Public Relations Manager Career Info
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree; master's often preferred|
|Degree Field||Public relations, communications, or journalism|
|Experience||Several years of PR or related experience|
|Key Skills||Problem-solving, speaking, writing, organizational, communication, and leadership skills; knowledge of social media|
|Salary||$104,140 (2015 median for all public relations and fundraising managers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine
Public relations (PR) managers are concerned with helping a company, organization or government agency maintain a positive public image. This may be done using different forms of media to convey a positive message to a target audience. PR managers can direct special presentations, including business events, charity functions or media campaigns. They also perform such tasks as writing and reviewing press releases, monitoring social or political issues that can affect a company and preparing clients for public speaking announcements. PR managers often work on multiple projects simultaneously and must be adept in handling high-stress situations. Travel is also often required.
PR managers should have strong problem-solving skills, writing and communication skills, organizational skills and a knowledge of social media. Public relations and fundraising managers earned a median salary of $104,140 per year in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Most PR management jobs require a bachelor's or master's degree in public relations or a related field. These programs are typically offered through a school's business or communications department. In some schools, a public relations degree is offered as a combined public relations and advertising or marketing degree program. Programs may allow students to focus on either the creative or managerial aspects of PR or a combination of both.
Some bachelor's degree programs require the completion of hands-on projects that can be included in a portfolio. Content such as writing examples, press releases, brochures and newsletters are good mediums to feature.
Joining an association like the Public Relations Society of American (PRSA ) can give students access to career development and networking opportunities. Undergraduate students can join as an associate member during their senior year.
Gain Work Experience
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals with previous experience in public relations, marketing or advertising fill most PR management positions. Many times, these promotions are made from within a company. Some companies may offer continuing education, management certification or training for their employees who wish to become managers. By accepting an entry-level position, individuals can gain work experience and prepare for professional accreditation, which are important to advance in the field.
Although not required, some employers in the PR industry may prefer prospective employees to be professionally accredited. Organizations, such as the PRSA, offer accreditation to professionals who meet certain requirements. Applicants seeking PRSA accreditation are required to have several years of experience, be a member of a participating organization, submit an exam fee and pass an exam.
To sum up, aspiring public relations managers should seek to earn a bachelor's or even a master's degree in a PR related field before finding an entry-level job in the industry and working their way up via promotions.