Public relations specialists, also known as communications specialists or media specialists, oversee communications between a client, business, or organization and the general public. They help clients develop and maintain a public image and cultivate a target audience that can include customers, investors, members of the press, and, in the case of non-profits, potential donors and funding sources. Along with traditional media, public relations specialists utilize the Internet and social media to communicate a client's image and mission. Some of the job responsibilities of public relations specialists include:
- Help clients develop and maintain a public image and identity
- Compose press releases and respond to media queries
- Identify target audiences and determine how to reach those audiences effectively
- Draft speeches for a business or organization's top managers and executives
In an increasingly inter-connected global economy, businesses and organizations are focused on community outreach and good customer relations, two major areas of responsibility for public relations specialists, to enhance their image and reputation. According to the BLS, the continuing evolution of digital and social media, and the resulting increase in channels for communication between clients and the general public, is also contributing to job growth for public relations specialists. Public relations specialists are needed to help businesses and organizations utilize the Internet and various media outlets to respond quickly and effectively to changing news and public opinion.
Job Growth for
Public Relations Specialist
- Annual Pay National Average
- Hourly Pay National Average
|District of Columbia||9,520||$92,150||$44|
Becoming a Public Relations Specialist
Public relations specialists typically hold at least a bachelor's degree. Potential employers are likely to favor candidates in this competitive field with a bachelor's degree in public relations or communications with a concentration on public relations. Since public relations specialists must communicate clearly with the general public and work cooperatively with a business or organization's staff, managers, and investors, public relations majors should already possess strong interpersonal, organizational, and problem solving skills. In addition to general business and communications subjects, public relations degree programs will focus on critical thinking, research, strategic planning, and public speaking skills.
Communications programs typically offer a broad and comprehensive curriculum of study applicable to a career in public relations.Many online schools, including Southern New Hampshire University, offer online bachelor's degrees in communications with a concentration on public relations. In addition to required general courses and communications courses, students enrolled in SNHU's public relations degree program take the following classes:
- Electronic Public Relations
- Writing for Public Relations
- Public Relations Campaign Planning
Graduates will be prepared for careers in corporate, government, and non-profit public relations. Although employers will typically favor candidates with a bachelor's, entry-level public relations positions may include one month to one year of on-the-job training after which specialists take on the responsibility of writing press releases, speeches for members of upper management, and planning and implementing public relations programs. Years of work experience and a master's degree can offer additional employment opportunities and advancement.