Sedalia, Missouri – State Fair Community College is now offering a timely, new program of study – Digital Media Communications, the first of its kind in the state of Missouri. This program will prepare students for employment in a variety of careers in communication.
Students will be able to earn a Skills Certificate or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Digital Media Communications. The Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission recently approved the program, and Title IV federal financial aid approval is pending.
Sarah Nail, SFCC’s Communication program coordinator, began researching the feasibility of the program last fall after seeing similar programs offered at two-year institutions in other states. She and other college faculty met with a group of communication professionals to discuss key skills and knowledge needed for communication careers.
“We are excited to offer this new program to students,” said Nail. “Communication careers of today demand a mix of fundamentals and a more comprehensive skill set in mass communication, graphic design, journalism, marketing, and public relations within the world of new technologies including blogs, podcasts, video production, websites, and social media platforms. Our program, which takes an interdisciplinary approach, will be able to meet these needs.”
The Skills Certificate requires 18 credit hours and is ideal for marketing and public relations professionals who want to step up their current skills in marketing and messaging technology, or for those who handle communication as a part of their job duties. Some of the topics students will study include digital and social media marketing, public relations, writing for social media, graphic design, digital photography, video production, and website development. The Skills Certificate can also be a springboard to earn an AAS.
The Associate of Applied Science degree requires 60 credit hours. In addition to the certificate courses, students will study statistical reasoning, principles of marketing, digital imaging, web development, web authoring and graphic tools, and participate in an internship to gain relevant, hands-on experience. The degree will prepare students for entry-level communication positions, such as specialists in digital media, social media, communication, public affairs, or public information. Upon completion of the program, students will have a digital portfolio that is job-search ready.
“After speaking with communication professionals in our area, and looking at similar programs at other two-year institutions throughout the country, we were able to put together a program that will equip our students with the knowledge and skills needed for those entry-level positions,” Nail said. “One of the keys to that is the six-credit hour internship. This will allow our students to gain experience and demonstrate their skills to potential employers.”
For an additional 24 credit hours, a student can earn an Associate of Arts to transfer their credits to four-year schools to earn even higher degrees. Choosing this option gives students the ability to work in the communication field while they earn a bachelor’s degree.
“We recognize that some students are destined for transfer to a four-year institution to continue their education,” Nail said. “The Missouri Core 42 ensures seamless transfer of general education classes to any public higher education institution, but we are working with several universities to establish articulation agreements to accept transfer of additional courses as part of the digital media communications program.”
SFCC is also working on securing eligibility for Digital Media Communications as an option for the Apprenticeship program. Employers can then use the program to help current or future employees gain relevant skills and experience that increases their effectiveness and productivity while in the workplace.
Enrollment in Digital Media Communications is open for the fall semester. Visit www.sfccmo.edu/digitalmedia to learn more.