How to Become a Public Relations Specialist

How to Become a Public Relations Specialist

Businesses and organizations thrive on their relationships with the public and in serving the community. Public relations specialists are advocates for these organizations, working to promote their clients through avenues such as Internet, broadcast or print media and speaking engagements.

What does a public relations specialist do?

Public relations specialists (also known as PR representatives or media relations agents) are responsible for a variety of tasks toward the common goal of establishing good relationships between an organization and the public sector. Those who have careers in public relations may represent hospitals, businesses, universities, or non-profit organizations. Public relations specialists ensure that their clients are accurately and positively represented in industry relations, government relations and conflict mediation. They keep the public informed about an organization’s policies and objectives and the measures that will be taken for their implementation.

Public relations specialists are in frequent contact with the media. They promote and distribute their organization’s materials through press releases, newspaper and magazine articles, televised reports and radio broadcasts. Those who specialize in public relations also arrange for their clients to interact with the community by preparing visual presentations and speeches for events such as conventions and other public functions.

Public relations specialist jobs involve working from an office, but often include attending meetings and other local engagements. PR specialists have hectic schedules and must be highly organized in order to meet deadlines. People who specialize in public relations frequently work more than a typical 40-hour week. Click here to find out how to become a public relations specialist.

What kind of training does a public relations specialist need?

While there are no specific educational or training requirements necessary for a career in public relations, those who earn a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in concentrations such as journalism, communications and advertising have a distinct edge. Public relations firms also look favorably on job candidates who have internship experience or who have contributed to school newspapers or radio programs.

A student with a public relations major can focus on careers with non-profit organizations, businesses or the government. The topics in the coursework include public relations principles and techniques, visual communications, organizational development and writing proposals. Some of the courses that benefit degrees in public relations are sociology, political science, creative writing and business administration. Click here for a list of online public relations degree programs.

Public relations specialist training is often on the job, with some public relations firms hiring new people and assigning them general tasks such as answering press calls, writing news releases and organizing company files.

What are the prospects for a career as a public relations specialist?

The prospects for those who are seeking jobs in public relations are expected to increase by 18% from 2006, resulting in 286,000 jobs by 2016. Entry-level public relations careers will be very competitive, with the ideal candidates possessing both a college degree and relevant work experience. (1) Click here for a list of programs to get your public relations degree online.

How much do public relations specialists make?

Entry-level public relations specialists at entry-level positions can expect to earn between $32,000 and $55,000 per year, with the average salary around $43,500. Advancement in this field is lucrative, with annual salaries going well beyond $100,000. (2)

A career in public relations is ideal for people who possess strong communication, problem-solving and creative skills. Specialists in public relations jobs should have an outgoing personality and enthusiasm for the job.

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