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Public Relations Degree Salary & Jobs Outlook | Masters vs Bachelors
Earning a degree in public relations offers professionals the opportunity to excel in many desirable careers and earn a good salary. With solid public relations skills, it is possible to work as the public face of many organizations in industries that vary from private to public to nonprofits. Public relations professionals are frequently the cornerstones of these organizations and how they relate to the public.
The level of salary that you can earn with a public relations degree will depend upon several factors:
- Whether you earn a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in public relations
- The type of public relations career path you choose
- Your years of experience in public relations
- The industry in which you work
Level of Public Relations Degree
The first important factor for your salary level with a public relations degree is the level of the degree. Research has shown over time that obtaining a master’s degree can net you a higher salary for most of your career. A Georgetown University study from 2015 determined that the average salary for a bachelor’s degree holder was $61,000 and was $78,000 for a master’s degree holder. This is a salary increase of $17,000.
Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS has found that the median salary for workers with a master’s degree in 2013 was $68,000 and $56,000 for those with a bachelor’s degree.
Payscale.com also reports that the average salary for public relations professionals with a bachelor’s degree is as follows for these jobs:
- Marketing coordinator: $40,300
- Marketing manager: $54,800
- Marketing specialist: $46,800
- Account coordinator: $33,500
For a master’s degree, these are the average salaries according to Payscale.com:
- Marketing manager: $61,000
- Communications manager: $77,400
- Marketing coordinator: $44,400
- Public relations manager: $58,300
- Marketing communications manager: $60,200
Salary.com reports that the average salary for a public relations manager with a bachelor’s degree is $101,000, and with a master’s degree it is $105,000.
Interested in a Public Relations Degree? Follow These Job Tips
If you are interested in a public relations career, getting a public relations degree is a good first step. But you can also make your career thrive with these pointers:
- Personality matters: You do not have to know everything about public relations when you first start in the field. But when you get a job in the field, the company will want to see that you are enthusiastic, ready to learn and smart. This means that you should have a dynamic personality and be able to communicate effectively. These traits will always help you, but they are really important when you do not have as much experience and knowledge. If your boss cannot imagine you making a phone call with a reporter or talking effectively with a client, it can be hard to do well in this career.
- Get an internship: Many people who hire public relations professionals report they will usually choose people who have relevant internship experience. School will teach you a great deal, but there is nothing more important in PR than on the job experience. Being successful in PR requires you to be able to multitask and to be able to think on your feet. Having a track record in these areas from internship experience means a lot.
- Other degrees can work: Having a public relations degree is important, but it it possible to be successful in PR with a marketing degree, English degree or even an economics background.
- Be ready for the interview: If you want to get a public relations job, you should come to the interview ready. Do homework about the company you are interviewing for so that you can ask intelligent questions, and be able to sell the interviewer on your strengths.
Types of Public Relations Career
A major factor in your compensation level is the type of occupation that you choose in the PR field. There are many jobs that have something to do with public relations, and the salary will vary quite a bit based upon your choice. Below are some common jobs and salaries that you can have with this degree.
Public relations specialist
A public relations specialist is responsible for creating and maintaining a favorable public image for the entity or person they represent. They are responsible for designing press releases and social media campaigns to provide a positive public perception of the entity or person. They also are in charge of increasing awareness of the person, entity or goals of the company. These professionals may also be referred to as communications specialists or media specialists, and generally handle the communications with the public, such as consumers, investors, reporters and other stakeholders.
The median salary for public relations specialists in 2016 was $58,000 with a range of $32,000 to $110,500.
Public relations and fundraising manager
A public relations manager is responsible for planning and directing the creation of materials that maintain or boost the image of the client or employer. Fundraising managers are responsible for coordinating campaigns that bring in donations to various types of organizations.
Public relations managers are in charge of clarifying the point of view for their organization, typically done through interviews and press releases. In a larger company the PR manager may be the supervisor for several PR specialists. They also will work closely with marketing and promotions managers to ensure that ad and social media campaigns are related to the image that they want to give to the public.
Fundraising managers are largely in charge of the types of fundraising campaigns are used to raise money. Some of the most common methods today include annual campaign drives, capital campaigns, planned giving and making cold calls for major financial gifts. Social media also has led to many new paths for raising money that fundraising managers need to be able to take advantage of.
BLS reports the median salary for PR and fundraising managers was $107,300 in 2016, with a range between $59,000 and $205,000.
Other related professionals and their salaries in the PR field include:
- Advertising sales agents: Sell advertising to individuals and businesses. Responsible for contacting potential clients, making sales pitches and maintaining accounts for clients: $50,300.
- Advertising, promotions and marketing managers: Plan promotions and programs to increase interest in a variety of products and services. They often work closely with sales agents, art directors and finance professionals: $127,500.
- Corporate communications manager: In charge of management of the communication efforts of a company. Must review and approve statements by the organization and develop partnerships with other organizations to further the objectives of the company: $77,300.
- Market research analysts: Study the conditions of the market to determine what the possible sales of a new product or service could be. They assist companies in learning the type of products that people want and the price they are able to pay: $62,500.
As with most occupations, the level of experience you have in public relations will influence your salary level. For example, Payscale.com reports that a public relations manager will have a $51,000 average salary with less than five years of experience. With 5-10 years of experience, this salary will be at an average of $68,000, and for 10-20 years of experience, the salary level is $76,000. However, for professionals with more than 20 years of experience, the average salary falls to $75,000.
For a public relations specialist, the average salary for five years of experience is $42,000, and $53,000 with 5-10 years of experience. For those with 10-20 years of experience, the average salary is $58,000, and for more than 20 years, the salary is $60,000.
The last major factor that can determine your salary level in public relations is the industry in which you work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can have these types of salaries for public relations and fundraising managers based upon industry or sector:
- Professional, scientific and technical services: $133,700
- Management of enterprises and companies: $125,900
- Educational services: $100,000
- Religious organization: $99,200
For public relation specialists, the salary level by industry is as follows:
- Government: $62,400
- Business, labor, political and professional organizations: $60,200
- Advertising, PR and related organizations: $59,400
- Educational services: $53,800
Also keep in mind in the PR world that there are agency positions and in house positions. This can lead to different salaries. For example, here are some PR agency position salary ranges based upon information from Paradigm Staffing:
- Account coordinator: $35,000 to $45,000
- Account executive: $45,000 to $58,000
- Senior account executive: $52,000 to $70,000
- Account director: $80,000 to $120,000
- VP: $100,000 to $150,000
On the other hand, in house PR positions tend to have slightly higher salaries, especially when you first start out:
- PR specialist: $40,000 to $65,000
- PR manager: $65,000 to $120,000
- VP: $140,000 to $195,000
With a public relations degree, you will have ample opportunity to earn an a solid living, and can earn a high salary if you follow the tips provided above.
Learn More on BusinessStudent.com
- Best Communications Degrees
- Best Jobs with a Communications Degree
- Should I Get a Master’s Degree? (2015). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm
- 5 Tips for Breaking Into the Public Relations Industry. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/digital/5-tips-for-breaking-into-the-public-relations-industry/
- Public Relations Manager. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm#tab-2
- Public Relations Salaries: Know Your Market Value. (2014). Retrieved from https://hoojobs.com/blog/job-advice/public-relations-salaries-know-your-market-value/
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Frequently Asked Questions About public relations salary with master’s degree
If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic public relations salary with master’s degree, then this section may help you solve it.
Are PR majors paid well?
The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation made more than that amount and half made less. The median annual wage for public relations specialists was 2,800 in May 2021.
What can a PR master’s degree be used for?
Public relations specialists may hold titles like communications coordinator, manager, and director, as well as titles like event coordinator, digital strategist, social media manager, public affairs coordinator, crisis management specialist, corporate spokesperson, and public…
Do you earn more money if you have a master’s degree?
The median income for master’s degree holders is 7,844 per year, and the unemployment rate is 2%, so there is a 20% increase in earnings from bachelor’s to master’s level.
What kind of master’s degree in public relations should I pursue?
Some employers demand a master’s in public relations, communications, or business. Other acceptable degrees include journalism and nonprofit management. Public relations managers need at least a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience as a public relations specialist.
Is PR the job with the most stress?
PR professionals rank among the top 10 most stressful jobs in America, according to CareerCast’s 2019 list. Pressures like deadlines and client expectations can feel overwhelming at times, and today’s always-on business environment can make it especially challenging to relax.
A stable career in PR?
Public relations (PR) can be an exciting, rewarding career that pays well and is always in demand. In fact, PR professionals are rated #3 in Best Creative and Media Jobs.br> br> It’s a perfect career choice for those who have good communication skills, as well as an analytical mind.
Which master’s earns the highest salary?
Some of the highest paying master’s degrees are in nursing and computer science, but psychologists, economists, and mathematicians rank highly too. A master’s degree is one of the most prestigious educational degrees available in the U.S., and can lead to a well-paying career in one of several industries.
Does it pay to pursue a career in public relations?
You’ll learn a variety of skills while pursuing a public relations degree that will make you very appealing to employers, and it may be the stepping stone you need to get a strong start on the career ladder once you graduate.
Is it challenging to break into the PR industry?
While English, journalism, and communications majors frequently make the transition to public relations, if you know you want to work in public relations, you’re better off enrolling in a more focused public relations degree program.
Is working in public relations stressful?
However, due to the nature of the job and the fact that PR professionals have to build relationships with the public, deal with clients who frequently have high expectations, and work in a field that few people are familiar with, public relations stands out among other professions as one of the most stressful.
Does math have a place in public relations?
Almost no math is required for jobs in writing, publishing, public relations, advertising, and communications.
Is public relations work from 9 to 5?
If you can swivel quickly to connect a reporter with a source for a breaking news event and are okay with being interrupted during your favorite prime-time TV show, you’ll excel in public relations. PR is not a 9-to-5 job, especially if you work on digital campaigns; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat run 24/7.
What role has the most authority in public relations?
A senior management position known as “public relations officer” or “head of PR” oversees a team of public relations professionals and is in charge of developing public relations plans and handling CEO media relations.
What is the length of a PR degree?
A public relations bachelor’s degree typically requires four years to complete.
Is public relations a hard job?
It won’t be easy, but if you’re willing to jump in and make mistakes, there won’t be a shortage of opportunities for you if you’re willing to develop your communication skills, work in a fast-paced, constantly-changing environment, and learn new things every day.