Online diplomas in public relations aren't typically available although diplomas in related fields like marketing communications as well as advertising and promotion are offered entirely online. Students interested in public relations may pursue distance learning certificates, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees. These types of programs are available at traditional four-year institutions as well as private online schools. Examples of online degree options in this field include the following:
- Certificate in Public Relations
- Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations
- Bachelor of Arts in Advertising & Public Relations
- Master of Arts in Public Relations
- Master of Business Administration in Public Relations
Undergraduate certificate and degree programs in this field may not have many admission requirements beyond a high school diploma or GED, although some online bachelor's programs require applicants to already have some general education credits. Those seeking admission to a master's degree or graduate certificate program must have a bachelor's degree. GRE scores, recommendation letters, work histories and writing samples may also be required. While many programs are offered fully online, some do require in-person internships.
Public Relations Degree
Students enrolled in online public relations courses learn to communicate effectively in a variety of ways and develop an understanding of human behavior. Distance learners spend much of their time independently studying the effects of multimedia communication involved in radio, television, Internet and print materials. Schools manage virtual classroom environments that contain lectures and assignments that can generally be accessed any time. Discussion boards, Web conferencing and chat rooms may be used for class interaction.
Most public relations programs can be completed totally online, but some may offer an option to take part in an internship -- a choice that could be beneficial when hunting for a job after graduation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), public relations specialist jobs were expected to grow only 6% between 2018 and 2028, which is about the same as for other vocations (www.bls.gov). The median annual wage of secondary school teachers in 2019 was $61,150.
Online public relations classes focus on marketing, communication strategies and journalism. Students will also study topics in public communication, social media, marketing principles and consumer behavior. Programs may require coursework in areas like psychology and group dynamics as well. The following list offers details on some of the most common online offerings available to distance learning students studying public relations.
Public Relations Management
A public relations management course familiarizes students with the different aspects of public relations, and emphasizes the following areas:
- Conducting research
- Establishing communication goals
- Executing communication plans
- Evaluating communication efforts
Students will also study terminology and theoretical concepts regarding public relations and develop an appreciation for the history, ethics, techniques and strategic planning principles of this field.
Public Relations Case Study
Students enrolled in the public relations case study course are educated on the history and communication campaigns involved in the private and public sectors. Students develop problem-solving and issue management skills and the ability to apply effective public relation principles, theories, and practices into real world situations.
Theory and Influence of Media
The online theory and influence of media class educates students on how social life has become entwined with the mass media, and examines its positive and negative effects on individuals and society. This course uses contemporary industry data and classical sociological theory to help students understand why certain media campaigns succeed and fail.
Online diplomas in public relations are not commonly available; however, many four-year institutions and private schools offer online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in this field. While coursework for these programs may be completed fully online, students may be required to complete in-person internships, which could be valuable to graduates once they start looking for jobs.