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Public Relations

Public relations specialists handle organizational functions such as media, community, consumer, industry, and governmental relations; political campaigns; interest-group representation; conflict mediation; and employee and investor relations. They do more than “tell the organization's story.” They must understand the attitudes and concerns of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups and establish and maintain cooperative relationships with them and with representatives from print and broadcast journalism.

Hours: Public relations specialists work in busy offices. The pressures of deadlines and tight work schedules can be stressful. Some public relations specialists work a standard 35- to 40-hour week, but unpaid overtime is common and work schedules can be irregular and frequently interrupted.

Opportunities: They are concentrated in service-providing industries such as advertising and related services; health care and social assistance; educational services; and government. Others work for communications firms, financial institutions, and government agencies.

Pay: Median annual earnings for salaried public relations specialists were $47,350 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $35,600 and $65,310; the lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,080, and the top 10 percent earned more than $89,220.

Training: There are no defined standards for entry into a public relations career. A college degree in a communications-related field combined with public relations experience is excellent preparation for public relations work.

Citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition , Public Relations Specialists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos086.htm (visited July 22, 2009 ).

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