Public Relations: Career and Salary Facts

Public relations professionals provide media relations for businesses and public figures. Read on to learn what it takes to launch a career in the field and gain a competitive edge, and see the salary statistics for this field. Schools offering Public Relations degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Public Relations Specialist?

A public relations specialist's primary responsibility is to create and maintain a positive public image for the organization they are representing. This often involves writing press releases and providing information about the organization to the public. Public relations specialists also work with their clients to help them communicate well with the public. They may write speeches for their clients, evaluate advertisements and promotional programs and monitor public opinion surrounding the organization through social media.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Public relations, business, communications, English
Key Skills Interpersonal communication, organization, public speaking, persuasive writing
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024) 6%*
Median Salary (2015) $56,770*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Degree Qualifies Me For a Career in Public Relations?

To become a public relations specialist or manager, you'll need a broad range of skills, including those taught in a college degree program. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you can qualify for this profession with a bachelor's degree, though several graduate schools also offer master's-level training designed for career advancement. Relevant undergraduate majors include public relations, journalism, communications and marketing, each which have corresponding graduate programs, as well.

Bachelor's and master's degree programs teach you written and oral communication skills specifically related to public relations, combining media studies and public speaking courses. You'll learn how to write press releases, give interviews and schedule appearances designed to positively promote your clients. Earning a bachelor's degree prepares you for the fundamental aspects of public relations. A master's degree establishes your capability in the field and allows you to advance your career into management.

Where Could I Work?

You can intern or find postgraduate positions with a number of employers, such as advertising agencies, public relations firms, private corporations or nonprofit organizations. Fresh out of school, you might conduct research, gauge public opinion or assist with writing tasks. With proven experience in the field, your responsibilities might include writing press releases, talking to the media, or corresponding with journalists. You could also get a job in government working as a press secretary, public affairs specialist or as a spokesperson for a political figure. With sufficient contacts, you might be able to launch your own public relations business, representing high-profile clients and businesses.

How Can I Gain a Professional Advantage?

Earning a degree simply qualifies you for a public relations career; you'll need to show your dedication to this competitive profession to succeed and grow in the field. One way to do this is to earn certification through professional organizations, such as the Universal Accreditation Board or the International Association of Business Communicators. Both require you to gain formal education and several years of practical experience to become eligible to take certification exams.

How Much Could I Earn?

The BLS released salary figures and anticipated job growth statistics for public relations specialists and managers. Public relations specialists earned a median annual salary of $56,770 in 2015, while manager positions earned a median salary of $104,140 the same year. Manager positions were expected to maintain an average growth rate of 7%, and demand for public relations specialists was projected to increase 6% between 2014and 2024.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some related careers that require at least a bachelor's degree include those of market research analysts, editors, and marketing managers. Market research analysts study the market patterns to predict sales and determine things like price points for a given product. Editors work for magazines, book publishers and more to review written content prior to publication. Marketing managers work to create interest and demand for a particular product or service. While all of these careers require at least a bachelor's degree, marketing managers typically have years of experience prior to securing their positions.

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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