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Certificate in Public Communication

Continuing Education and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have designed a Certificate in Public Communication primarily to meet the needs of students seeking to increase their proficiencies in communicating in the workplace. The certificate is designed for students with an associate’s degree or high school diploma who would like to acquire workplace communication acumen to increase their viability for jobs in our competitive economy. Also, working professionals who need to improve their productivity and competitiveness at work can complete the Certificate and gain an important credential for their resume.

While this is not a degree-awarding program, completion of the 18 credit hours results in a Certificate of Public Communication and can provide a career pathway into the new Major in Public Communication at the University. If you only have your high school diploma but want to start working soon, the Certificate will award you with a valuable credential to launch your professional career.

Careers in Public Communication

Overview: If you want to work for a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization, you will need the communication skills to advocate and raise money for your cause. That’s where public communication comes in – the ability to shape, deliver and market your message so that others care as deeply as you do about your organization.

Careers: Studying public communication prepares you to work in public relations, marketing, event planning, communications planning, fund-raising or even management careers that promote the public interest. You might work for an advocacy or civic organization; you also could apply public communications skills to work for federal or state government, for a college, university or school, or even for an industry.

Many public communication students are attracted to careers with nonprofit or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Nonprofits are deeply ingrained in American life. We interact with nonprofits through receiving services, participating directly in organizations, volunteering or donating money. Social advocacy groups, civic organizations and NGOs cover issues at all levels of society, here and abroad: from advancing healthcare (American Cancer Society) and education (Global Education Motivators) to decreasing poverty (Children’s Defense Fund), hunger (Heifer International) and war (Veterans for Peace). They also play major roles in bettering communities (YMCA, Boys and Girls Club) or advancing political causes (MoveOn.org). Hospitals, churches and educational institutions also are included among the 1.64 million nonprofits counted by the Internal Revenue Service.

Nonprofits and NGOs may employ just one or two people, or hundreds. A single person may be responsible for planning, strategizing, fund-raising, public relations, marketing, management and more; in larger organizations, these tasks are spread out among many specialists.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings in advocacy, grantmaking and civic organizations – that is, nonprofits and NGOs – will increase almost 13 percent by 2016. Openings will occur because demographic shifts, such as an aging population, will increase the need for services offered by nonprofits; in addition, state and federal governments may lean on nonprofits to fill the holes left by cutbacks. Nonprofit funding has increased as key donors have died and bequeathed estates; in addition, tax laws have made it more profitable for Americans to give money.

Salaries: Nationwide, public relations professionals in nonprofit organizations make an average annual salary of $48,000, according to the BLS. Other public communication-related nonprofit jobs and their average salaries, according to the Nonprofit Times Annual Salary Survey, include executive director, $149,000; chief of direct marketing, $89,000; program director, $80,000; development director, $77,000; planned giving officer and major gifts officer, $73,000; and director of volunteers, $42,000.

UVM’s program: Our 18-hour Certificate in Public Communication Program allows you to increase your skills, whether you already are working for a nonprofit organization or the government, or you hope to. After completing the program, you may consider pursuing a B.S. in public communication or an accelerated, five-year program that combines the B.S. in public communication with a master of public administration.

The 18-credit certificate focuses on oral and electronic communication skills, project management, and consumer relations and advertising for government and non-profit organizations. Integrated throughout the curriculum are the core competencies of teamwork, ethics, effective interpersonal communications and computer literacy.

Core Public Communication Courses:

  • CDAE 015 Design Strategies
  • CDAE 024 Fund of Public Communication
  • CALS 085 Computer Applications
  • CDAE 120 Strategic Writing for Public Communication
  • CALS 183 Communication Methods

Choose one (1) additional course from the following list:

  • CDAE 127 Consumers, Markets, and Public Policy
  • CDAE 128 Consumer and Advertising
  • CDAE 250 Applied Research Methods
  • CDAE 295/PA 206 Introduction to Contemporary Public Affairs


  1. Students interested in completing a bachelor’s degree should include a 200-level course.
  2. One transfer course deemed equivalent to a UVM course above may be submitted for approval and inclusion in this certificate program.

Summer 2015

CALS 085 Z1

This section is no longer enrolling

  • Thomas DeSisto
to Tue
to 360597
CDAE 120 Z1

This section is no longer enrolling

  • Joyce Hendley
to Tue
to 360128

There are no courses that meet this criteria.

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