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Public Relations Major

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Public Relations

5,040 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
527 Master's Degrees Annually
#15 in Popularity
$78,090 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Public Relations Majors Are Getting

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

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 5,040
Master’s Degree 527
Undergraduate Certificate 74
Basic Certificate 43
Graduate Certificate 14
Associate’s Degree 9

What Public Relations Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to PR were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for PR 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 PR Majors

When studying PR, 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 PR Majors

A major in PR will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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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 Public Relations Major?

People with a PR degree often go into the following careers:

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 Public Relations?

5,040 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
80% Percent Women
26% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
The major attracts more women than men. About 80% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of PR majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of PR Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 136
Black or African American 404
Hispanic or Latino 594
White 3,525
International Students 105
Other Races/Ethnicities 276

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in PR. About 2.1% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Public Relations Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $68,440 to $131,570 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to PR. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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 Public Relations Major  ( 68440 to 131570 )
0K
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 PR 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 PR 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 Public Relations Programs

In 2018-2019, 193 schools offered a PR 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) 10 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 8 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 11 2
Bachelor’s Degree 10 1
Post-Baccalaureate 10 0
Master’s Degree 30 5
Post-Master’s 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Public Relations Worth It?

The median salary for a PR 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 PR.

Major Number of Grads
Advertising 5,571
Public Relations, Advertising, & Applied Communication 3,676
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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