PITTSBURG, Kans. — Thanks to a new certification, students at an area university will have a leg up on the competition when it comes to the job search.

There are many options for college graduates going into the field of communications. Regardless of what area they specialize in, it’s no longer a question of if they’ll need to know how to use social media, it’s a question of how much.

“You know social media used to be thought of as kind of an add on and now it’s a fundamental skill for any communications work, right. It doesn’t matter what if you’re going into media or another form of communication, like all of our students need to be prepared to operate effectively, communicate effectively socially yeah,” said Dr. Ken Ward, PSU Communications Department.

To make them more proficient in the social media arena, PSU Communications majors like Brooklyn Peterson have the option to take an all-encompassing class and receive a professional social and digital media certification. Brooklyn peterson says she’s been using social media much of her life, but even she learned a lot from the course.

“Like it goes into like every little detail of social media and how it works and how like you can pull data to advertise to certain people and different advertisements to appeal to certain people and age groups and stuff like that. It definitely teaches you a lot,” said Peterson.

Ward says PSU students become even more valuable for companies that are used to having to teach social media skills to new hires.

“It shows employers that our students have certification to right away start working in ways they need them in their field,” said Ward.

A total of 11 students graduating this spring took the optional certification class, and Peterson highly recommends other communications students do the same thing.

“One class but it’s multiple certifications and verifications so you have verifications for like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and then certifications are digital advertising, social media marketing and there are a couple others,” Peterson said.