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Public Information Officer: Job Description, Duties and Outlook

Public relations officers require significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Public information officers prepare for their career by completing a bachelor's degree. Relevant fields of study include communications, public relations or journalism.

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Essential Information

The title of public information officer is most commonly used in a government setting, though these professionals may also be referred to as public relations specialists. Public information officers have a variety of job duties, but written and verbal communication is the basis for all they do. They liaise between their employer and the public and may be responsible for issuing press releases, answering queries from the media and arranging interviews with company executives and employees. They need at least a bachelor's degree in public relations, communications or a related field, and many have some journalism experience.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in public relations or related field
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6%
Mean Salary (2015)* $65,830

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Education and Experience

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) noted a public information officer must have at least a bachelor's degree. In addition to a degree in public relations, marketing, journalism, or communications, a minor in business can be helpful. Many public information officers acquire their jobs after working for a few years as news or television reporters. Students who worked at internships while in school often use their personal connections to inquire about employment.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean salary for a public relations specialist in May 2015 was $65,830. The BLS reported the mean pay for a public relations specialist working for the federal government was $89,640 in 2015, while those working for local governments made an average of $60,250 a year. Salaries vary depending upon the size of the organization, its location, and the experience the job requires.

Duties

Public information officers gather facts and distribute them to the media. They produce printed and video material about their organization for dissemination to the public. A public information officer may be responsible for organizing special events such as news conferences and awards ceremonies. Maintaining a social media presence may be part of a public information officer's duties. These individuals may work long hours on an irregular schedule, especially when publicized situations or incidents affect the company.

Outlook

The BLS noted the job outlook for public relations managers and specialists was about average for all professions, with job growth expected to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024. However, competition for entry-level positions was predicted to be fierce, and the BLS stated workers with excellent social media skills may fare best.

Public information officers are public relations specialists. They provide information to the media and the public that is intended to inform the public about programs or issues. In addition to a bachelor's degree in marketing, public relations or a relevant field, those seeking employment in this field benefit from completing an internship.

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