Public Relations Professional: Occupational Outlook and Career Summary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a public relations professional. Get a quick view of the requirements, such as degree programs and job duties, to see if this is the right career for you.

A public relations specialist creates beneficial connections throughout the business world. In most cases, only a bachelor's degree is required to become a public relations professional. Experience in writing and advertising can give candidates the advantage they need to earn a position in this field.

Essential Information

Public relations professionals help companies develop strong relationships with investors, media and the public. They do this by designing campaigns that communicate goals and strategies to the outside world. Public relations professionals may work in an agency, for a company or in government. Most entry-level PR professional jobs require a bachelor's degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6%
Median Salary (2015)* $56,770

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Public Relations Professional Occupational Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted employment opportunities for public relations (PR) specialists to increase 6% (roughly the average for all occupations) from 2014-2024, although more applicants may be available than entry-level positions (www.bls.gov). The need for companies to maintain a positive public image in an increasingly community-oriented market creates demand for these professionals. The BLS indicates that some skills, particularly social media skills, are favored by employers.

Public Relations Professional Career Summary

According O*Net Online, PR professionals use different publicity techniques to develop a positive public image for a company (www.onetonline.org). These techniques include writing press releases, managing social media and doing speaking engagements. PR professionals may also coordinate community outreach and volunteer programs. To help determine the best strategy and test the results, they may need to conduct research.

Many PR professionals work for large public relations firms that service companies, but some are directly employed by the company they promote. During their daily activities, they may work with leadership personnel or other marketing professionals. The BLS states that PR professionals also work in the government as press secretaries, promoting agencies and officials.

Salary Information

As of May 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for a PR specialist was $56,770, while the top-earning ten percent earned more than $110,000. PayScale.com indicates that PR professionals may go on to become PR managers or directors, who have a higher earning potential.

Educational Requirements

Most entry-level PR professional jobs require a bachelor's degree. These programs are often housed in journalism or communications departments, where PR may be offered as a concentration. Some programs offer the opportunity to specialize in public relations for government, nonprofit or business. PR programs typically include coursework that is relevant to all forms of media, such as law and ethics, research and technology. Courses in advertising, creative writing, psychology, sociology and business administration can prove especially helpful in preparing for a PR career, according to the BLS.

The curricula specific to PR include topics in strategy and methods. Due to the importance of writing in the PR field, most programs are writing intensive. Some visual communications, multimedia or graphics design courses may be required.

From promoting products and services for a large corporation to developing campaigns for governmental leaders, a degree in public relations could lead just about anywhere. Experts in this field should have strong writing and communication skills. An understanding of psychology, business administration and sociology is also beneficial for job applicants.


What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?