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But First, Is a Master’s Degree or Certificate Right For Me?
When you work in an industry as fast-paced and dynamic as digital communications, continued and advanced education is a necessary tool for not only advancement, but on-the-job success.
Whether you’re looking to conferences, professional associates or academic institutions for those skill sets, at some point you’ll find yourself deciding whether you need a program that is online or on-ground, just a few courses or a full degree, or a technical curriculum or one based in leadership strategy.
Digital Communication Master’s Degree
Digital communications professionals who have earned a master’s degree maintain a significant edge over their counterparts in the field who hold strictly a bachelor’s degree. As companies continue to invest in digital business, the skills honed in an advanced degree program can prove invaluable due to the added emphasis on leadership, strategy, and management.
Specialize Your Study for Added Expertise
Several MA and MS degree programs concentrate on a specific area of interest, making them ideal for candidates with prior experience in the industry who desire a higher level of specialization or an individual with a more general bachelor’s degree who wishes to transition into digital communications.
Other programs, including MBAs, offer curricula designed to enhance business acumen while offering a specialized focus in a particular area of communications. The coursework in MBA programs are intended to provide students with the necessary leadership skills and strategic capabilities to rise to the C-suite.
Boost Your Salary In A Big Way
Earning potential is one factor to consider when choosing to pursue a master’s degree. For employees holding a master’s degree, anticipated yearly salaries average $78,000 compared to $61,000 for those with a bachelor’s degree, while professionals with an MBA specializing in Marketing and Management can expect to earn an average of $100,000 annually*.
Online Programs Are Great For Working Professionals
When selecting a digital communications master’s degree program, location and convenience often factor in to choosing the right university. Most programs require a two-year commitment to complete the necessary coursework, and many advanced degree students have full time jobs or are settled within their careers in a particular city. In these cases, online programs offer great flexibility, allowing students to continue their education without gaps in their resume, while also engaging with experienced faculty, networking with fellow students from around the country, and offering hands-on portfolio building opportunities.
*Payscale.com, January 2017
Digital Communication Certificates
As new channels of communication emerge, media professionals must remain on the cusp of consumer trends to stay competitive within the industry. In the constantly evolving field of digital communications, it is highly specialized candidates that stand out to prospective employers. Earning a graduate certificate is an efficient and cost effective way to keep up with the latest digital advances and strategies, sharpen existing skill sets, and bolster a resume.
One and Done – Short Completion Time
Compared to the two-year commitment (30 credit hours) a typical master’s degree requires, most certificate programs can be completed within a year (12-16 credits). Offering a more targeted curriculum than a master’s degree, certificate programs are ideal for busy professionals hoping to make immediate career advancements or become hyper-specialized in a particular area.
Spend Less – Certificates Are A Fraction Of The Cost
Certificates are also often less costly than a master’s degrees. So if you’re on the fence about pursuing an advanced degree, certificate programs are a way to ease into higher education without an immediate high-cost commitment. In fact, certain certificate programs are comprised of graduate level courses that can later be rolled over into a formal graduate program if a student wishes to continue their course of study. Additionally, many master’s degree programs offer sub-specialty certifications that can be earned simultaneously, whereby students can customize their curricula with an additional specialty.
Focus On Just Your Specialty
Featuring a variety of curriculum focused on areas including SEM, SEO, social media marketing, digital advertising, data analytics, and more, the certification you pursue will depend on personal career goals. Based on the program you select, here is an overview of what you can anticipate.