What Are Entry Level Jobs for a Public Relations Career?

Entry level jobs in Public Relations (PR) support the more visible Public Relations officers, account managers, spokespeople and lobbyists. Interns, PR specialists, media specialists, research analysts and research associates do the legwork necessary for a successful PR campaign. Read on to learn more about these entry-level careers. Schools offering Public Relations degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options

In addition to PR agencies, places like corporations, educational institutions, charitable organizations, lobby groups and government agencies all require skilled public relations staff. Entry level jobs in this field often require a bachelor's degree in public relations or a communications-related field like journalism or English. The following are some entry-level career options you can pursue.

Important Facts About Public Relations Specialists

Public Relations Specialist Research Analyst or Associate
On-the-Job Training None Typically required
Key Skills Interpersonal, organizational, speaking and writing skillsActive listening, reading comprehension, critical thinking and problem solving skills
Similar Occupations Advertising and marketing managers, editors, event planners Market research analysts, statistical assistants
Work Environment In addition to PR firms, these professionals often work in civic organizations or educational institutions Research and development services, schools, government, consulting services

Public Relations Intern

While internships are not always paid positions, being an intern is a common entry point for careers in public relations. Depending on the company or organization, interns have a variety of job duties. Monitoring TV and print media coverage of the company, organization or agency clients is a common task delegated to PR interns, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov. Other duties include writing and distributing press releases, chaperoning visitors on tours of the facilities, answering phones and directing media inquiries to the appropriate account manager.

PayScale.com reported that most paid PR interns earned between $16,819 and $41,470 annually as of September 2015. The median annual wage was $26,000, while the median hourly pay was $11.00 an hour.

Public Relations Specialist

Although some news release preparation is given to interns in PR offices that have them, the bulk of the press release writing is the task of the PR specialist. These professionals may also organize events or lectures by high-profile speakers to draw media attention to the organization, according to BLS. The BLS notes that a bachelor's degree is usually required for this career. In addition to working in an office, a PR specialist may have to travel.

According to the BLS, there will be 12% job growth for PR specialists over the 2012-2022 decade. In addition, graduates will experience a lot of competition. PayScale.com reported that entry-level PR specialists earned a median wage of $40,862 in September 2015, and most made between $28,889 and $57,856. In May 2014, the BLS reported an average wage of $64,050 for all public relations specialists, with most working in the advertising, public relations and related services industry and earning $74,140 on average.

Research Analyst or Associate

PR careers in politics often begin with volunteer work on a campaign. Entry-level positions within the political arena are research analysts, issue analysts and research associates, says the career services office of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. The duties of each job title are similar: gathering relevant data and making it useful to the senior PR officers and acting as spokespeople for a campaign or lobby group.

O*Net OnLine groups research analysts and research associates with social science research assistants (www.onetonline.org). The BLS reports that these professionals will experience a faster-than-average job growth from 2012 through 2022 and that an associate's degree is usually needed for entry-level jobs. The average wage for social science research assistants was $43,070 in May 2014, with most making salaries between $19,130 and $69,570. Industry-specific average wages included $43,980 for social advocacy organizations, $50,580 for state government, $44,990 for local government and $41,900 for higher education institutions.

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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