New certificate offers social media expertise


We now offer a Professional Social Media Certificate to address the ever-increasing demand for social media expertise in public relations, communication and related career fields.

The 12-credit certificate prepares students and professionals to use social media tools to communicate with a variety of audiences and create comprehensive campaigns for organizations and clients, says Julie Cajigas, associate professor of practice in the School of Communication here at The University of Akron.

Students in the program will learn to generate social media content, use analytics to measure social media success, and create a complete social media campaign for a real client as the final project for the new course, “Advanced Strategic Social Media,” giving them a hands-on experiential learning opportunity.


Julie Cajigas leads a discussion with students about social media issues.


“The number of jobs that request or require skills and knowledge in social media is continuously growing, yet there are still very few educational credentials available to help students demonstrate a mastery of this expertise that organizations need,” Cajigas says. “This certificate is a concrete way for current students and professionals already in the field to obtain formal training in social media, as well as gain evidence of their preparation.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for public relations specialists – a position requiring social media responsibilities – will continue to grow. Between 2016 and 2026, the bureau estimates 22,900 new public relations jobs will be created. Cajigas points out that social media capabilities are also being sought in STEM fields, in higher education, and in a variety of industries and positions.

Giving UA students edge on competition 

“The Professional Social Media Certificate is another great example of the University addressing the market demand in specialty careers,” says Shon Christy, UA alumnus and president of Shon Christy Social, a social media agency in Stow. “Having a cutting-edge approach to social media curriculum will set The University of Akron students apart from their competition.”

Cathy McPhillips, vice president of marketing for the Content Marketing Institute, which will host the Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland this fall, agrees.

“What I like about the Professional Certificate in Social Media is that most students today grew up with social media, and they know how to use it well on a personal level, but maybe not as well in a professional context,” she says. “Studying social media theory, applying it in real-life situations and earning a certificate will help them stand out from every other job candidate trying to say they can do social media.”

Cajigas says there are plans to eventually offer the program in a fully online format, providing more flexible learning opportunities for full-time professionals.

Visit UA’s Professional Social Media Certificate online for more information.


Media contact: Dan Minnich, 330-972-6476 or