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How to Become an Entertainment Publicist

Learn how to become an entertainment publicist. Research the education requirements, training information, and experience required for starting a career in the entertainment publicity field. View article »

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  • 0:02 Career Info
  • 1:13 Earn Bachelor's Degree
  • 2:08 Find Entry-Level Position
  • 3:08 Advance Your Career
  • 3:40 Get Certified

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Career Info

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Public relations, communications, journalism, business or English
Key Skills Interpersonal, oral and written communication, organizational, problem-solving, and research skills; computer skills including graphics, video creation and editing, web page creation, and web platform development software
Experience Entry-level work experience typically required
Certification Voluntary certification available
Salary $56,770 (2015 median for public relations specialists)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), O*Net Online

Entertainment publicists operate the public image machine of actors, musicians, and other high-profile clients. Entertainment publicists also promote their clients by writing press releases and pitching potential news stories to journalists. They may also compile media kits for their clients and handle sensitive press issues. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job pays well, but is high-stress. Long work hours and overtime are common. More careers in entertainment public relations are available in metropolitan cities, such as Los Angeles and New York.

These professionals should have strong oral and written communication skills, organizational and problem-solving skills, computer skills, and knowledge of video creation, editing, web page creation, and web platform development software.

In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that public relations specialists earned a median annual salary of $56,770.

Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree program in public relations prepares students for work as entertainment publicists through courses in public relations, communications, promotional writing, business, and marketing. These programs usually teach students how to write press releases and use the Internet and social media platforms to get clients' messages to the public. Some programs offer students the opportunity to work on publicity projects for real clients.

An internship during college in public relations or publicity, ideally one in the entertainment industry, can offer learning and networking opportunities. Interns gain hands-on experience by performing entry-level tasks and working with public relations professionals and entertainment figures. Some colleges offer an internship as part of the requirements for the degree program.

Find an Entry-Level Position

Typically, public relations specialists start off in lower-level positions as assistant publicists. Their duties might include writing press releases, clipping news articles, fact-checking, and putting together information to be used for brochures and speeches. According to the BLS, some larger public relations agencies run training programs for new employees. If found to be a hard worker with exceptional problem-solving skills, an entry-level employee may be promoted to higher positions and entrusted with more responsibilities.

Joining organizations like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the International Association of Business Communicators can give entertainment publicists access to accredited training programs and networking opportunities. These resources can help entry-level professionals get ahead in the industry.

Advance Your Career

Positions as entertainment publicists typically require several years of experience, according to job postings from employers in August 2015. Typical job duties may include leading the creation of publicity campaigns, establishing relationships with the media, and organizing special events to promote clients. Urban areas with a sizable celebrity population, such as New York and Los Angeles, are typically home to many of these types of jobs.

Get Certified

The Universal Accreditation Board offers certification to qualifying public relations specialists who are members of PRSA. Individuals who want to apply for this certification should have at least five years of work experience. Candidates are tested in ten basic competencies. This accreditation is good for life; however, the accredited individual must maintain membership in PRSA and continue to participate in continuing education programs.

Those aspiring to work as entertainment publicists should earn at least a bachelor's degree in public relations, communication, or a similar field, before going on to complete an internship, get an entry-level position, and work their way up in the industry.

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