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Public Relations Specialists picture    Public Relations Specialists image

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists create and promote a positive image for their employer. They also protect the public image of a company, an organization or an individual. A public relations specialist may be given the task of clarifying a company's position on important issues to community groups or public interest groups. Public relations personnel work in virtually all industries.

Some common job titles are public affairs specialists, PR specialists, communications specialists, public information officer, public relations coordinator, public information specialists and corporate communications specialists.

Public relations specialists provide information to the public and organizations regarding their employer's policies and goals. Corporate public relations specialists are employed by companies to keep the public informed about their products and services. A PR specialists answers questions and directs information to groups including the general public, consumers and stockholders.

Public information and nonprofit public relations specialists work for hospitals, government agencies, welfare organizations, churches and other organizations. One of the main objectives is to keep the public aware of their services, activities and accomplishments.

PR specialists try to improve relations between management and employees. They prepare inter-office newsletters and communications which promote the company's image with company personnel.

Public information specialists are asked to arrange and oversee press conferences, speaking engagements, fund raising campaigns and meetings. In some companies, they may be asked to evaluate a sales promotion campaign to make sure the campaign is compatible with public relations activities and goals. They use various types of media to convey their message.

Responsibilities

  • Conduct interviews
  • Prepare material for events
  • Develop and maintain a company's image
  • Determine the most effective way to communicate with a specific group
  • Respond to requests for information about the status or activities of an employer
  • Write press releases
  • Assist managers with preparing speeches
  • Collaborate with others regarding promotional events, charity functions and business shows
  • Observe social and industry trends

Job Characteristics

PR specialists may have to travel in order to have meetings with special interest groups, clients, the public and other groups and individuals. Public relations personnel sometimes work with designers, printers, graphic artists and other media related workers.

It's vital that a public relations specialist has excellent written and oral communication skills. They need the skills to effectively deal with various types of people. Enthusiasm and charm are beneficial traits for a public relations specialist. They also need to be able to work effectively under pressure.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted an 18 percent employment growth for public relations specialists between 2006 and 2016. There should be growth in jobs at public relations firms due to companies using contractors to provide public relations services instead of employing a full-time staff. There is also demand for those that speak additional languages. In addition, the median annual earnings for public relations specialists in 2006 was $47,350.

A good way to begin a career in public relations is being involved with a nonprofit organization. The experience gained through a nonprofit organization will help public relations specialists get a job in private industries which usually have a higher pay scale.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Many public relations specialists hold a college degree in public relations, advertising, communications or journalism. Some employers seek candidates that have training or experience in a field that is related to the company's business such as healthcare, information technology, sales, science, finance or engineering.

Numerous colleges and universities provide bachelor's and postsecondary degrees in public relations. The programs are typically offered in a communications or journalism department. Many colleges assist students acquire part-time internships in public relations which provide valuable training and experience.

Being part of a local chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (affiliated with the Public Relations Society of America) or part of student chapters of the International Association of Business Communicators offer opportunities to meet public relations specialists and make professional contacts that can be useful when looking for a job in the field.

Some useful college courses are public affairs, public speaking, advertising, business administration, sociology, psychology, political science, graphic and audiovisual production, creative and technical writing, and journalism.

Some public relations personnel attend continuing education programs and seminars to stay up-to-date in the field. Professional recognition via accreditation may be useful in getting a job. Accreditation is provided by the Public Relations Society of America. Accreditation requires five years experience and passing an oral and written test. The International Association of Business Communicators also offers an accreditation program for public relations specialists.

Resources

Major Employers

The major job providers are private industry, service providing industries, colleges and universities, government agencies, public relations agencies and hospitals. Service providing industries such as professional, scientific and technical services; social assistance, educational services, finance and insurance; and healthcare are major employers for public relations specialists.

Schools for Public Relations Specialists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Public Relations Specialists

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Public Relations Specialists jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 590 $53,530
Birmingham 590 $53,530
Montgomery 350 $43,290
Huntsville 200 $67,230
Mobile 140 $40,270
Tuscaloosa 100 $46,210
Opelika 60 $50,650
Auburn 60 $50,650
Foley 40 $31,830
Daphne 40 $31,830
Fairhope 40 $31,830
Muscle Shoals 30 $32,120
Florence 30 $32,120
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 300 $59,110
Fairbanks 50 $62,290
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Mesa 2600 $55,590
Scottsdale 2600 $55,590
Phoenix 2600 $55,590
Tucson 390 $45,430
Flagstaff 60 $57,760
Yuma 40 $37,650
Prescott 40 $46,420
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 300 $51,490
North Little Rock 300 $51,490
Little Rock 300 $51,490
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Los Angeles 9340 $64,050
Long Beach 9340 $64,050
Anaheim 9340 $64,050
Oakland 6150 $74,000
San Francisco 6150 $74,000
Hayward 6150 $74,000
San Diego 2020 $62,490
Carlsbad 2020 $62,490
San Jose 1970 $84,870
Sunnyvale 1970 $84,870
Santa Clara 1970 $84,870
Sacramento 1680 $69,620
Roseville 1680 $69,620
Arcade 1680 $69,620
Arden 1680 $69,620
Ontario 910 $57,390
Riverside 910 $57,390
San Bernardino 910 $57,390
Thousand Oaks 450 N/A
Ventura 450 N/A
Oxnard 450 N/A
Fresno 270 $47,370
Santa Rosa 190 $55,050
Santa Maria 190 $65,360
Santa Barbara 190 $65,360
Bakersfield 150 $54,810
San Luis Obispo 120 $46,660
Paso Robles 120 $46,660
Arroyo Grande 120 $46,660
Salinas 120 $71,910
Napa 100 N/A
Lodi 100 $46,350
Stockton 100 $46,350
Watsonville 90 $60,410
Santa Cruz 90 $60,410
Vallejo 90 $67,810
Fairfield 90 $67,810
Visalia 70 $41,610
Porterville 70 $41,610
Modesto 70 $51,540
Redding 60 $54,490
Chico 50 $47,270
El Centro 40 $34,930
Merced 30 $63,580
Yuba City 30 $70,010
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 2650 $55,830
Denver 2650 $55,830
Lakewood 2650 $55,830
Colorado Springs 480 $50,690
Boulder 430 $43,960
Fort Collins 210 $43,530
Greeley 110 $62,320
Pueblo 60 $54,760
Grand Junction 50 $49,990
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 680 $73,310
West Hartford 680 $73,310
Hartford 680 $73,310
Bridgeport 390 $62,840
Stamford 390 $62,840
Norwalk 390 $62,840
New Haven 200 $67,180
Waterbury 30 $61,290
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 130 $46,450
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 3660 $57,390
Fort Lauderdale 3660 $57,390
Miami 3660 $57,390
Sanford 1790 $53,310
Kissimmee 1790 $53,310
Orlando 1790 $53,310
Tampa 1660 $53,530
Clearwater 1660 $53,530
St. Petersburg 1660 $53,530
Jacksonville 930 $51,770
Tallahassee 680 $58,760
Melbourne 360 $62,220
Palm Bay 360 $62,220
Titusville 360 $62,220
Cape Coral 260 $46,490
Fort Myers 260 $46,490
Gainesville 250 $57,210
Bradenton 200 $49,970
Sarasota 200 $49,970
North Port 200 $49,970
Deltona 170 $52,410
Ormond Beach 170 $52,410
Daytona Beach 170 $52,410
Immokalee 160 $56,170
Naples 160 $56,170
Marco Island 160 $56,170
Ferry Pass 150 $50,380
Brent 150 $50,380
Pensacola 150 $50,380
Port St. Lucie 150 $51,330
Winter Haven 140 $48,100
Lakeland 140 $48,100
Fort Walton Beach 100 $52,600
Destin 100 $52,600
Crestview 100 $52,600
Ocala 80 $32,170
Panama City 70 $42,490
Sebastian 30 $67,170
Vero Beach 30 $67,170
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sandy Springs 3770 $55,180
Atlanta 3770 $55,180
Roswell 3770 $55,180
Athens 110 $43,290
Clarke County 110 $43,290
Macon 100 $46,610
Savannah 80 $58,160
Albany 60 $48,880
Warner Robins 60 $67,160
Rome 30 $38,260
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 930 $53,710
Lahaina 100 $60,530
Wailuku 100 $60,530
Kahului 100 $60,530
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 310 $66,430
Idaho Falls 60 $72,750
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bloomington 240 $65,680
Peoria 210 $68,760
Champaign 140 $56,790
Urbana 140 $56,790
Springfield 90 $52,040
Rockford 60 $47,000
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 1380 $51,820
Carmel 1380 $51,820
Indianapolis 1380 $51,820
Bloomington 230 $58,050
Fort Wayne 140 $49,120
Lafayette 80 $44,610
West Lafayette 80 $44,610
Elkhart 60 $43,950
Goshen 60 $43,950
La Porte 40 $34,430
Michigan City 40 $34,430
Muncie 40 $49,640
Terre Haute 30 $34,450
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 620 $58,740
Des Moines 620 $58,740
Ames 200 $51,010
Iowa City 110 $50,480
Cedar Rapids 110 $53,850
Dubuque 50 $43,520
Cedar Falls 50 $52,670
Waterloo 50 $52,670
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Topeka 320 $48,870
Wichita 310 $48,490
Manhattan 120 $50,570
Lawrence 80 $48,700
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lexington 330 $50,010
Fayette 330 $50,010
Bowling Green 80 $41,930
Fort Knox 50 $71,100
Elizabethtown 50 $71,100
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baton Rouge 790 $43,750
New Orleans 410 $52,280
Metairie 410 $52,280
Bossier City 110 $46,730
Shreveport 110 $46,730
Lafayette 80 $36,940
Alexandria 40 $43,690
Monroe 30 $45,320
Hammond 30 $46,720
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Portland 480 $52,920
South Portland 480 $52,920
Bangor 160 $47,510
Auburn 60 $46,940
Lewiston 60 $46,940
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baltimore 1570 $57,570
Towson 1570 $57,570
Columbia 1570 $57,570
Lexington Park 30 $69,650
California 30 $69,650
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 120 $64,930
New Bedford 60 $49,920
Pittsfield 40 $48,170
Gardner 40 $53,320
Leominster 40 $53,320
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Warren 2380 $59,400
Dearborn 2380 $59,400
Detroit 2380 $59,400
Lansing 820 $59,350
East Lansing 820 $59,350
Grand Rapids 500 $51,090
Wyoming 500 $51,090
Ann Arbor 420 $58,030
Portage 210 $49,580
Kalamazoo 210 $49,580
Saginaw 90 $41,770
Niles 90 $58,720
Benton Harbor 90 $58,720
Flint 70 $54,400
Jackson 60 $55,810
Battle Creek 50 $56,180
Muskegon 30 $37,840
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Cloud 150 $50,410
Rochester 90 $46,020
Mankato 40 $49,200
North Mankato 40 $49,200
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 860 N/A
Pascagoula 130 $47,690
Gulfport 130 $47,690
Biloxi 130 $47,690
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 420 $43,090
Jefferson City 380 $53,110
Springfield 370 $41,730
Joplin 90 $47,720
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Missoula 160 $41,420
Billings 60 $52,590
Great Falls 40 $44,220
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 400 $49,250
Grand Island 40 $35,930
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 790 $54,210
Henderson 790 $54,210
Las Vegas 790 $54,210
Reno 320 $43,540
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 240 $56,730
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 570 $67,250
Hammonton 100 $46,270
Atlantic City 100 $46,270
Ocean City 50 $53,770
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 460 $54,040
Santa Fe 140 $55,030
Las Cruces 80 $43,250
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albany 1340 $50,660
Troy 1340 $50,660
Schenectady 1340 $50,660
Rochester 990 $50,440
Niagara Falls 600 $48,940
Buffalo 600 $48,940
Cheektowaga 600 $48,940
Syracuse 510 $46,950
Ithaca 170 $58,480
Binghamton 130 $44,730
Rome 110 $39,570
Utica 110 $39,570
Kingston 60 $42,240
Glens Falls 40 $38,920
Watertown 40 $46,530
Fort Drum 40 $46,530
Elmira 40 $48,190
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 1350 $58,000
Chapel Hill 820 $58,480
Durham 820 $58,480
Greensboro 270 N/A
High Point 270 N/A
Salem 220 $53,010
Winston 220 $53,010
Wilmington 200 $53,180
Asheville 170 $47,050
Greenville 80 $43,430
Fayetteville 80 $60,320
Hickory 60 $43,410
Lenoir 60 $43,410
Morganton 60 $43,410
New Bern 30 $57,770
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 160 $50,250
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 1900 $54,640
Cleveland 1280 $55,350
Elyria 1280 $55,350
Dayton 460 $52,970
Akron 450 $49,950
Toledo 390 $43,640
Canton 90 $43,990
Massillon 90 $43,990
Springfield 70 $58,450
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 1030 $44,020
Tulsa 490 $47,680
Lawton 50 $58,930
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 230 $78,560
Eugene 150 $52,240
Corvallis 110 $54,450
Bend 80 $38,670
Redmond 80 $38,670
Albany 40 $58,200
Medford N/A $49,710
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 1860 $51,030
Carlisle 970 $56,510
Harrisburg 970 $56,510
Lancaster 220 $43,050
Scranton 200 $51,130
Wilkes 200 $51,130
Hazleton 200 $51,130
Barre 200 $51,130
York 140 $47,480
Hanover 140 $47,480
State College 140 $50,050
Reading 120 $41,340
Erie 120 $55,440
Bloomsburg 90 $54,830
Berwick 90 $54,830
East Stroudsburg 70 $48,880
Altoona 50 $45,210
Williamsport 50 $48,590
Gettysburg 40 $42,920
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 1030 $28,330
Carolina 1030 $28,330
San Juan 1030 $28,330
Ponce 40 $21,890
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 600 $48,960
Mauldin 510 $44,490
Greenville 510 $44,490
Anderson 510 $44,490
North Charleston 240 $57,650
Charleston 240 $57,650
Spartanburg 110 $48,750
Beaufort 40 $39,950
Hilton Head Island 40 $39,950
Bluffton 40 $39,950
Florence 40 $82,820
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 350 $47,290
Rapid City 140 $42,910
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 960 $51,760
Murfreesboro 960 $51,760
Davidson 960 $51,760
Nashville 960 $51,760
Knoxville 370 $46,640
Johnson City 50 $51,050
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dallas 8220 $59,570
Fort Worth 8220 $59,570
Arlington 8220 $59,570
Houston 6290 $57,190
Sugar Land 6290 $57,190
The Woodlands 6290 $57,190
Round Rock 4210 $59,330
Austin 4210 $59,330
New Braunfels 2370 $56,910
San Antonio 2370 $56,910
El Paso 440 $48,980
Edinburg 370 $35,220
McAllen 370 $35,220
Mission 370 $35,220
Corpus Christi 300 $48,530
College Station 280 $55,380
Bryan 280 $55,380
Harlingen 240 $36,110
Brownsville 240 $36,110
Amarillo 240 $48,430
Temple 210 $52,660
Killeen 210 $52,660
Port Arthur 200 $45,200
Beaumont 200 $45,200
Waco 190 $42,630
Lubbock 180 $44,680
Tyler 160 $40,380
Abilene 150 $44,370
Midland 150 $53,450
Laredo 130 $44,570
Longview 120 $41,100
Denison 70 $56,130
Sherman 70 $56,130
Odessa 60 $42,500
San Angelo 60 $51,180
Wichita Falls 50 $44,320
Victoria 50 $48,650
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 1060 $56,230
Orem 220 $40,800
Provo 220 $40,800
Ogden 190 N/A
Clearfield 190 N/A
St. George 40 $35,730
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 480 $48,240
Burlington 480 $48,240
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 1090 $59,430
Charlottesville 240 $60,600
Christiansburg 160 $38,190
Radford 160 $38,190
Blacksburg 160 $38,190
Roanoke 160 $50,230
Lynchburg 80 $40,630
Staunton 50 $45,750
Waynesboro 50 $45,750
Harrisonburg 50 $50,270
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 3860 $66,500
Tacoma 3860 $66,500
Seattle 3860 $66,500
Olympia 510 N/A
Tumwater 510 N/A
Spokane 190 $51,640
Spokane Valley 190 $51,640
Kennewick 120 $80,360
Richland 120 $80,360
Bremerton 90 $58,720
Silverdale 90 $58,720
Bellingham 80 $49,200
Yakima 80 $57,870
Wenatchee 40 $46,460
Walla Walla 40 $52,800
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 120 $47,720
Morgantown 70 $46,170
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 1290 $53,050
Waukesha 1290 $53,050
Milwaukee 1290 $53,050
Madison 1060 $57,890
Green Bay 160 $55,040
Neenah 100 $53,700
Oshkosh 100 $53,700
Appleton 90 $58,020
Racine 60 N/A
Sheboygan 60 $47,160
Wausau 50 $41,310
Beloit 50 $49,550
Janesville 50 $49,550
Fond du Lac 50 $51,920
Eau Claire 40 $46,330
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne 110 $58,880
Casper 50 $57,460

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Public Relations Specialists

To find out more about building a career as Public Relations Specialists, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Public Relations Specialists

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 57,150 24% $56,730
Non-profit 40,540 17% $50,820
Education 23,110 9% $46,640
Government 19,740 8% $55,820
Business Management 9,600 4% $55,530
Social Service 7,520 3% $41,670
Office Services And Staffing 6,880 2% $50,910
Performing Arts And Sports 6,050 2% $41,900
Insurance 5,630 2% $52,510
Media And Broadcasting 5,070 2% $49,940
Banking And Credit 5,030 2% $50,170
Hospital 4,940 2% $50,400
Traditional Publishing 4,390 1% $52,480
Medical Office 4,320 1% $45,320
Nursing And Residential Care 3,400 1% $43,420
Real Estate 3,030 1% $45,060
Durable Goods Wholesale 3,010 1% $55,790
Non-durable Goods Wholesale 2,570 1% $55,940
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  • Located in Los Angeles, approximately 10 minutes away from LAX.
  • Flexible class schedules offered during day times, evenings and weekends.
  • Helping students start a career in technology within 3 - 9 months.
  • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
  • Military friendly school.
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Los Angeles
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Programs
  • A.S. in Marketing
  • B.S. in Marketing
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Public Relations Specialists.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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