Public Relations Specialists: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business. Through such programs, students produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates their ability to prospective employers.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 9% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Median pay: How much do Public Relations Specialists make?
$58,020 Annual Salary
$27.89 per hour

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They craft media releases and develop social media programs to shape public perception of their organization and increase awareness of its work and goals.

What do Public Relations Specialists do?

Public relations specialists typically do the following:

  • Write press releases and prepare information for the media
  • Respond to information requests from the media
  • Help clients communicate effectively with the public
  • Help maintain their organization’s corporate image and identity
  • Draft speeches and arrange interviews for an organization’s top executives
  • Evaluate advertising and promotion programs to determine whether they are compatible with their organization’s public relations efforts
  • Evaluate public opinion of clients through social media

Public relations specialists, also called communications specialists and media specialists, handle an organization’s communication with the public, including consumers, investors, reporters, and other media specialists. In government, public relations specialists may be called press secretaries. In this setting, workers keep the public informed about the activities of government officials and agencies.

Public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does concerning that issue.

Press releases are increasingly being sent through the Internet and social media, in addition to publication through traditional media outlets. Public relations specialists are often in charge of monitoring and responding to social media questions and concerns.

Public relations specialists are different from advertisers in that they get their stories covered by media instead of purchasing ad space in publications and on television.

Careers for Public Relations Specialists

  • Environmental communications specialists
  • Image consultants
  • Information directors
  • Information specialists
  • Lobbyists
  • Media outreach specialists
  • Media planners
  • Media relations specialists
  • Media specialists
  • PR representatives
  • Press agents
  • Press secretaries
  • Promoters
  • Promotions specialists
  • Public affairs officers
  • Public affairs specialists
  • Public relations consultants
  • Public relations coordinators
  • Public relations counselors
  • Public relations officers
  • Public relations representatives
  • Publicists
  • Publicity agents
  • Publicity experts
  • Publicity writers

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