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Job Description of a Communications Specialist

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a communications specialist. Get an overview of the requirements, such as degree programs and job duties, to find out if this is the career for you.

Communications or public relations specialists may handle public relations, information output, press releases and media requests, social media and/or advertising for a wide variety of organizations. A bachelor's degree in a relevant area is required to break into this growing field.

Essential Information

Communications or public relations specialists create and maintain positive relationships between their clients and the public often using media outlets. They produce press releases and manage public events. Communications specialists typically require a bachelor's degree in public relations or another relevant field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6%
Average Salary (2015)* $65,830

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Communications Specialist Job Description

Communications specialists, also known as public relations specialists, establish positive associations with the public and mass media on behalf of their clients. Employers may include businesses, non-profits, government agencies and individuals. Their job incorporates a number of skills from different fields including marketing, journalism, business administration and more.

Job Duties

Communications specialists draft and send press releases that contain important updates about their clients to print and broadcast media outlets. They also organize events at which their clients can meet with the public to increase product awareness or knowledge of their services or recent developments. Proposing and manage advertising on behalf of their clients is included in the job description. In addition to controlling information output, communications specialists handle incoming requests for information from media outlets. Their general goal is to promote cooperative relationships between their clients and those who use their clients' services.

Required Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), entry-level communications specialists typically possess a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. For instance, they can earn an undergraduate degree in public relations, which gives prospective communications specialists comprehensive understanding of modern methods of communication. Coursework explores event planning, graphic communications, advertising, campaigning and news writing. Other appropriate degree programs include communications, marketing and journalism.

Career Outlook

The BLS predicted job opportunities for public relations specialists to grow at an average pace of 6 percent between 2014 and 2024. However, the BLS also noted that competition for entry-level positions would be significant. Primarily this is due to increased competitiveness between businesses in a worldwide market, as well as organizations' growing awareness of the importance of maintaining positive ongoing relationships with customers. The recent influx of social media outlets has also made communications specialist jobs especially relevant.

In May 2015, public relations specialists earned a mean yearly wage of $65,830, stated the BLS. The median annual wage was $56,770 that same year. The top ten percent of workers in the occupation grossed $110,080, while the bottom ten percent earned $31,690 in May 2015, stated the BLS.

A communications specialist needs a bachelor's degree in journalism, communication or a related field. and should be knowledgeable not only in communications, but also in areas like advertising or marketing, social media, journalism, and writing. This job is becoming increasingly relevant with the rise of social media and online communications, but competition is expected to be tough for entry-level positions. Jobs in this field are growing only at a average rate compared to the market as a whole, and the median salary for a public relations specialist in 2015 was about $65,000.

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