Students in bachelor's degree programs in public relations learn how to act as liaisons between businesses, communities and media outlets. They study subjects related to promotion, marketing, business communications and planning. Students may also pursue advanced degrees in public relations for greater income potential. Prior to admission, they must have earned a high school education and submit SAT or ACT scores. Letters of recommendation or personal statements may also be required.
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Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations
Once admitted, it typically takes four years of full-time study to complete this degree. Written and verbal communication is an integral part of public relations, so many courses focus on the technical aspects of speech writing, public speaking and business documents. Some of the common courses included in programs are:
- Mass communications
- Drafting press releases
- Marketing and promotion strategies
- Business communication
- Advanced copywriting
- Strategic planning concepts
Employment Outlook and Career Information
A bachelor's degree in public relations qualifies students for many entry-level PR positions. Students can seek job opportunities as PR specialists, representatives, campaign managers or PR coordinators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of PR specialist positions is expected to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is as fast as the national average.
The BLS reports that the mean annual salary for PR specialists was $65,830 in May 2015. The bottom ten percent of workers made $31,690, while the top ten percent of specialists earned $110,080 annually in the same year.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
With a bachelor's degree in public relations, professionals can seek voluntary PR certification and accreditation through groups like the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). The Public Relations Society of America requires members to pass a comprehensive exam and have five years of experience before becoming accredited. The IABC also requires an examination and several years of experience before seeking accreditation.
Public relations specialists can also seek a master's degree in business, communications or journalism. A master's degree allows PR specialists to pursue senior PR and marketing positions or self-employment as a PR consultant.
In a bachelor's degree program in public relations, students are trained in the different aspects of communication and marketing such as drafting press releases and marketing and promotion strategies. Future options for graduates include certification and accreditation, and pursuing postgraduate studies.