Become a Public Relations Specialist

Public Relations Degree Online

Businesses big and small and public figures across the country can be thrust into the media spotlight at any moment. It could be because of a popular new product, an event or even because of an interaction on social media. When that happens and the person or company needs to address the public, they often look to qualified public relations specialists for guidance. These professionals make a living shaping public perception in a favorable way by writing press releases and advising clients.

Effective public relations specialists are very important in many organizations, as the World Wide Web has made it easier for organizations to address a wide audience on a regular basis. With online courses, you may learn how to become a public relations specialist and what it takes to pursue a career in the field. Moreover, many students choose to further their educational experiences online because many courses do not require a commute and classes can be attended at a time of your choosing.

Are Online Public Relations Specialists Programs for You?

Here are some things to consider when choosing an online public relations specialist program:

  • Today, public relations specialists typically need a bachelor's degree to be considered by employers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[i]. Candidates typically study public relations, journalism, communications, English or business before pursuing a career.
  • Many employers also require candidates to interview with a portfolio of previous work projects. This collection of work demonstrates to organizations that interviewees have a certain aptitude for the work. Some online programs may help you create a portfolio.
  • Internships may also be important to employers. Inquire whether an online program will help you seek opportunities at established businesses to gain work experience.

Public Relations Specialists Career Paths and Potential Salaries

Studying to receive a public relations degree may give you the skills necessary to pursue a career in other fields as well. By carefully critiquing your writing and communication skills, online public relations specialists courses may make you a valuable candidate for hire at many organizations. Study which options may be available using statistics compiled by the BLS.

Public Relations Specialists[i]

These professionals write press releases and carefully craft informational material for the media. They help clients communicate with the public, respond to media requests or customer inquiries, and may even write speeches for public figures or business executives. They are charged with making clients appear favorably to the public.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $54,170
  • Job growth through 2022: 12 percent (average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers[ii]

While there are many similar qualities between the work of fundraising managers and public relations specialists, the former are also responsible for creating campaigns that attract donors. They contact potential donors, hold meetings with high-profile contributors, apply for grants and design ad campaigns to raise money for their clients.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $95,450
  • Job growth through 2022: 13 percent (average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers[iii]

Whereas fundraising managers may work for specific people, advertising, promotions and marketing managers typically work for companies to help publicize a product or service. They devise marketing campaigns that include TV commercials, radio spots, print ads, online marketing efforts and more. They may also spend a significant portion of time conducting industry research to develop possible marketing strategies.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $115,750
  • Job growth through 2022: 12 percent (average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

[i] bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm

[ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm#tab-7

[iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm