What Public Relations Specialists Do
Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent.
Public relations specialists usually work in offices. Some attend community activities or events. Long workdays are common, as is overtime.
How to Become a Public Relations Specialist
Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.
The median annual wage for public relations specialists was $61,150 in May 2019.
Employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The need for organizations to maintain their public image will continue to drive employment growth. Candidates can expect strong competition for jobs at advertising and public relations firms and organizations with large media exposure.
Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They craft media releases and develop social media programs to shape public perception of their organization and increase awareness of its work and goals.
Public relations specialists typically do the following:
- Write press releases and prepare information for the media
- Respond to information requests from the media
- Help clients communicate effectively with the public
- Help maintain their organization’s corporate image and identity
- Draft speeches and arrange interviews for an organization’s top executives
- Evaluate advertising and promotion programs to determine whether they are compatible with their organization’s public relations efforts
- Evaluate public opinion of clients through social media
Public relations specialists, also called communications specialists and media specialists, handle an organization’s communication with the public, including consumers, investors, reporters, and other media specialists. In government, public relations specialists may be called press secretaries. In this setting, workers keep the public informed about the activities of government officials and agencies.
Public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does concerning that issue.
Press releases are increasingly being sent through the Internet and social media, in addition to publication through traditional media outlets. Public relations specialists are often in charge of monitoring and responding to social media questions and concerns.
Public relations specialists are different from advertisers in that they get their stories covered by media instead of purchasing ad space in publications and on television.
Public relations specialists held about 274,600 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of public relations specialists were as follows:
|Educational services; state, local, and private||13%|
|Advertising, public relations, and related services||13|
|Business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations||8|
Public relations specialists usually work in offices, but they also deliver speeches, attend meetings and community activities, and occasionally travel.
Most public relations specialists work full time during regular business hours. Long workdays are common, as is overtime.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of public relations specialists.
For more information about public relations managers, including professional certification in public relations, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Public Relations Specialists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm (visited ).