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How Do I Become a Communications Specialist?

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  • Written By: Andy Josiah
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 27 January 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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To become a communications specialist means helping people, groups or organizations build and maintain favorable relationships with others. Since this usually involves interaction with the public, communications specialists are also sometimes referred to as public relations specialists. These professionals use a wide variety of media or methods to accomplish their goals, which may include advertisements, newspaper articles or profiles, speeches, events, press conferences and television shows. To become a communications specialist does not necessarily require a specialized degree or training.

Traditionally, communications specialists will have earned a bachelor’s degree in communications. In such a program, students acquire skills such as speech techniques, critical reasoning, research and analysis, and public interaction. Some programs are specialized, meant to prepare students for certain sectors of the communication field. For instance, corporate or business communication involves working for or with corporations or large businesses, with some emphasis on writing business letters, reports and proposals.

In order to become a communications specialist, however, one does not always have to go the traditional route. Some people have a journalism degree or background, as journalism entails using similar skills such as writing and research. Marketing is also a good transitional field, being that it concerns communicating the value of a product, service or company. Public relations overlaps with communications in that it deals with establishing goodwill between two or more parties.

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A bachelor’s degree in communications—or in subject areas such as journalism, marketing or public relations—is suitable for a person who wants to become a communications specialist as an entry-level professional. A master’s degree, however, offers more advanced learning, and a master's program is more likely than an undergraduate program to offer specializations. For instance, the University of Washington in the United States offers a master of communication in digital media, and the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom has a double graduate degree in global media and communications. Some educational institutions, including New York University in the States, combine communications with public relations. An elevated level of study usually means enhanced training and earning potential.

Upon graduation, most aspiring communications specialists align themselves with companies or advertising and public relations firms, either as full-time salaried employees or contractors and budding entrepreneurs. Some people go into the government sector as press secretaries, which are advisers of high-ranking officials on the best way to deal with the news media. The ability to communicate clearly and understandably, exude self-confidence and assertion, make good decisions, and display good research skills are some of the attributes necessary to become a communications specialist of optimal quality.

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