Speech education, which is an academic subject that focuses on the principles of oral communication, is offered at the undergraduate level at many universities and colleges. Speech programs in verbal communication and public speaking should not be confused with speech pathology programs, which emphasize methods to treat and identify speech disorders. The study of speech is included within communications majors at many schools.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Speech
Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in speech are involved in the study of subjects such as literature, sociology, and psychology. Students are taught about the psychological dynamics of groups and famous speeches over the duration of history.
The programs might also focus on verbal communication between people of diverse cultures, genders, and ages. Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in speech can learn about storytelling and oral histories.
Admission criteria within a bachelor’s program in speech generally require submission of an application and an admission essay by students, in addition to submission of scores from the SAT and ACT exams.
Coursework in an accredited speech bachelor’s degree program includes numerous elective courses, including history, anthropology, and English. Most courses in the program focus on subject-specific classes in language and linguistics. Core coursework might include the following topic areas:
•Theories of speech communication
•Gender in communication
•Advanced public speaking
•Small group discussion
•Principles of non-verbal communication
Graduates from bachelor’s degree programs in speech can seek entry-level careers in public relations and corporate communications within government agencies, businesses, or non-profit organizations. They can aim for job titles such as:
•Public relations specialist
•Public information consultant
•Public speaking consultant
Job and Wage Outlook
Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in speech may seek an announcer position at live events; alternatively, they may seek jobs in radio and television. A lower-than-average job growth rate of seven percent has been predicted for opportunities within the field over the 2010 – 2020 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
In May 2012, radio and television announcers banked an average annual salary of $27,750, while public address and other live announcers earned an average annual wage of $26,230 during that year (BLS). These professionals may also seek employment in the public relations field.
An above average growth rate of 22% has been predicted for public relations managers and specialists over the 2010 – 2020 decade by the BLS. In 2012, these professionals earned a median salary of $54,170 (BLS).
Continuing Education Choices
Graduates from a bachelor’s degree program in speech may seek continuing education by earning a graduate degree. Schools across the United States offer master’s and doctoral degrees in speech and communications. Those that hold undergraduate speech degrees and have completed the appropriate additional coursework can also seek admission to professional programs such as business or law school.