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What is Communications?

If a tree falls in the woods, and nobody is there to capture the event on camera, has it actually happened? Of course it has, but what we are getting at here is the fact that the media in each of its many forms has a tremendous impact on all of our lives.
Many students decide they would like to embark on a career in media or business, whether in front of or behind the camera, and a large number of courses have been developed in recent years to give them the skills and experience required.

It is not easy to make a successful career in the media. As well as talent and imagination, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to forge a professional career in the upper echelons of the TV or film world. However, if you think you have what it takes, the rewards – money, fame, and creative fulfillment – are worth the effort.

What Courses Are Available?

School leavers with an interest in media or communication studies have a number of CAO options, including both higher certificates and degrees. Course titles to choose from include Communication Studies, Media Studies, Communications with Multimedia, Media & Cultural Studies, Film & Media, Media Arts, Applied Cultural Studies, and Journalism & Visual Media, among others. The CAO points required range from about 200 to over 450. There are also a large number of PLC course options available.

Studying Communications in College

The subjects vary from course to course; however, most include a mixture of practical training and experience in TV, Film, Radio, Photography, Multimedia, Business, Law Web-design, or Creative Writing, as well as theoretical humanities subjects such as Sociology, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Economics, Politics, and Philosophy.

Project work forms a large part of most courses – students typically work in groups to produce radio documentaries, live TV shows, short films or web-based projects, and students gain experience using technology such as digital cameras, sound desks, web-design software and film cameras. Some courses also organise work placements for students with local production companies or TV/radio stations.

Career Options

Entry-level positions in TV and radio are often on a work experience or internship level. Even graduates with degrees start off making tea and labelling tapes in a production company or post-production house. You have to show initiative to move up to more senior positions.

Researchers and production assistants on a TV or radio show have a wide variety of different responsibilities, including booking crew for shoots (cameramen, key grips, and so on), researching guests’ backgrounds, calculating budgets, making transport and accommodation arrangements, and suggesting creative ideas.

The producer is the head of the production team. Producers have an idea and put together a proposal for the programme, hire the crew and talent, receive a commission from a TV station or secure funding from other backers, and ensure the project comes in on-budget and on time.

The director is responsible for the finished content that appears on screen. Directors plan visuals with the camera operators, deal with guests, interviewees, or actors to help them perform in front of the camera, write scripts for voice-overs or montages and sit with the editor to put the finished project together.

The responsibilities you’ll face managing the communications for an organisation can vary wildly depending on what your company does or the scale of the projects you’ll be running. It could be as low key as managing a social media campaign and newsletter, and could reach as high as researching company strategy, branding and development.

Related Jobs

  • Researcher
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Editor
  • Designer
  • Journalist
  • Marketer
  • Digital Communications Officer

Further Study

Graduates of Communications and Media Studies courses are prepared for work in a variety of creative careers, including radio, TV, film, journalism, creative writing, corporate video, multimedia, e-business, graphic design, advertising, marketing, PR, publishing and many more.

As Communications and Media Studies offer a broad education, many students decide to go on to postgraduate study and specialise in one particular area.


What skills do I need and what is the work enviroment like?

People interested in communications or media studies need a combination of creativity, dedication, and common sense to get the top. Teamwork and communication skills are highly valued, as are practical and technical abilities.
Producers, researchers, directors, and other media professionals can either work full-time for TV, a radio station or a production house, or they can work freelance on a contract basis. Freelance workers can often have very busy periods interspersed with quiet times. Working hours can be long, and shoots can be stressful.

What can I get paid in a communications career?

While Tom Cruise might make $50m a movie, the media industry doesn’t pay new entrants quite as well, with starting salaries (after time spent on work experience) at around €20, 000 a year. However, if you are successful, salaries can rise quickly – established radio presenters can earn between €30, 000 and €65, 000. Meanwhile depending on where you work, marketing work can be quite lucrative, earning anything from €30€60, depending on the company you work for and your level of experience. 

Where Can I Study Communications?

Explore your options here.

Did You Know?

  • George Miller, who was an M.D. at that time, was inspired to make Mad Max (1979) when he witnessed fights break out during a gas shortage in Australia. He assumed in the future nations would not implement the infrastructure for renewable energy until it was too late and this could lead to a dystopia.
  • The journalist Nellie Bly got bored of writing about fashion and gardening. Instead, she went undercover in a mental asylum to expose the horrible conditions there. She later travelled around the world by balloon in record time.
  • More than 100 years ago, a French sports journalist suggested the idea of organizing a 6-day cycling race to the editor of a local newspaper to boost sales – because he couldn’t think of any other idea. That race was called Tour de France – it’s now the most prestigious bicycle race in the world.

Further Resources


Irish Film & Television Network

Hubspot is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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