Schools for Publicists
Get information on the degree programs and experience that could lead you to a career as a publicist. Read about how to find a school for your publicist training. Find out about coursework and professional certification in this field.
Students interested in becoming publicists will need to become acclimated to the study of communications. Whether it's through social media, business writing or speaking publicly, there are plenty of associate's and bachelor's degrees that will get you there.
How Can I Find a Publicist School?
A publicist is a type of public relations specialist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a great deal of your education in public relations is gained through on-the-job training. However, many people employed in the public relations arena attend a traditional college, where they major in a field such as communications, English, business or journalism. But the BLS also states that some schools offer formal public relations programs.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) offers an online searchable database. It lists hundreds of schools that offer degree-granting programs in communication, English, journalism and business. However, the NCES also has in its database a category called public relations/image management. Listed in this category, there are over 150 postsecondary institutions offering programs, which may suit your needs.
You'll be able to find public relations-related programs through one or more of an institution's schools, departments or colleges. Possibilities include schools of journalism and mass communication, liberal arts and even performing arts.
What Are Some Common Public Relations Degrees?
Depending on the school, a 2-year public relations program can consist of 62-64 credits leading to an Associate of Science (A.S.) or an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.). While either degree may prepare you for an entry-level position in the workforce, an A.S. is commonly designed for you to transfer into a bachelor's degree program.
A 4-year program can consist of 120-124 credits. You may earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. Depending on the school, your degree might be in public relations or communication with a concentration in public relations.
Which Schools Offer Associate's Degrees in Public Relations?
An online option is available from Franklin University to study public relations at the associate's degree level. The program at Mesa Community College requires coursework in areas like advertising principles, business journalism and a public relations practicum.
- Franklin University offers an online Associate of Science (A.S.) degree program in Public Relations
- Mesa Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Public Relations
- Central Penn College offers an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree in Communications
Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Public Relations?
An online option for a public relations concentration includes curriculum with classes in public speaking, social media and organizational communication. The University of Florida offers another online option with a degree program in public relations.
- Southern New Hampshire University offers an online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in Communication with a public relations concentration
- The University of Florida offers an online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Public Relations
- Boston University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Communication
What Will I Learn?
In an associate's degree program, you're usually taught the fundamentals of public relations. Typical courses cover creative writing, news writing, feature writing, advertising principles, salesmanship, mass media and marketing. You might also be required to participate in an on-campus practicum in public relations. At some schools, you may have the option of participating in an internship.
A bachelor's degree program takes things a bit further. You build on the associate's degree program and pursue upper-level courses that can include publicity and public relations, copywriting, public relations campaigns, rhetoric and persuasion. Schools generally require you to participate in a practicum and an internship. Internships may be completed on campus or at a partnered, independent firm such as a television or radio station, newspaper, magazine, record company or publicity agency.
Schools often provide you with the opportunity to become a member of a local chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is the student division of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Through the PRSSA, you'll have access to local and national scholarships, internships and networking opportunities. You'll also be able to log into the resources on the PRSA website, which can help you with your search for employment and provide career advice.
What About Online Degree Programs and Professional Certification?
You may be able to pursue stand-alone courses dealing with public relations, such as public relations functions, marketing, public relations writing and positioning. Online associate's degree programs in public relations are rare, though bachelor's degree programs are more numerous. Though not necessary to land a job as a publicist, you can pursue a master's degree online.
The Accredited in Public Relations (APR) designation is a voluntary certification offered by the PRSA. In preparation for the certification examination, which is overseen by the Universal Accreditation Board, the PRSA offers an online study course. Certification stands as testimony to your competence in the field. You can keep your APR designation current by completing continuing education units, which are offered online by some traditional schools and by the PRSA.
Study public relations online or on-campus with undergraduate-level programs. Coursework includes public speaking, business journalism and social media.