Online associate's degree programs in public relations are rare, but are available in some schools. Students who cannot find a suitable all-online program in public relations may be able to find hybrid programs at nearby colleges that offer some courses online combined with required on-campus classes, or they may pursue associate's degrees in closely related fields, such as marketing or business.
Programs in public relations cover courses in marketing principles, business writing, speech communication, media research and public relations policies. Graduates may go on to assume public relations jobs at companies, advertising agencies, non-profit organizations, government agencies or service industries.
Associate's Degree in Public Relations
In a public relations associate's degree program, students learn about business principles, marketing techniques and communication strategies. Associate's degree programs in public relations, marketing and business administration prepare graduates to find entry-level positions in business or non-profit sectors, and enable them to transfer to related bachelor's degree programs.
Information and Requirements
Associate's degree programs contain general education requirements, major requirements and electives. The core major requirements build skills in public speaking, visual design and writing, and the elective PR courses allow students to refine their abilities. Altogether, associate's degree programs generally take about two years to complete. Hybrid programs may require occasional or regular campus attendance.
Online classes offer course materials through university websites. Students discuss readings and assignments with each other and their teachers via e-mail, online forums or chat rooms.
List of Common Public Relations Courses
Classes in public relations draw from business, communications and visual arts. Students take examinations, develop presentations and complete writing assignments in professional and academic forms.
Public Relations Overview
In an introductory public relations course, students learn about the general principles and means of facilitating communication between an institution or organization and the public. They compare the public relations needs of businesses, political campaigns and other types of organizations. Classes cover the contemporary media landscape and the importance of online and social media outreach.
Public Relations Campaigns
Students learn about the components of a successful public relations campaign, including written communications, branding and media outreach. To illustrate principles discussed, classes draw from well-known campaigns conducted by businesses and political organizations.
A graphic design course focuses on visual communications techniques relevant to public relations specialists. Course topics include Web design, print media formatting and display and comprehensive institutional branding.
Graduates of public relations degree programs may seek jobs with corporations, non-profit organizations, government agencies or political campaigns. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2018, the mean annual wage of a public relations specialist was $68,440. Job prospects for public relations experts are projected to increase by 6% between 2018 and 2028, but the field is generally very competitive.
Continuing Education Information
Most associate's degree programs are designed to transfer coursework to bachelor's programs at 4-year universities. Students with associate's degrees in public relations might pursue bachelor's degrees in public relations, marketing, journalism or business communications. Many such programs are available entirely online.
Online associate's degree programs in public relations are offered in some schools either fully online or in hybrid format requiring both online learning and on-campus classes. Though these online degree programs are rare, they increase graduates' chances of landing jobs in businesses, non-profit sectors or government agencies, as well as provide the option to transfer coursework credits to a related bachelor's degree program.