What Is a Public Relations Officer?
Public relations officers may also be called public relations specialists or public information officers. These professionals craft positive public images for the organizations that employ them by gaining favorable media coverage. Public relations officers may also coordinate public events like exhibits and contests to promote their organizations. They typically hold bachelor's degrees in public relations or related fields.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field(s)||Public relations or related field like marketing, communications, or journalism|
|Key Skills||Communications and interpersonal skills|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for public relations specialists|
|Average Salary (May 2015)*||$65,830 for public relations specialists|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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PR Officer Job Duties
Although job duties for public relations specialists are similar whether they work in the public or private sector, the target of their public relations efforts may vary. PR specialists who work for nonprofit organizations, political interest groups, government agencies, or universities may target the general public, as well as specific groups such as voters, donors, or prospective students. Corporate public relations specialists, sometimes called corporate communications specialists or directors, are employed by private companies. They are often responsible for maintaining their companies' relationships with investors and customers, as well as the general public.
Media-Related Job Duties
Public relations officers' job duties typically revolve around the media. They may field inquiries from journalists about their companies, participate in interviews on behalf of their companies, or prepare company representatives to perform well in interviews and public appearances. They may also write or task others to write press releases about their companies' initiatives and accomplishments and use their contacts in the media to secure press coverage.
Promotional Job Duties
Public relations officers may also design and execute promotional campaigns that involve direct communication with the community, consumers, and shareholders. They may coordinate community events to foster goodwill, design public information campaigns to increase awareness about their companies, and create informational materials for investors. Some public relations specialists also directly participate in the development of their companies' marketing strategies.
PR Officer Job Requirements
Entry-level public relations officer applicants typically hold a four-year degree in public relations or related field like marketing, communications, or journalism. Elective coursework in business, social science, and creative writing may be helpful. Aspiring public relations officers may also benefit from membership in pre-professional societies, like the Public Relations Student Society of America, and from participating in internships or corporate training programs.
There are no specific licensure requirements for public relations specialists, but certification may be helpful in landing a job. The Public Relations Society of America offers its members the Accredited in Public Relations professional designation. This credential, which is granted through the Universal Accreditation Board, involves a readiness review and a written examination.
The International Association of Business Communicators also offers the Accredited Business Communicator designation, which is applicable to the public relations field. In order to earn this credential, applicants must present a satisfactory portfolio and pass both oral and written examinations.
Public relations officers can work for public or private organizations, and they try to ensure the best possible media coverage and design promotional campaigns to foster good will and increase awareness of their product or company, among other duties.