Public Relations Degree

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What is Public Relations?

Public relations is the area of work that deals with the perception of an individual, organization, product or company  with the intent to remove negative publicity and endorse positive exposure. Individuals will be responsible for creating events, press releases, contacting news agencies and acting as liaison between the client and the public. Individuals in this field may work for a firm, work for a single client in house, or maintain a client list.

Top Public Relations Degrees

Public relations impact virtually every aspect of your life.  Earning a degree in public relations will help uncover all the subtle and overt ways public relations permeates society.  Online degrees in public relations can be found from several accredited colleges and universities around the country.  The primary degrees in PR include a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.  A summary of both programs can be found below to help you make a great decision for your future.

Public Relations Bachelor's Degrees

Online bachelor degrees can be conferred as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS).  Bachelor degrees are 4-year programs for full-time students and longer for students matriculating on a part-time basis.  A bachelor’s degree blends liberal arts classes with core business classes to provide students with integrative thinking skills and a well-rounded education.  Liberal arts classes will generally include communications, history, statistics, art, psychology, and creative writing.

Core business classes in public relations will vary by school and programmatic design.  However, a student will typically an array of classes to bolster their communication and technical prowess.  Classes will generally include the following: advertising basics, marketing, marketing research, consumer behavior, international marketing, business communications, media writing, visual literacy, organizational management, organizational ethics, and project management.

Public Relations Master's Degrees

Online master degrees in public relations provide students with essential tools for today’s business professionals.  Master degrees can be conferred as either a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS).  Graduate degrees in PR will take about 2-years of full-time matriculation to complete with part-time students taking longer as a function of course load.

Coursework is rooted in real-world communication theories and practices to help craft compelling messages that are on-point for local, regional, or national audiences.  A series of academic theories and case studies help prepare students to develop, create, execute, and measure effective integrative communication campaigns.  With a public relations degree in hand, students pursue a wide variety of careers in a variety of industries.

Career tracks can include the following job types: marketing, advertising, corporate communications, copywriting, social media, editing, training development, reporting, media management, employee relations, nonprofit communication director, speechwriting, and organizational development.

Public Relations Requirements

Individuals studying public relations will be able to pursue a degree starting at the bachelor degree level. Much of the education is taught in conjunction with business, and utilizes facets of marketing and advertising as part of its curriculum. Individuals will study how the flow information, and control of it, can affect public perception, and how to utilize a variety of methods in order to disburse the desired information in order to achieve maximum effect.

Modern programs will include mass media and internet components in the curriculum as the primary sources for information.  A curriculum in public relations may include:

  • Modern Mediums
  • Event Planning
  • Business Relations
  • Psychology
  • Mass Communication

Employment Growth in Public Relations

Individuals in this field will seek employment with a single client, firm or eventually have their own client list as a private business. Individuals will generally work under managers in order to assist varying clients of a firm to ensure that needs are met and relations maintained.

Job growth is expected to increase rapidly over the next decade as the demands of public relations changes and trained individuals with an understanding of technology and modern mediums of dissemination come into higher demand. Combined with the retiring individuals, or those who change professions, job opportunities in the field should be plentiful in the coming years.

Public Relations Salary & Career Overview

The average salary for a public relations employee is near $91,000 annually, with the lowest ten percent earning less than $49,000 per year. Individuals will earn higher pay based on success and performance, with movement into management or developing  private firm typically earning more through the establishment of higher pay rates.

Public Relations Resources

Individuals interested in public relations may also consider a career in advertising, organizational leadership, organizational psychology, or political communication.  Organizations such as the PRSA and the IPRA provide unique benefits to PR professionals around the country.  PR majors serious about making an impact may choose to join such organizations and become involved in mentoring others in the field.

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Related Areas of Study

Career Summary: Public relations Major




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