Do You Need a Degree to Be a PR Specialist?

Public relations is a dynamic industry with many opportunities for different types of employment. Based upon the level of responsibility and knowledge required by the position, a person wishing to enter this field will usually require specialized training and a college education that results in a bachelor’s degree. Job seekers may also want to consider advanced college education at the graduate level of study.

Education Required for PR

It is rare to find a job in public relations that doesn’t require some education such as a bachelor’s degree. Individuals wishing to work as a PR specialist will need to consider attending college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in journalism or public relations. Related degrees that may be appropriate include political science or technical writing as well as creative writing and public affairs.

Advanced education beyond a bachelor’s degree is occasionally required of applicants, and it’s common for individuals working in PR to have a master’s degree in public relations or journalism. Although a master’s degree certainly isn’t required for employment, such study may allow a job applicant to bypass entry-level employment and apply for a job with greater responsibilities and higher income potential.

Vital Areas for Study

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that the most important areas for study for a person interested in work as a public relations specialist would include journalism, communications, public relations, and English. In addition, business classes offer immense value for individuals looking to work in public relations since many positions impact the health and welfare of a company.

Experience Required for PR

Like most industries, there are many levels of employment within public relations, however, most high ranking individuals have studied for years in the industry. It’s not uncommon for a PR specialist to require education and work experience to land an interview. A few years of experience are usually sufficient for lower level management while upper level managers usually need around a decade of work experience.

Official Certification

Job applicants may benefit greatly from the opportunity to join national or international associations directly connected to an industry. For individuals looking to work as a PR specialist, joining the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is a terrific option. Members have access to meetings across the country that offer valuable lessons in networking and communication strategies.

For any student studying public relations, the PRSA does offer student-level memberships with a low yearly membership fee. Local conferences and events are particularly valuable to public relations specialists who are just entering the post-college work force for the first time. In addition, obtaining credentials as an Accredited Business Communicator through the International Association of Business Communicators may also help a public relations specialist’s job hunt.

Finding employment within the public relations industry will always require some type of training, and job seekers benefit significantly from a bachelor’s degree in a field directly related to public relations such as journalism or business.