Careers in Communication

Three Generations of HPU Graduates at KHON TVThree generations of HPU graduates work at KHON TV, Honolulu. Shown here, Olena Heu, Morning Anchor, Kristina Lockwood, President and General Manager, Shannel Sarme, intern.

Want a job?

You can always look at our Career Service Website on Pipeline for job descriptions and applications. Also check out our bulletin boards in the MP building and our facebook posts for the most current information on jobs relating to the DOC in advertising, public relations, multimedia, journalism, business and intercultural communication. Don't be a stranger, stop by the department and speak to our faculty and staff about the opportunities we hear about everyday!

The following is a partial list of companies that have Communication students:

The Honolulu Advertiser


Hawaiian Telcom

Fox News Channel

Citi Bank

Time Warner Cable


Outrigger Hotels and resorts


HMSA: Blue Cross Blue Shield

Bank of Hawaii

Oceanic TimeWarner Cable

KITV Hawaii Channel 4

LA Cellular Phones

KHON 2 News


United States Navy

U.S. Army

This Week magazine


What can your degree do for you?


A degree in advertising will prepare one for a career in the fast-paced and exciting advertising industry. The typical settings of such a career include corporations, government, non-profit agencies, educational institutions, or any number of other organizations within the labor force. Advertising careers consist of the creation, execution, transmission, and evaluation of commercial messages.

According to the U. S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the advertising industry is expected to grow 21 percent over the 1998-2008 period, faster than the average for all industries. Competition for jobs and advancement is stiff, while layoffs are common. The opportunity for self-employment is great in the advertising industry. The median annual salary is $54,300 according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2000-2001. Ad Age reports that companies spent close to $80 billion on advertising in 1998.

To succeed in advertising, one needs to be creative, motivated, organized, culturally aware, a people person, and be able to work under pressure and deadlines. Also extremely important are the ability to work both individually and as a group, an understanding of the economics of buying and selling, as well as an understanding and incorporation of technology.

A degree in public relations will prepare one for an exciting career in the important field of public relations. A career in public relations entails handling an organization’s reputation, profitability, and existence by means of the organization’s “publics.”

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2000-2001, employment levels will increase quickly, as will competition. A salary survey conducted by the Public Relations Society of America found the average annual salary in 1997 was $49,100.

Individuals who excel in the public relations field are confident extroverts, articulate in both the spoken and written word, learn and think quickly, understand a wide variety of people, are persuasive, and most importantly have good communication skills.


“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” 


The B.A. degree in communication will prepare one for a career in such areas as public performance, government service, teaching, and arts and humanities administration. The settings for communication careers are as varied as the careers themselves; however, a common thread is the need for adept communication skills. Communication has also become an extremely popular and respected major for individuals interested in attending Law School, as Law Schools are anxious to accept speech majors.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2000-2001, job opportunities in the communication fields are expected to increase at an average rate as for all occupations. Salaries vary greatly due to the large variation of careers in the speech field.

 In today’s communication driven society, opportunities for communication majors are virtually unlimited. Individuals who excel in speech are typically confident extroverts, able to think “on their feet,” understand the nature of a wide variety of people, are persuasive, and are extremely articulate in both the spoken and written word—overall, outstanding communication skills in all areas are a must for a successful speech major.

There are many famous people who have both studied in the discipline and gotten degrees in communication. According to Kevin Gillen and Alec Hosterman of Indiana University at South Bend, a fair share of politicians and actors have studied communication, not to mention athletes, and media personalities.

The sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, taught rhetoric at Harvard. Lyndon Johnson taught public speaking at Southwest Texas State University and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson held a communication degree from the University of Texas. Other politicians who have studied communication include: Evan Bayh – this Indiana Senator studied debate and other communication-related courses at Indiana University; Richard Gephardt – the politician, presidential candidate, and debater holds a speech degree from Northwestern University; and Christine Gregoire – Attorney General for the state of Washington earned a BA in speech from University of Washington.

Many successful actors and actresses were formally educated in the communication discipline. Spike Lee holds a communication degree from Indiana University and actress Meg Ryan studied journalism at New York University. Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughy are both rumored to hold communication degrees but it remains unconfirmed. Renee Zellweger and Denzel Washington both studied communication and David Boreanaz, actor on the TV series Bones and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, holds a communication degree. Also on the list of notables are actor, James Gandolfini, who graduated from Rutgers University, Nicholas Meyer, screenwriter, author and director, who earned a Ph.D. from University of Iowa, and Mark Harmon, who graduated from UCLA with a degree in communications.

An abundance of star athletes have majored in communication as well. Soccer player, Brandi Chastain, holds a degree from Santa Clara University. Star basketball player, “Magic” Johnson, is an alumnus of Michigan State. Donovan McNabb, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, holds a speech communication degree from Syracuse University. World Wrestling Entertainment star, Rod Simmons, better known as “Faarooq”, has a communication degree. St. Louis Rams quarterback, Kurt Warner, is a University of Northern Iowa graduate. The president of the Minnesota Twins, David St. Peter, studied communication at the University of North Dakota.

Not surprising, many successful media personalities and broadcast journalists hold degrees in communication such as network news anchor, Connie Chung, shock-jock radio personality, Howard Stern, and television news host, Bob Costas. Walter Cronkite earned a communication degree at the University of Texas and Nightline host, Ted Koppel, earned a B.A. in speech and M.A. in Mass Communication from Syracuse University. Today Show host, Matt Lauer, holds a B.A. from Ohio University and Late Night host, David Letterman, studied at Ball State University. The list goes on and on. C-SPAN CEO, Brian Lamb’s degree is in communication from Purdue University, network news anchor, Jane Pauley, is an Indiana University alumni, and CBS Evening News anchor, Dan Rather, holds a journalism degree from University of Texas at Austin.

Other interesting people with communication degrees are as follows: William Lane Craig – philosopher / theologian, Wheaton College; John Gray – author, Ph.D. from Columbia Pacific University ; Peter Hart – reporter (FAIR), Rutgers University; Hugh Hefner – publisher, communication degree from University of Illinois; William Inge – playwright, University of Kansas; Gary Larson – The Far Side cartoonist, B.A. from Washington State University; Grant Curtis - Co-producer of "Spider-Man," Central Missouri State University; Joyce Mallick – opera star, University of Kansas; Newton Minow – former Federal Commuications Commission Chair, Northwestern University; Edmund Muskie – debater at Bates College; Andrea Rich – Director of LACMA, former professor at UCLA; Tennessee Williams – playwright, University of Iowa; and, “Weird Al” Yankovic was involved in the forensics team at Cal Poly.

* Source:
Kevin Gillen and Alec Hosterman
Indiana University South Bend

NCA (National Communication Association)


A degree in journalism will prepare one for careers such as a writer, reporter, producer for magazines, television, radio, newspapers, and on-line newsrooms. Careers in journalism are often exciting—and hectic.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2000-2001, employment levels are expected to grow slightly. Competition for jobs will be high in metropolitan areas, while competition in suburban and rural areas is expected to decrease. Earnings vary greatly throughout the field, with the highest earnings being available in urban areas. The median annual salary in 1997 was $33,200, according to the survey conducted by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Broadcast Cable Management Association.

Princeton Review, 2001 reports that the journalism profession is made up of approximately 70,000 individuals—60 percent male and 40 percent female. There are currently nearly 1,500 daily newspapers in the United States. Like many careers in the communication field, journalism is becoming ever more electronic—from radio to the internet. Journalism jobs are increasingly becoming specialized and individuals with unique skills—such as proficiency in foreign languages or with technological expertise—should enjoy a distinct advantage.


A B.A. degree in multimedia will prepare one for a career as a web designer, television director/producer, digital animator, filmmaker, as well as numerous other careers. Many of the job opportunities in the multimedia field are focused in large metropolitan areas, particularly New York City and Los Angeles.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2000-2001, employment is projected to grow extremely rapidly. Competition in the multimedia field is keen, especially for the more glamorous jobs. Earnings in the multimedia field vary widely, but are often at the salary extremes. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average income for visual specialists in 1998 was $31,690.

In today’s world, communication is inevitable, and one of the most encompassing and powerful types of communication is visual. For those with an interest in the creative potentials of the visual medium of communication, this major will equip them with the skills and knowledge required for a multimedia career.