careertrend article image
oatawa/iStock/GettyImages

What Does a Communications Specialist Do

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Specializing in Communications

Communications specialists are exactly what the title implies. They are professionals who specialize in a particular area of communications. They are typically charged with representing a company or organization as its public face. Communications specialists build relationships with the media and the public, and they must have exceptional public speaking and writing skills.

Job Description

A communications specialist’s role is often synonymous with the job of a public relations spokesperson. The person who holds this job typically drafts press releases and press statements, answers media inquiries and coordinates speaking engagements for their employer’s top brass. They may also draft talking points and presentations, write correspondence on behalf of an organization’s executive office, and disseminate information to the public via social media and interviews. Many communications specialists work with marketing and PR professionals and writing staff to ensure a coordinated messaging platform that builds on and supports a company’s brand image in a consistent manner.

Tip

How do communication specialists differ from public relations associates? Large organizations may have multiple communications staffers who each focus on a particular area of corporate communications. For example, a constituent communications specialist may focus on interactions with customers, clients and vendors, while in the same organization, a publicity communications specialist works directly with executives to develop biographical sketches, and a social media communications specialist develops blog posts and handles social media content development.

Education Requirements

As with many professional roles, the higher degree of education and experience you have, the higher your potential earnings in the field. For most communications roles, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for entry-level work. In addition to formal education, networking contacts and an in-depth knowledge of an industry can also help elevate your professional path. Some communications specialists who focus on a particular field benefit from higher education, both in communications and in their area of focus. For example, a communications specialist who wants to work for a large medical center may benefit from minoring in health care management systems or a related area.

About the Industry

Communications specialists can find work in a wide range of industries, particularly in large companies that have their own in-house corporate communications or marketing and public relations departments. Potential employers include universities, corporations, government agencies, community organizations and health care facilities. Many communications specialists also work for consulting firms, advertising, marketing and public relations companies. Or, they may work on a freelance basis—a great opportunity for working mothers who desire flexibility in their professional schedules.

Years of Experience

Communications specialists and public relations professionals earned a median average income of $58,020 in 2016. Jobs in government organizations pay the highest salaries, while educational institutions are on the lower end of the scale.

  • 0–5 years: $30,633–$63,010
  • 5–10 years: $37,123–$76,612
  • 10–20 years: $36,590–$86,767
  • Over 20 years: $38,281–$97,068 

Job Growth Trend

Jobs in the communications field are continuing to grow, due in large part to the expansion of online communication venues. These jobs include blogging, social media, content writing, website copy and internet marketing. At 9 percent, job growth over the next decade is anticipated to be slightly above average. Communications is a popular field of occupation, and as such, average job growth estimates are based on demand for jobs in this field.