What Can I Do with a Degree in Public Relations?

A degree in public relations (PR) is useful for any career that focuses on persuading people and disseminating a message. Whether promoting a new product, expanding a business, soliciting donations or maintaining clients through advertisements and promotions, many businesses and organizations need the services of someone versed in public relations. Schools offering Public Relations degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Public Relations Degree Overview

Public relations professionals are responsible for helping to craft and maintain a client's image for the public. In this role, you can work for businesses or for individuals and act as the liaison to the media and to consumers. Generally, PR professionals need a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A degree in public relations is common, though degrees in journalism, advertising and communication might also suffice. Once you graduate and complete an internship, you can obtain an entry-level position before eventually moving up to a role as public relations specialist, public relations manager and advertising manager.

Important Facts About Public Relations Specialists

On-the-Job Training None
Work Environment Office setting with some long days
Key Skills Strong interpersonal, speaking, and writing skills
Similar Occupations Advertising sales agents, advertising managers, editors

Public Relations Specialist

If you're new to the PR field, you might start as a public relations specialist. As a PR specialist, you'll act as an advocate for your client and ensure that communications with the public are beneficial to your client's reputation. You might work for a specific organization and help build its name recognition or you might work for a PR firm. In a PR firm, you may work on behalf of many clients, like hospitals, nonprofit associations and universities.

To gain an understanding of how the public perceives your client, you might research attitudes or concerns groups have about your client. Once you've identified concerns, you can address them and dispel any myths surrounding your client, as well as make people aware of your client's good qualities.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed public relations specialists was projected to increase 12% between 2012 and 2022, which is about average. These specialists earned median salaries of $55,680 as of 2014.

Public Relations Manager

Like a public relations specialist, if you want to become a public relations manager, you'll likely need a college degree. You'll also need some work experience. In this career, you'll work in a supervisory role, and oversee and assign work to public relations specialists. You'll develop PR programs to promote the goals of your organization in a positive manner.

Your job as PR manager will be to keep up on current events and news that could affect your client. You'll be in charge of issuing information to the press and to the public, and updating your client on important news. In some cases, you'll help arrange interviews and draft speeches for important executives within your company or on behalf of your client, depending on the industry you work in.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

As of 2014, the median salary among PR and fundraising managers was $101,510, per the BLS. Employment opportunities for these professionals were expected to grow 13% during the 2012-2022 decade, which is slightly faster than the national average of 11% for all job sectors.

Advertising Manager

As an advertising manager, you'll focus on promoting products and services through advertising. A minimum of a bachelor's degree in public relations, advertising or a related field is required for this position. Consumer behavior and marketing experience will help you figure out what audiences to target with your advertising. You'll come up with ad campaigns for television, radio, billboards, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Advertising and promotions managers are expected to see a slower-than-average 7% uptick in job openings from 2012-2022, reports the BLS. The median salary for these professionals was $96,720 in 2014.

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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