. Even so, if a communications professional works hard, they can move into the role more quickly.

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Is communication specialist a good career?

A communications specialist is a good career. People who work as communications specialists are generally satisfied with their careers.

This is because there is a lot of variety within the role and plenty of opportunities to move into different industries, companies, and roles. While they typically do not make exceptional money, most people in communications make good money in a well-respected career field.

However, job satisfaction generally depends more on personal factors than on whether it is good on paper. People who are the most satisfied in this career are those who enjoy (and are naturally good at) communicating complex information to large groups of people.

Another natural skill and interest that a happy communication specialist should have is the ability to solve problems, especially in team settings. These are people who can "talk their way out of anything" and understand how to delicately navigate complex interpersonal relationships while communicating the necessary information.

Overall, becoming a communications specialist is a very good career opportunity, especially for people who are skilled in communicating and problem-solving.

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What degree do you need to be a communications specialist?

The most common degree for communications specialists is a bachelor's degree in communications. This is not surprising, but there are many other degree paths that provide useful and necessary skills to achieve this role.

These include English, business, journalism, marketing, and public relations. All of these degree paths have one thing in common: they prioritize training a student to communicate well. These are all programs that have a heavy focus on written and spoken communication.

An English or journalism degree will focus more on written communications. They will teach a student how to navigate various forms of writing, from articles to whitepapers to essays. This degree will help communications specialists who primarily work in internal or marketing communications focus on written communications.

Communications and marketing degrees are the most directly applicable to communications specialists. These degrees look to teach a student the various ways that business needs and communications combine to support business growth.

Finally, Business and Public Relations degrees can also be useful, but they typically train a person primarily in verbal communications. If your desired job is focused more on event communications and planning, or giving presentations about business updates, then these degrees will be more useful.

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What does a communication specialist make?

What a communications specialist makes depends on their experience level, but the average salary is around $50,000 a year. Entry-level communications specialists will make closer to $40,000 annually, while experienced communications specialists make upwards of $65,000 a year.

The best way to make a lot of money within this career is to leverage networking and continuing education opportunities to upskill. A person with additional skills can demonstrate more value to the company, which typically translates to higher salaries.

Since communications specialists often have end-of-year bonuses, this can be a great way to increase earning potential. Top-performing communications specialists can earn a bonus on top of their annual salary of about $10,000, though a more typical range is $3,000 to $6,000.

Finally, the communications specialist position is a stepping stone to senior-level and management positions. The best way to increase your career earning potential is to move through this position into higher-level positions as quickly as possible.

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What is the role of a communications specialist?

The role of a communications specialist is to communicate critical information or to create or maintain a stylized company image. These professionals typically work in the offices of advertising or PR firms, educational administrations, government agencies, or any large company.

A communications specialist ensures that the public has accurate and timely information about an organization's goals, activities, and recent developments. They also need to build and maintain a positive relationship between an organization and its surrounding public and investors.

To manage an organization's reputation, they will interact with the media, issue press releases, hold press conferences, avoid conflicts and handle any negative issues.

Communications Specialists manage all internal and external communications of the business. Internally, this includes job descriptions, memos, and managerial notes.

Externally, this includes marketing materials, press releases, online content, and so on. The communications specialists also coordinate marketing and media events, press conferences, and information employee meetings while at the same time managing online content and answering any questions others may have.

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What qualifications do you need to work in communications?

The minimum qualifications to work in communications is a bachelor's degree in communications or a related field. They must also have a lot of experience in conveying messages using different mediums while also being able to deal with urgent and crisis situations.

Communications specialists help businesses by managing all internal and external communication and representing the company to the outside world. Because of this, they need to have business acumen alongside excellent communication skills.

Because a communications specialist drafts media statements, answers media inquiries, compiles publications, and plans events and press conferences, they should be able to proficiently use the entire Microsoft Suite and know basic web design and email marketing in order to craft written communications and presentations.

A communications specialist should also be a part of the various networking groups and achieve these common professional certifications:

  • Professional Certified Marketer

  • Accredited Business Communicator

  • Strategic Communication Management Professional

  • Communication Management Professional

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What skills does a communication specialist need?

A communications specialist needs strong written and oral communication skills. In addition to these skills, they should also have highly developed business acumen and problem-solving skills.

The most effective communications specialists have strong interpersonal skills. This allows them to convey messages in a calm and effective manner, regardless of the audience and the type of message that has to be delivered. They should also have strong speaking skills and writing skills.

This is because they often have to engage in public speaking events on behalf of their employer, so they must be able to properly represent their organization. They must also ensure written communications are expressed in a way that everyone can understand and is free from grammatical and spelling errors.

Finally, they should be excellent problem solvers with good organizational skills. Communication Specialists have to work under a great deal of pressure, managing deadlines and crisis situations. This means they have to be able to prioritize as well and have strong time management skills.

Good organizational skills allow them to utilize their problem-solving capabilities better. A communications specialist must be able to deal with sensitive issues in a confident manner and adapt their communication style to fit their audience.

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