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PR & Applied Communication Major

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PR & Applied Communication

3,063 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
580 Master's Degrees Annually
#22 in Popularity
$78,090 Median Salary

Types of Degrees PR & Applied Communication Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many public relations, advertising, and applied communication graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 3,063
Master’s Degree 580
Basic Certificate 20
Associate’s Degree 11
Graduate Certificate 2

What PR & Applied Communication Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, public relations, advertising, and applied communication majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication Majors

When studying public relations, advertising, and applied communication, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Abilities for Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication Majors

As a public relations, advertising, and applied communication major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

What Can You Do With a PR & Applied Communication Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with public relations, advertising, and applied communication:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Advertising and Promotions Managers 5.4% $117,130
Green Marketers 5.4% $117,130
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers 10.3% $114,800

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in PR & Applied Communication?

3,063 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
76% Percent Women
26% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major is dominated by women with about 76% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of public relations, advertising, and applied communication majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 57
Black or African American 308
Hispanic or Latino 321
White 2,121
International Students 83
Other Races/Ethnicities 173

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication, too. About 2.7% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do PR & Applied Communication Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $68,440 to $131,570 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a PR & Applied Communication Major  ( 68440 to 131570 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with public relations, advertising, and applied communication require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for public relations, advertising, and applied communication careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 1.6%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 2.6%
Some College Courses 5.4%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.1%
Bachelor’s Degree 59.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.1%
Master’s Degree 20.3%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.6%
Doctoral Degree 3.6%
Post-Doctoral Training 2.2%

Online PR & Applied Communication Programs

In 2018-2019, 152 schools offered a public relations, advertising, and applied communication program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 15 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 2 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 10 1
Bachelor’s Degree 6 2
Post-Baccalaureate 15 0
Master’s Degree 28 8
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in PR & Applied Communication Worth It?

The median salary for a public relations, advertising, and applied communication grad is $78,090 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 96% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $763,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to public relations, advertising, and applied communication.

Major Number of Grads
Public Relations 5,707
Advertising 5,571
General Organizational Communication 1,885
Other Public Relations, Advertising, & Applied Communication 1,866
Sports Communication 459
Health Communication 351
International & Intercultural Communication 293
Political Communication 198
Technical & Scientific Communication 150

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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