Public Relations Agent: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for public relations agents. Get the facts about degree programs, salary, job duties and certification requirements to determine if 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 Agent?

A public relations agent, who is often referred to as a public relations specialist, acts as a representative to help promote organizations, companies or individuals in order to ensure the public perceives them positively. PR specialists are, for wont of a better term, propagandists or spin doctors. They monitor and adjust public relations campaigns to ensure that they are operating in as manner that is most beneficial for their client. They keep a close watch on public opinion in regard to their client and, through a variety of means, try to shape that opinion so that it favors the client. A bachelor's degree is required along with multifaceted course work.

The table below offers key highlights for this career option.

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree
Training RequiredInternships recommended
Educational Field of StudyPublic relations, business, journalism, communications, English
Certification Voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%*
Median Salary (2015) $56,770*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Will I Need For a Career as a Public Relations Agent?

First, you should attend a university or college and acquire a bachelor's degree in public relations or a related field, such as communications or journalism. Ensure that your curriculum includes courses in sociology, creative writing, business administration, political science and psychology.

A conventional public relations program might consist of core classes such as public relations research, reporting, public relations writing, statistics and public relations campaigns. You'll study foreign language, public relations evolution, public relations planning and public relations communication. In addition, you might take courses such as ethics, media law, propaganda and public opinion.

Upon graduating, you should seek out internships in order to gain work experience. Some employers may offer formal training programs for new hires, while others might provide individualized on-the-job training. You can also make new business contacts by joining the Public Relations Student Society of America (http://prssa.prsa.org).

What Job Duties Will I Have?

The responsibilities of a public relations agent involve developing programs and communication materials to increase public awareness of their clients' accomplishments. Your daily duties may consist of instructing your clients in public communication techniques, organizing their public appearances and creating positive relationships with community leaders. You may develop promotional newsletters and publications or work with advertising agencies to help promote your clients in several forms of media.

Will I Need to Become Certified?

If you decide to become certified, you'll demonstrate to employers that you're capable of handling public relations duties, and you'll also increase your chances for employment. In order to become certified, you will need to have completed your bachelor's degree, along with five years of public relations work experience. You'll also need to have joined the Public Relations Society of America. The Universal Accreditation Board awards the APR (Accredited in Public Relations) certification. They require a readiness review, which includes a portfolio of your work samples, and successful completion of an online examination.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for public relations specialists who worked in advertising and public relations services was $56,770, as of May 2015. Most PR specialists earned between $41,520 and $110,080 per year.

What Are some Related Alternative Careers?

Another occupation that deals with presenting a client of company in a favorable light is market research analyst. They study market conditions in order to advise their client company about the sales potential of a product or service. They examine trends in order to discover who might buy a product or service, where there is a need for such a product or service and what might be the optimum price to place on that product or service.

A similar occupation to public relations agent and market research analyst is a marketing, advertising and promotions manager. These individuals work on designing and implementing promotions, advertising programs with an eye toward generating interest in a company's product or service. Theirs is a cooperative effort with such professionals as art directors, sales and financial agents. They construct budgets and are often responsible for deciding on the most effective use and type of media for promotions. They meet with and advise clients on the results of market research and recommend appropriate campaign strategies.

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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