Every company, or even many powerful individuals, need a public relations team. Public Relations differs from advertising and marketing in that public relations gains or creates exposure for their chosen audience through cultivating public interest and disseminating information through avenues that don’t require payment. Common responsibilities include writing news releases, working with the press, arranging interviews, writing speeches, acting as a spokesperson, and managing many forms of an organization’s communications, including crisis management and internal communications. Because of the wide variety of companies that have public relations branches, public relations degree holders have a lot of options to enter industries the best meet their interests and needs.
Job Prospects for Public Relations Degree-Holders
Many public relations degree holders start out as public relations specialists before advancing into management positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Public Relations Specialist are expected to see a 9% rise in employment between now and 2026. The steady need for public relations professionals is largely due to the increasing reliance on online and social media to shape public perception. Perhaps the most significant shift in public relations comes from the 24/7 connection the public can have with an organization through the internet. That means that not only do public relations degree holders have to consider an organization’s images through traditional means of news outlets and press releases, but also through unsolicited online public engagement.
While most public relations degree holders start their careers as public relations specialists, some might also start in marketing or social media. How a public relations professional starts their career is largely due to any additional specializations they got for their degree or additional certifications they hold. After gaining experience and completing a Master’s in Public Relations, many public relations specialists move up the corporate ladder into positions like public relations managers, communications mannagers, or public relations directors.
5 Public Relations Jobs that a Degree Prepares You For
Public Relations Specialist
Create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization or individual they represent through media releases and social media interaction.
Median Salary: $58,020
Public Relations Manager
Responsible for maintaining and improving public perception of an organization, including overseeing writers, artists, and public relations specialist to ensure consistent messaging.
Social Media Specialist
Communicate with the public through social media platforms, including posting content to spark interest in brand-related topics and interact with customers via social media avenues
Work to improve their organization’s internal communication strategy and external reputation with multiple audiences
Develop and coordinate marketing campaigns that involve presentations, social media, print, and television ads through researching market area and audience perception.
3 Common Specializations for a Public Relations Degree
A general public relations bachelor’s degree will include a significant amount of coursework in writing. Typically, students in bachelor’s degree programs will take courses like multimedia writing, public relations writing, and reporting, in addition to audience analysis, international public relations, and public relations campaigns. Electives might include additional genre specific writing courses, like magazine writing, or in other public relations topics like fundraising or advertising. A general public relations degree prepares you for careers as public relations specialists, media coordinators, technical writers, or a communications specialists.
At the bachelor’s level, some public relations degrees allow for a number of electives that let students gain additional specializations in marketing and advertising writing. This means students would take additional courses in business and marketing, including strategic communications, interactive advertising, and social media advertising. Through blending communication heavy public relations curriculum with marketing courses, students can be well prepared to start careers as social media specialists and marketing coordinators, in addition to jobs in public relations.
At the master’s level, many public relations degrees specialize in communications management. Depending on the university, public relations master’s students take courses in crisis communication management, international public relations, audience research, and media relations management. A master’s degree is a great option for those already in a public relations job who are looking to move into managerial positions, especially positions that also require knowledge of marketing and social media.
Earn Professional Certifications and Specialized Graduate Certificates
Perhaps the most significant change to the field of marketing in recent years has been how companies use social media to connect with its audience. These changes are reflected in the type of skills and specializations public relations specialists are expected to hold. The following skills are in the highest demand for new employees in public relations jobs:
Write clear and consistent communication for the media
Effectively interact with different media outlets and their audiences
Evaluate public opinion through social media
Internal corporate communications
Respond quickly to crisis and negative news
Develop outreach and partner programs with relevant individuals and communities
Work collaboratively to identify social media content, topics, and information flow
Because the above skills are in high demand, many Online Digital Marketing Certification Programs have increased in availability that professionals with public relations degrees can make use of to further increase their skill set. Recent graduates can also help boost their careers by taking part in an increasing number of online marketing internships that reflect the relationship between remote work and public relations jobs, as well as the way customers often engage with companies online.