If your passion is delivering relevant information to an inquiring populace, then a career in public relations might be your cup of tea. A major in public relations can lead to various career options, with median salaries ranging from roughly $60,000 to over $100,000 per year.
Public relations professionals use a combination of communication, research and marketing skills to manage the images and reputations of businesses and other organizations. A bachelor's degree in public relations is a common way of entering this field. Students pursuing a degree in public relations should be comfortable communicating with and talking in front of people, as public engagement is a general job requirement in this industry.
|Career Title||Public Relations Specialist||Advertising and Promotions Manager||Public Relations and Fundraising Manager|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's or master's degree|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$56,770||$95,890||$104,140|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6%||5%||7%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Public relations (PR) is a field concerned with managing the images of businesses, government organizations or individuals. The ultimate objective is to represent an organization in the most positive light possible. This is accomplished by doing public opinion research, formulating PR campaigns and advising organizations on how to manage their public images within the scope of their mission statements.
Public Relations skills can be applied to a number of job titles within the PR profession. For example, press secretaries work for government offices, helping to craft and publish press releases regarding new developments. A public relations professional may serve as liaison between an organization and the public, scheduling speeches, conventions or other public engagement opportunities. Because of the large amount of news media interaction required of public relations personnel, some employers seek out candidates with prior experience in the journalism field.
Public Relations Specialist
PR specialists act as representatives for organizations. It is their job to maintain a positive image in the eyes of the media and public. A PS specialist spends his or her work day writing press releases, speaking with the public, and evaluating the effectiveness of marketing and outreach materials.
Advertising and Promotions Managers
These managers lead campaigns to promote businesses and the products and services they offer. They act as point-people for other executives working on a marketing project. As managers, it is their job to make sure all aspects of an advertising campaign run smoothly.
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers
For PR majors who want to work for organizations they are passionate about, a career as a fundraising manager might be the right choice. PR and fundraising managers work on campaigns and projects, the goal of which is to procure donations for their organization. These managers might spend a large part of their day on the phone speaking directly with contributors.
Salary Information for Public Relations
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for public relations specialists as of May 2015 was $56,770. The middle 50% of PR specialists earned $41,520-$78,340, while the top-earning ten percent earned over $110,080. PR specialist salaries vary by industry. For instance, public relations professionals who worked for the semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing industry earned the highest mean annual salary, which was $103,390. Those who worked for the federal government earned a mean annual salary of $89,640.
The BLS projected a 6% job growth for public relations specialists, adding 14,900 new jobs from 2014-2024. This is about as fast as the average growth rate for all occupations. Competition for entry-level positions was predicted to be strong.
Additional Credentials for PR Majors
In addition to a degree in public relations, industry credentials can be earned to make PR professionals more desirable to employers. The Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) is a designation earned through the creation of a professional PR portfolio and the passage of written and oral examinations. According to the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), qualifying for the ABC requires a minimum of five years professional PR experience.
The Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) is another organization that administers a credentialing exam for PR professionals. Open only to members of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Accredited Public Relations (APR) credential examination tests an individual's knowledge of several competencies, including program implementation, ethics, communication theories and models, business literacy, media relations and crisis communication.
You can qualify to become a public relations specialist or advertising and promotions manager with a bachelor's degree, while a position as a public relations and fundraising manager may call for a master's degree. The growth of these positions is expected to be about average through 2024. Though not mandatory, certification in the field is available through various organizations and can enhance your standing as a competent PR or fundraising professional.