There are a few bachelor's degree programs suitable for aspiring public affairs assistants, including programs in marketing, public relations and more. It is very important for public affairs assistants to have exceptional writing and communication skills, and the ability to multi-task can be a major asset in this role.
Public affairs assistants, or public relations assistants, often assist public affairs directors and act as liaisons for non-profit organizations and the communities they provide services to. This is often an entry-level position for those interested in entering the public relations field. Despite the low level of the job in comparison with other industry positions, the majority of such assistants hold baccalaureate degrees in a field relating to public affairs, such as journalism or marketing.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in marketing, journalism, public relations or communications|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||6% for public relations specialists*|
|Median Salary (2016)||$34,443 for public relations assistants**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Job Duties of a Public Affairs Assistant
Public affairs assistants' job duties might entail coordinating and publicizing community outreach events or representing an organization at conferences and other community functions. Public affairs assistants may also be responsible for projecting a positive image of an organization via print, broadcast or online media.
A large portion of their job duties may include researching, writing and editing public policy statements, speeches, press releases or newscasts designed to promote an organization's services or address matters of concern for the community. Public affairs assistants might also be responsible for proofreading marketing materials or updating an organization's website to announce news and current events. When an organization is contacted by the media, public affairs assistants could also be asked to serve as contacts.
Education and Experience Requirements
Public affairs assistant positions generally require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in a field such as marketing, journalism, public relations or communications. Candidates may also need a year or more of work experience in public affairs or related positions, such as marketing or event planning. Job candidates with significant experience, however, could be able to forgo degree requirements.
Public affairs assistants need strong oral and written communication skills. Employers may also look for applicants who are familiar with AP style, word processing software and, in some cases, design software like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Access. Additional requirements could include strong organizational skills, the ability to multitask and work under deadlines. Some employers also prefer bilingual applicants who can speak English and Spanish.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't report an employment outlook for public affairs assistants, it does project a 6% job growth for public relations specialists over the 2014-2024 decade. These professionals perform many of the same job duties as public affairs assistants, and the increasing use of social media could drive job growth for these assistants in much the same way as it's expected to lead to new job opportunities for public relations specialists.
There are a range of duties that a public affairs assistant might be responsible for, such as writing speeches, press releases and public policy statements, publicizing community events, and proofreading marketing materials. According to the BLS, as of 2015 the top industries for public relations specialists included professional services, government, and civic organizations.