As technology changes the way we communicate, a master's in public relations online can prepare public relations professionals to compete in this fast-paced field, increase their salary potential, and advance to managerial positions. Earning a public relations degree online gives students the chance to attend classes without commuting to campus: With just a computer and an internet connection, students can receive the full academic experience. Learners can attend classes, participate in discussions, and access all of their assignments from the comfort of their home. Moreover, the flexibility and accessibility of online classes can help students with significant personal responsibilities that make regular trips to campus difficult, like childcare obligations or a full-time career.
Graduates of a master's in public relations degree are prepared for a variety of careers, including work as event coordinators, press secretaries, and marketing managers. Public relations professionals are in high demand in government and communications fields; nearly every industry and organization requires individuals with strong written and oral skills to effectively communicate their message to the public. Our guide below outlines what you can expect when earning your master's in public relations online degree.
Salaries for graduates of a master's in public relations online can vary considerably, and are usually based on one's education, years of experience, and where they live. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the national annual mean wage for a public relations specialist is $59,300, though this figure is much higher in states like Virginia, which pays public relations specialists an average $78,980. Additionally, PayScale estimates that professionals with up to five years of work experience earn approximately $46,000 a year, while a public relations specialists with 20 years or more of experience can earn over $78,000 a year. For a more detailed breakdown of the top paying states, see the chart below.
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||17,350||$102,790|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
A public relations master's degree online degree prepares graduates for a variety of entry-level and mid-level careers. The precise job an individual secures may depend on their interests, strengths, and personality. For example, an outgoing individual who enjoys networking may be a good fit as a public relations and fundraising manager, while a more data-minded person may excel in market research analysis. Below is a list of the common career paths for graduates of an online public relations master's degree.
Annual Median Salary: $59,300
Projected Growth Rate: 9%
Public relations specialists work on behalf of individuals or companies to write press releases, coordinate interviews, and manage their public image. Public relations specialists also establish or improve their client's social media presence. This entry-level position requires a bachelor's degree in public relations, communications, or journalism.
Annual Median Salary: $111,280
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
Public relations and fundraising managers write press releases, manage communications, and work on specific campaigns to bring in donations. These individuals generally work in offices, although travel may be required. Many employers require a minimum of a bachelor's degree, though a master's degree may be necessary, as this position often supervises a staff.
Annual Median Salary: $129,380
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers primarily work for ad agencies or corporations. They create marketing campaigns to generate buzz about products and services, and may coordinate ad campaigns or promotions campaigns like giveaways and contests. They meet with clients to understand their needs and are usually responsible for managing a staff. The position requires a bachelor's degree and relevant work experience.
Annual Median Salary: $49,680
Projected Growth Rate: -4%
Advertising sales agents work for ad agencies, newspapers, radio, and TV. This is a high-pressure position in which individuals must meet monthly or quarterly sales quotas. They also work directly with clients to provide price quotes and format video, print, or audio advertisements. Part of an ad sales agent's duties may also include drafting contracts and analyzing sales data to stay current on industry trends.
Annual Median Salary: $63,230
Projected Growth Rate: 23%
Most market research analysts hold a bachelor's degree, but some may have a master's degree. They work for consulting firms, in finance and insurance, publishing, wholesale, and for management companies. Market research analysts keep abreast of industry trends and use software to analyze marketing programs. They also gather data to help their clients maximize their marketing outreach.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statstics
The requirements to complete a master's in public relations online usually vary by program. The length, required coursework, capstone project, and faculty expertise can all play a role in determining the quality and fit of your online degree. However, most programs feature some common core coursework, including those listed below.
Most careers in public relations require individuals to possess strong writing skills. This course introduces students to educational, persuasive, and informative writing styles. Students also cover AP style guidelines.
Students in this course develop quantitative and qualitative research skills to work as market research analysts. They also learn to properly use surveys, interviews, statistics, and other data.
A course in crisis communications trains individuals to manage a brand's image and reputation in the face of a public crisis. The curriculum introduces ways to anticipate and bounce back from a public relations crisis, and gives students the tools to maintain an organization's reputation in order to safeguard its assets. Graduates may be prepared for roles as a crisis management agent.
A personal branding course prepares graduates to maximize a personal brand for companies or individuals. Students create research plans to better understand a brand and boost brand identity. The course also touches on personal branding through social media. Graduates can leverage these skills to work as public relations specialists.
Students develop the tools to present their ideas to clients and pitch stories to the media. A core focus of the course is public speaking, as numerous assignments require presentations in front of the class. Graduates are prepared for careers in as a media public relations specialist or a media relations manager.
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