Is a Master's Degree in Public Relations Worth It?

Apr 04, 2018

When determining whether or not to enroll in a master's degree program in public relations, you should decide whether or not this degree would prove worthwhile in terms of cost and benefit. We will discuss these factors below in greater detail.

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If you are considering pursuing a master's degree in public relations, you may be wondering what types of benefits are associated with obtaining this type of degree. Learn more this degree program and how it could change your career options and salary potential below.

Public Relations Master's Degree Program Information

Individuals who obtain a master's degree in public relations could potentially become more attractive candidates for a variety of positions that either require a graduate degree or prefer applicants who have earned advanced degrees. Within the field of public relations, there are generally no strict requirements dictating whether a master's degree is necessary or not, as employers often set their own standards when hiring new employees. Some managerial public relations positions may be more accessible to applicants with master's degrees in public relations, though it may also be possible to be eligible for some of these positions with only a bachelor's degree and significant work experience.

Advanced public relations positions may come with higher salaries, which is a factor worth considering when thinking about enrolling in a master's degree program. However, the tuition and length of time required to complete these programs will likely also be a factor in the decision-making process. Master's degree programs in public relations can typically be completed in 1.5-2 years. Tuition varies, as students who attend a public school in the state in which they live will likely be legible for in-state tuition, whereas private school tuition is typically much higher. These are all factors that students will want to consider when deciding whether to continue pursuing graduate school.

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What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Public Relations?

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Public Relations Manager $111,280 (for all fundraising and public relations managers) 10% (for all fundraising and public relations managers)
Public Relations Specialist $59,300 9%
Marketing Manager $132,230 10%
Communications Postsecondary Teacher $66,510 10%

Public Relations Manager

Public relations managers are responsible for managing and overseeing all of a client's activities that relate to the media and how they interact with the public. They may work on the behalf of an individual or a large organization and are in charge of measuring how the public views the client and organizing various PR efforts to improve or maintain positive public opinion. As a PR manager, you will also likely have a team of employees who you will be overseeing and assigning tasks. Some organizations and companies may require that applicants for a managerial position have a master's degree as well as several years of relevant work experience.

Public Relations Specialist

As a public relations specialist, you will likely be employed by an organization, company, or individual and will be responsible for managing their public image. Some of your duties could include writing press releases, handling all correspondence with the media, scheduling interviews, and managing social media accounts. PR specialists may also be responsible for trying to determine how the public feels about their client in order to inform their future PR efforts. Generally, a bachelor's degree is required for this position, though a master's degree may set you apart from other candidates for more competitive positions.

Marketing Manager

Individuals who have a master's degree in public relations may also be attractive candidates for positions in related fields like marketing. As a marketing manager, you will be responsible for creating interest in a company or organization's products and services. Some of your duties may include creating effective marketing plans that are within budget, conducting and evaluating market research studies to understand what consumers want, and managing marketing staff. You may also work closely with other professionals, like advertising managers, to create advertising campaigns.

Communications Postsecondary Teacher

While most universities require their teachers to have a doctoral degree, it may be possible to qualify for a position as a postsecondary teacher of public relations and communications in a smaller school or community college with only a master's degree. As a postsecondary teacher, your responsibilities will include planning classes and lectures on various topics in public relations, leading discussions, assigning homework and projects to students, creating and administering exams, and assessing student performance through grades. You may also be responsible for providing students with career advice and helping them select appropriate courses.

To summarize, there are a number of factors worth considering when deciding whether or not to enroll in a master's degree program in public relations like cost, length of program, and what kinds of jobs would be available upon graduating.

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