Public Relations Degree: Is It Right For You?

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If you’re interested in pursuing a degree that will give you an opportunity to work in many different jobs and career paths, then consider exploring public relations. Public relations is a good fit for someone who is interested in working with people, businesses, and the media, while learning how to perfect their communications and organizational skills.


But is a public relations degree right for you? Let’s find out!



What Is A Public Relations Degree?

A public relations degree will give you the opportunity to work in any field related to public relations. If you are interested in communications, connecting with audiences, writing, media, and essentially, creating exposure for your clients, then a career in PR may be the way to go.


Public relations may seem similar to advertising and marketing, but PR is more of being an actual spokesperson — where you get the message out through your own skills and connections — without having to spend money on ads. It’s a way to manage a company or client’s reputation and involves interactions with stakeholders and people who can spread the word.


In this degree, you’ll take courses on various components of PR, from public relations writing, to multimedia writing, reporting, audience analysis, and international public relations, etc.



What Kind Of Public Relations Degree Should I Get?

There are many different paths you can take if you’re interested in pursuing a public relations degree. Although you can always make a pivot in the future, if you’re certain about wanting to get into a specific area of public relations, then it will be helpful to figure out what types of degrees are out there that you can choose from within this industry.



Best Public Relations Degrees

In higher education, you can choose to go for a two-year associate degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a PhD.


Typically, to land a decent job in PR, a bachelor’s degree in public relations will be an excellent place to start, and earning that degree is a good goal to have. This degree will provide you with the skills, knowledge, and experience to make you a strong candidate in this field. And, if you’d like, you can always continue your education, or specialize in a certain area of public relations as you earn your degree.



Common Specializations For A Public Relations Degree

Sometimes, a specialization of a bachelor’s degree in communications could be public relations.


Otherwise, if you choose a degree in public relations, then you can take on specializations to support that degree. Some common specializations for a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in public relations are:

  • Marketing and advertising writing
  • Business and marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Strategic communications
  • Communications management
  • International relations
  • Non-profit management
  • Digital marketing
  • Audience research
  • Media relations management
  • Administration


Earn Professional Certifications In Public Relations Online

Because PR is such a highly desirable role right now with the growth of technology, media, and start-up companies, a lot of businesses are looking to hire competent people based on a person’s specific skill-set and willingness to learn and work hard. One way to do this is to seek out a certification in a specific area of public relations online.


For instance, there are plenty of digital marketing programs, such as a course in social media marketing, PR writing, etc. The great thing about these certification programs is that many of them are online, so you can study when it’s convenient for you. However, many of these certification courses can be cost-prohibitive.


Therefore, if you’re interested in taking the online route for your education because you simply don’t have the time or resources to pursue a degree in public relations in person, then consider earning your degree through University of the People which is flexibly online and tuition-free.



A display of newspapers at a newsstand
Image by MichaelGaida from Pixabay



What Can You Do With A Public Relations Degree?

With a public relations degree, there are many exciting career paths you can get into and jobs you can explore while you figure out which aspect of the industry you’d like to be in. Some PR people may work in the entertainment industry, being a publicist for a major celebrity. Or, you could work for a business who is looking to get the word out about recent changes to their current customers.


You could even work with hospitals, universities, nonprofits, and government agencies, to represent their network and who they are.



Job Prospects For Public Relations Degree Holders

As someone with a degree in public relations, you’ll likely find a whole list of jobs in marketing, advertising, media, hospitality and events management. Some examples of specific job roles are:

  • Public relations specialist
  • Public relations manager
  • Social media specialist
  • Campaign manager
  • Marketing coordinator
  • Advertising account executive
  • Event manager
  • Marketing executive
  • Media researcher
  • Personal assistant
  • Politician’s assistant
  • Press release writer


Who Hires People With A Public Relations Degree?

  • Arts (Artists, musicians, actors)
  • Beauty companies
  • Brands
  • Car companies
  • Charity
  • Corporations
  • Entertainment
  • Event organizers
  • Fashion companies
  • Marketing agencies
  • Nonprofits
  • Political groups
  • Public services
  • Sports teams


How Much Money Can You Earn With A Public Relations Degree?

A major aspect of deciding which degree to get has to do with how much money you can expect to make with said degree. Students who invest the time, energy, and money into a degree (unless the program is tuition-free like at UoPeople!) want to know what their future is going to look like financially and in terms of job stability.


According to the United States Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS), a Public Relations Specialist made a median salary of $61,150 in 2019. Of course, depending on where you work, live, the type of job you hold in PR, your level of education, and your willingness to grow in the field, you can have the potential to earn much more.



Woman being interviewed on camera
Image by Pexels from Pixabay



What Are The Requirements Of A Public Relations Degree?

In order to earn your bachelor’s degree in public relations, you’ll have to meet the requirements for this major. Though college is a place to learn new skills, it’s a good idea to be prepared for the types of courses you’re going to take, to see if your current skills and interests line up with it.


Some desirable skills for a PR degree are:

  • Technology skills
  • Event and planning skills
  • Project management skills
  • Media skills
  • Organization skills
  • People skills

In addition to having these skills (or a knack to learn these skills), when you begin pursuing this degree, you’ll have to first earn the general education or core credits. This will usually take one or two years.


After this, you will start taking courses in PR and communication principles, which include topics and coursework in media, writing, broadcasting, social media, and strategic communications and planning, just to name a few. You can also concentrate on one aspect of PR with a minor or certificate, as mentioned above.



Relevant Work Experience

When it comes time to enter the workforce, a degree in public relations will definitely make a strong candidate. This is why you may want to consider getting an internship while you’re in school, so you can get some true, hands-on work experience. You may also want to consider freelancing, opportunities that will allow you to connect with others, as well as dabbling into other sides of PR perhaps by helping a friend with their start-up so you can start building your portfolio when it’s time to start the job search.



Is A Public Relations Degree Right For You?

So, is a public relations degree right for you? Even though there are many different directions you can go with this degree, it’s not right for everyone. To find the answer, begin asking yourself some questions?

  • “Do I have skills that would be a good fit for a career in PR?”
  • “Do I know someone who works in PR that I could talk to?”
  • “Is public relations a growing field with a promising salary?”

And, finally, if you decide that a public relations degree is a good fit, you’ll need to then find out “Where can I get a public relations degree?” and “Can I afford to get my degree in public relations?”


If you’re interested in entering a career in public relations, then consider getting your business administration degree at University of the People. A business administration degree is a broad, all-encompassing degree in this field, which will still allow you to pursue PR along with other jobs within the business realm. Best of all, if you’re concerned about how you’ll be able to afford this degree, UoPeople is tuition-free, accredited, and 100% online — so you can earn your degree no matter where you are.