Advertising and Public Relations

Explore your job options in the advertising and public relations fields, and review the educational requirements for several positions. Find out what you'd study in an undergraduate degree program in advertising or public relations.

Are Advertising and Public Relations for Me?

Career Summary

Professionals who work in advertising and public relations (PR) are responsible for promoting a company or individual to the general public. As an advertising or public relations professional, you can work in a variety of industries. For example, working in an ad agency, you might design advertising campaigns, billboards, commercials and other promotional materials in hopes of selling a product or service. Public relations firms try to influence how people view their clients, who could be either an individual or a company. Your responsibilities can include writing press releases that discuss clients' new products or services and pitching story ideas to newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Employment Outlook and Salary Statistics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, employment for professionals working in advertising sales is expected to show little to no change from 2012-2022, and competition for open jobs is predicted to be high. Public relations specialists should experience growth in job opportunities of 12% during that same time. Job opportunities for advertising and promotions managers are projected to increase by 7% between 2012 and 2022, and public relations managers will see growth of 13%.

As seen in 2012 figures from the BLS, public relations managers and specialists earned mean annual salaries of $108,260 and $61,980, respectively. Advertising managers received an average salary of $107,060 per year, while advertising sales agents averaged $57,270.

How Can I Work in Advertising and Public Relations?

Education Options

Advertising and public relations professionals come from a wide range of educational backgrounds, including journalism, mass communications and business. Completing a bachelor's degree can qualify you to work as an advertising media consultant, account manager, advertising sales agent or public relations specialist. Some schools offer degrees in both advertising and public relations, while others allow you to choose the track that most interests you.

Topics of Study

While both majors study many of the same concepts and practices, if you enroll in a bachelor's degree in advertising program, you might take courses in sales techniques, media fundamentals, market research and promotional materials. A bachelor's degree in public relations might include courses like media law and ethics, news reporting and editing, crisis communication and persuasive strategy development. A bachelor's degree in marketing can also cover many of the same topics found in an advertising or public relations program.

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