Public Relations Account Executive: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for public relations account executives. Get the facts about key job duties, career outlook, education requirements and salary expectations to determine whether this is the right career for you. Schools offering Public Relations degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Public Relations Account Executive?

Public relations account executives, also called public relations specialists, promote a client's business or product and manage information given to the public. They prepare communication materials being released to the media to raise public awareness of the clients and their works as well as to help shape the public's perception of the clients. Essential skills for this field include cultivating professional relationships, writing, editing and public speaking.

The following chart provides more information about this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's Degree
Training Required Internships common for entering the field
Education Field of Study Communications
Marketing
Journalism
Business
Key Responsibilities Managing clients; maintaining relationships with media outlets; writing and editing press releases and other printed materials; creating and executing social media campaigns; planning events
Job Growth (2014-24) 6%*
Average Salary (2015) $65,830*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Skills Do I Need to Be a Public Relations Account Executive?

Public relations account executives must have strong interpersonal skills and be comfortable communicating with upper management. In addition to demonstrating strong writing, editing and public speaking skills, you should be able to put together presentations and use social-media platforms. You'd benefit from having experience with data analysis, spreadsheets and basic graphic design, as well as a knowledge of current industry desktop-publishing software. Account executives often work under tight deadlines, so employers also value work ethic, creativity and initiative.

What Are the Job Duties?

A public relations account executive serves as the link between the client and the public relations agency. Your duties might include serving as a liaison, drafting and issuing press releases, writing speeches, conducting client interviews and organizing publicity events. You could also be responsible for cultivating relationships with the media on behalf of your client, organizing charity events and analyzing public or internal opinions of your client.

What Degree Do I Need?

Most public relations firms offer the title of junior account executive to entry-level employees, and this position requires a bachelor's degree. While bachelor's degree programs in public relations do exist, they're rare; therefore, employers hire individuals with a variety of majors, including communications, marketing, journalism and business. Many programs in these fields offer specializations in public relations.

You may be trained in such areas as public speaking, media writing, organizational communication and media ethics. Other areas of study can include layout and design, public opinion and propaganda, media law and market analysis. You'll probably be required to complete an internship.

What are the Career and Salary Expectations?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected careers for public relations specialists to see 6% employment growth between 2014 and 2024, about the same rate for all occupations in the United States. One reason for the expected growth in this profession is companies' and organizations' need to maintain a positive public image. The BLS also reported in May 2015 that the average annual salary is $65,830 for this profession.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you prefer working in a more marketing-oriented environment or would like to help promote a client's products or services, being an advertising, promotions, or marketing manager is a career option. Another alternative would be a career as an editor. Editors plan content for a publication or a website, as well as review and revise content before they are published. Both career options require a bachelor's degree as well as good oral and communication skills.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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