What does it mean to earn your degree in communication arts? In today's global society, strong communication skills are critical. There are so many forms of communication to master, including written, verbal, illustrated, digital, and more. Today's population communicates through videos, audio recordings, digital imagery, and public speaking. Each of these channels requires special skills, both technical and academic. And to become a fluent communicator in an industry such as television or radio, you'll need specialized training. This is where a communication arts degree becomes vital.

Earning Your Communication Arts Degree Online

Many colleges require you to earn a communications degree in person by attending classes on campus. This is a fine choice for traditional college students. However, it's not always feasible for the nontraditional student who may be returning to college after raising a family or transitioning to communications after a successful career elsewhere. Fortunately, many colleges now offer the option of attending online. Earning your degree in communication online not only eliminates the daily commute to campus, but it gives you a more flexible schedule, as well. If you're interested in attending a college located across the state or country, enrolling in online courses is an ideal solution.

There are multiple reasons why a student might prefer working toward an online degree instead of attending classes on campus, including:  

  • The option to review coursework as often as needed
  • The ability to work at an independent pace
  • The opportunity to schedule classes around work and home responsibilities
  • Enrolling online may be more affordable
  • Elimination of some fees, such as on-campus food and housing
  • Wider range of program availability

Still, the question remains whether it's worth the investment to earn an online degree, such as a communication arts degree. We believe the answer is a clear, resounding "yes." Any credits you earn will be transferrable if the school you're attending is accredited. They will also be just as well-respected by potential employers as credits earned by attending class in person.

Earning an Online Communications Degree: What to Expect

So, how does earning your online degree differ from attending on campus? What, exactly, should you expect when you enroll in an online degree program? Most importantly, you should know expectations will be high. This means you'll be responsible for completing the same quality and quantity of work as in-person students. You'll need to adhere to the syllabus and complete any required work on time. And you'll have to earn a passing grade to receive the proper college credits. However, how you access the course material and how you're required to submit your work may vary.

Online degree programs, such as the ones offered at University of the Cumberlands, aren't any less demanding. What they do offer is a bit more flexibility. For example, if you miss attending a lecture live, you can stream it at a more convenient time without missing any of the material. Your grade point average won't be impacted so long as all work is turned in on time.

Another area to consider when considering earning an online degree is the amount of self-discipline and time-management skills required, especially if you're taking an asynchronous class. Because you're not required to log in at a specific time, and all the information is pre-recorded, you'll only be accountable to yourself. For many students, this is entirely acceptable, but for some, it may be problematic. Many students need that safety net of knowing there are immediate consequences for being late or missing class. Otherwise, they lose the motivation to attend. If this describes you, taking an online course is the perfect opportunity to polish your self-discipline and time management skills. These are skills you'll need to be successful in your future career.

How Does Coursework Vary from Online to In-Person?

Your online degree program may be asynchronous. In this learning model, you'll access pre-recorded lectures, watch videos, and interact with your professor and other students through online chat. You'll submit your work through a digital classroom application, which your professor can see and grade.

In a synchronous class, you'll attend live lectures and classrooms via an online application like Zoom. In this model, you can ask questions in real-time and interact virtually with the teacher and your classmates as you all attend simultaneously. You'll still submit your work digitally, however.

Regardless, both models give you more flexibility. Because resources and materials are available in digital formats online, you can review them whenever you want. And in an asynchronous learning model, you can access the needed information when it's convenient for you, so long as you meet required deadlines.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Communications?

A bachelor's degree typically requires an additional four years of college beyond high school. However, it's possible to accelerate the program by carrying a more extensive course load or attending classes over summer break. A bachelor's degree in communication arts usually requires the completion of 120 credits or more. Over four years, 120 credits equate to roughly five 3-credit classes per semester. Of course, more challenging classes may be worth four credits, so there is no fast-and-hard rule regarding how many credits you must take per semester to graduate in four years. Your college advisor will help you plan your credit load accordingly.

By enrolling in classes online, you can schedule them around your current work or home responsibilities, customizing how you earn your degree and how long it takes to reach your graduation day.

Examples of Online Communication Degrees from University of the Cumberlands

The Communication Arts degree from University of the Cumberlands allows students to choose one of two different career paths. You can earn your Bachelor of Science in Communication Arts or your Bachelor of Arts in Communications simply by making a few adjustments to your coursework. Both will help you slide a foot in the door in industries such as publishing or advertising, and both have the potential to elevate your annual salary and increase your job marketability.

As a student enrolled in the communication arts program, you'll complete coursework such as:   

  • Fundamentals of Advertising and PR
  • Writing for Mass Media
  • Advanced Video Production
  • Communication Law and Ethics
  • Graphic Design

Classes like these lay the groundwork for a career in television, newspaper, public relations, and writing.

What Career Opportunities Will I Have Upon Graduation?

You'll be qualified for many different jobs with a communication arts degree as part of your portfolio, and earning your degree in communication online at University of the Cumberlands may help fast-track your application. You may end up as the editor of a newspaper or magazine, or maybe you’ll find work as a reporter or correspondent. There's always the chance you could become a celebrated author yourself, or you might even choose to use your online communications degree to teach.

A communication arts degree gives you a solid foundation in writing, public speaking, and creative arts fundamentals. It will teach you how to use the most current technology to work in a recording studio or a television newsroom. You'll have the technical skills to become a polished content creator or cameraman. There's a world of opportunity waiting for students who earn their degree in communication online from University of the Cumberlands.

If you're ready to take the next step toward a rewarding and fulfilling career, we invite you to explore our Communication Arts degree at University of the Cumberlands. Please fill out our online contact form, or visit us in person for a campus tour in Williamsburg, Kentucky.