6 Government Jobs for Communication Majors

Government jobs are heavily sought after for good reasons — they provide job security, great benefits and the opportunity to advance to higher professional levels and salaries. An online degree in communication is a valuable qualification for the many government jobs that rely on professionals with strong communication abilities. From political speechwriters to positions in law enforcement, an advanced communication degree can prepare students to pursue a variety of opportunities in government communication.

A young public information officer for the federal government is delivering a briefing at a press conference.

Benefits of a Government Job

Government jobs for communication majors are associated with numerous advantages. For example, where companies in the private sector can go out of business, the government must always operate in some form or another. As a result, government employees enjoy greater job stability and are less likely to be victims of downsizing.

Government jobs also tend to offer enhanced benefits packages, such as A-rated health insurance plans, retirement plans and in some cases, pension benefits. State, local and federal holidays are observed. Additionally, leave time, such as paid time off (PTO) and maternity/paternity leave, can be generous.

Popular Government Jobs for Communication Majors

Master of Communication Management degree holders often find that upon graduation, they’ve developed the knowledge and skills to pursue a variety of government communication jobs. Sample career paths include speechwriter, online communication manager, law enforcement communication officer, lobbyist, public information officer (PIO) and social media manager, among others.

1. Speechwriter

If you’re interested in the role of political speechwriter, be prepared for tight deadlines, thinking on your feet and communicating to the masses. Politicians from all branches of government, including mayors, members of Congress and the president of the United States, rely on their speechwriters to deliver powerful and coherent information to the public.

How do you get started? Familiarize yourself with different types of speeches, practice writing and delivering speeches by joining organizations like Toastmasters International, and contact individuals who may need a speech written to start building your portfolio. Speechwriters who have a communication degree are desirable candidates because of their well-honed abilities in persuasive public speaking, strong research skills and media expertise. The compensation website PayScale notes that as of June 2021, the median speechwriter salary was about $85,000, although earners in the top 10th percentile reported compensation of more than $137,000 per year.

2. Online Communication Manager

Government jobs for communication majors also include online communication manager (OCM) positions. OCMs perform technical work using digital communication platforms for various government institutions. They create and manage an agency’s web presence, which often includes social media and newsletters, and oversee an online communication platform that provides open and transparent information to citizens to facilitate communication. Online communication managers for the government may manage these communication platforms for individual departments or for an entire city. According to PayScale, the median annual salary for online communication managers was about $41,000 as of June 2021, with the top quarter of earners making more than $83,000 per year.

3. Law Enforcement Communication Officer

If a career in law enforcement appeals to you, a communication degree makes you an ideal candidate for the job of a communication officer. The position involves providing front-line contact with citizens in need of emergency and non-emergency services, screening and transferring incoming calls and speaking with public safety personnel. An aptitude for organizing and interpreting information and monitoring communication networks is essential. Data from PayScale notes that as of June 2021, the median base salary for a communication officer was about $61,000, although earners in the top 10th percentile reported annual earnings of more than $101,000 per year.

4. Lobbyists

Are you passionate about creating change through communication? Lobbyists seek to persuade government officials to enact legislation to benefit their clients and play an important role in the democratic political process. Lobbyists craft persuasive arguments and facilitate negotiations using their outstanding oral and written communication skills. The position comes with a salary ranging from $43,000 to $144,000, with a median of about $77,000, according to June 2021 PayScale data. With support from the First Amendment and organizations like The Association of Government Relations Professionals, lobbyists have reliable job security.

5. Public Information Officer (PIO)

Public information officers work in all levels of government and hold various positions within local, state and federal jurisdictions. Professionals in the field draft press releases and arrange media interviews for government officials. They also often act as the face of a governmental institution, such as a mayoral or congressional office, at press conferences and media events. PIOs disseminate critical information about changes in laws and policies. They may provide critical updates during events and crises, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters. PayScale reports that as of June 2021, the median base salary for PIOs was about $58,000 per year, although earners in the top 10th percentile reported salaries of more than $85,000.

6. Government Social Media Specialist

Social media managers craft and deploy social media marketing campaigns for government agencies using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses annual seasonal flu vaccination campaigns to communicate the importance of vaccinations. Local governments, on the other hand, often use social media campaigns to promote local events, festivals and community improvement projects. According to June 2021 PayScale data, the median social media manager salary was recorded at about $52,000, although earners in the top 10th percent reported annual salaries of more than $80,000.

Pursuing Government Jobs with a Communication Degree

The government actively recruits candidates who possess the specific abilities that result from earning a communication degree. The USAJobs website can help recent graduates find a job. Discover the Presidential Management Fellowship for graduate students, as well as other opportunities for current college students or recent graduates who seek employment with the government.

Are you ready to take the next step toward a career in government communications? Discover how an online master’s in communications management from USC can help you reach your goal.

 

Recommended Readings

Crisis Communications: 2021 and Beyond

Communication Management: From Degree to Career

The Role of Communication in Effective Project Management

 

Sources:

Association of Government Relations Professionals, About AGRP

The Balance Careers, “The Pros and Cons of Working for the Government

The Balance Careers, “What Does a Government Public Information Office Do?”

PayScale, Average Communications Officer Salary

PayScale, Average Lobbyist Salary

PayScale, Average Online Communications Manager Salary

PayScale, Average Public Information Officer Salary

PayScale, Average Social Media Manager Salary

PayScale, Average Speech Writer Salary

USAJobs, Students and Recent Graduates

USAJobs, The Federal Government’s Official Employment Site

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Digital Media Toolkit: 2020-21 Flu Season