How Much Money Do Communications Majors Make?

Submitted by Priceonomics,

For those who are considering a career in communications, a key question to understand is how much money you'll be making when you graduate. Furthermore, will that salary be sufficient to pay for the debt involved with getting your degree?

While predicting one's future income is subject to uncertainty, especially in the current economic climate, there is luckily a lot of data out there. Along with Priceonomics customer, we analyzed and collected data by the US Department of Education about how much money communications majors earn.

Using data from the College Scorecard, a data resource about the earnings and debt of graduates of US colleges, we looked at which undergraduate communications programs produced the graduates with the best and worst financial prospects.

We found that communications majors from Georgia Tech and the University of Pennsylvania have the highest earnings while Shaw University has the lowest-earning graduates. Colleges like Devry and Grambling State University produce communications graduates with the highest debt while the City University of New York (CUNY) has graduated with the lowest levels of debt.


Before beginning the analysis of colleges where communications graduates earn the most and least, let's look at the overall data. According to the most recent data from the US Department of Education College Scorecard, the median college graduate with a communications degree earns $31,400, approximately the same as the median US worker.

Not all communications programs are created equal, however. And you have ample reason to consider an online masters in communication program. Below shows the distribution of undergraduate communications programs segmented by median annual salary:

55.6% of graduates from college communications programs earn between $30K and $40K per year. In total, nearly 95% of communications majors earn under $40K per year. No undergraduate institution reported communications majors earning above $60K per year. Which colleges produce communications majors that earn the most and least? The following chart shows the schools reporting the highest median earnings among their undergraduates who studied communication:

Communications majors from Georgia Institute of Technology earn the most in the country with a median salary of $57,600 per year. In second place is the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school where graduates earn just under $50,000 per year. In third place is the Mitchell Technical Institute, a technical college in South Dakota.

Communication graduates from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina earn just $14,900 per year, the lowest in the country. SUNY Broome and Technical Career Institute graduates earn the second and third lowest salaries respectively.

When it comes to debt, which schools communication graduates emerge with the highest and lowest burdens?

Communications majors from Devry University emerge with $42,430 in debt, the highest in the country. Grambling State and Lane College communications majors also graduate with more than $40,000 in debt. On the other hand, a number of community colleges graduate communications majors with less than $10,000 in debt.

Having high levels of debt can be a problem, but that can be made up for with having a high income. Which colleges produce communications majors with high debt to income ratios and which ones come out with high incomes relative to their debt? The chart below shows the schools with the best and worst debt to income ratios (Total Debt / Annual Income):

Some of the schools whose students graduate with debt also have the least favorable debt to income ratios. Grambling State University and Shaw University produce communications graduates with the highest debt to income ratios by a considerable margin. On the other hand, schools that produce graduates with low debt relative to their income are a mix of community colleges (CUNY), lower-priced private schools (Brigham Young), higher-priced private schools (Cornell), and state schools (University of California). For a communication major who looks to graduate with a strong income relative to debt, all types of schools may fit the bill.