What is a Public Relations Manager?
It’s all about image. If you love to listen and learn about new products, initiatives or businesses and then find ways to communicate those things in a positive light to others, public relations may be the perfect field for you.
Public relations managers work with a variety of organizations to communicate many messages to different audiences. Once you learn how to become a public relations manager, you can select from a broad range of opportunities including publicizing products from a Fortune 500 company, promoting a nonprofit organization you love, or positioning a grass roots organization as an expert in the field.
Public relations managers require excellent communications skills, a love for working with a variety of people, and a knack for seeing the positive side of things. Being able to understand what a company wants to communicate and then being able to bring that message to the right audiences in an effective way is critical to being a good public relations manager.
The top five duties of a public relations manager include:
- Promoting a positive image of your employer or client.
- Managing and training public relations specialists.
- Designing, implementing and managing strategic communications plans.
- Coordinating team members, which may include other corporate professionals human resource and legal staff or outside partners such as graphic designers and ad agencies.
- Managing specific programs such as fundraising efforts for nonprofits, crisis communications programs, or advertising campaigns.
Public relations managers can work in a variety of settings. Large corporation may divide public relations duties by product area, geography or specialty. Smaller start-ups may have a single public relations manager who handles all aspects of PR for the organization.
Another common work-space for public relations managers is an agency setting. Public relations, marketing communications and advertising agencies may employ public relations managers. If you work in one of these settings, you would be managing one or more client accounts.
Most public relations managers work full-time with some overtime as needed. For instance, a major product launch or a crisis may require significant overtime for several months.
The average PR mangers salary is $114,800.
Top five skills needed:
According to Learn.org, key skills needed for public relations managers include interpersonal, writing, speaking, problem-solving, and organizational skills.
Public relations managers need to listen to executives, project managers or clients and understand what key messages need to be conveyed. Then, they need to process that information and translate it into a positive message that can be heard by the company’s audiences, influencers and stakeholders.
Press releases, marketing material and annual reports need to be written well to communicate messages. Even non-written communications materials such as speeches and videos need to begin with a written plan or script.
Some public relations managers serve as spokespeople for their organizations so they must be able to speak clearly, succinctly and in an engaging manner. Even if public speaking isn’t a direct skill needed, many will need to coach executives to speak on behalf of an organization.
Public relations managers may solve problems and create strategic communications plans for organizations. Understanding how to think about business goals and then apply communications tactics to achieving those goals is an important skill to develop.
Most public relations managers will be working with a team of specialists. They will need to train professionals, divide and manage team workloads, resolve conflicts, and ensure that overall goals are met.
Becoming a Public Relations Manager
Step 1: High School Requirements
High School Courses for Public Relations Managers
If you’re thinking about becoming a public relations manager, consider taking the following high school classes:
Taking a class in journalism will help you develop writing and communications skills. It will also help you understand how the media works so that you will learn how to give the media the types of stories they are interested in covering.
English or Composition
Any course that hones your writing and organization skills will be helpful in developing your communications skills. Classes that encourage reading and writing about different topics are important.
Getting over the fear of standing up in front of your classmates will be excellent training for future public relations managers. Once that fear is overcome, a public speaking class will teach you to say things efficiently and in an interesting manner that will capture and hold attention.
Formal Education Requirements
Public relations managers should consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, communications or a related field. A master’s degree can also be useful, particularly in learning the managerial aspects of a position. Most public relations management jobs require such a degree.
Higher education programs are typically offered through a university’s business or communications school. In some cases, the course work is completed in conjunction with a journalism, advertising or marketing program. Students will learn basic communications skills as well as creative, business and managerial skills that will be required in the field.
Many degree programs require completing multiple real-world projects that can be included in a student’s portfolio. Students may have the opportunity to produce written stories, news releases, marketing brochures, newsletters, videos or web site content.
In addition, college students have the opportunity to write for various campus publications, produce campus videos and apply public relations skills to support different campus organizations.
Some degree programs also provide internships with corporations and organizations so students can get hands-on experience in the field during their education. Undergraduate students in their senior year may also want to join a professional organization like the Public Relations Society of American, which will provide networking opportunities and ongoing career development assistance.
Step 2: Get an Undergraduate Degree
Bachelor Of Arts in Public Relations Degree Program 4 years
Most universities require a high school diploma and standardized test scores for admission. A course of study will combine general education courses with classes related to a public relations major. Roughly 40 credit hours within the school of journalism, communication or business are usually required. This can include core classes, professional courses, internships, study abroad, and independent study work. An additional 80 credit hours within liberal arts and sciences area are often required.
General Education Courses (45 Credits)
- Health and Physical Activity
- Natural Sciences
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Writing and Speaking
Major (64 Credits)
- Basic News Writing Skills
- Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy
- Introductory Psychology
- Elementary Statistics
- Writing for the Media
- Principles of Strategic Communications
- Strategic Communications Law
- Strategic Communications in a Global Environment
- Research and Analytics
- Social Media Strategies
- Corporate, Non-Profit, and Government Public Relations
- Media Relations
- Studies in Public Relations
- Law of Mass Communications
- Political Economy of Communications
- News Media Ethics
- Sports, Media and Society
- World Media Systems
- Foreign Language
The average cost of a bachelor of arts in public relations degree program is $15,240- $75,960.
If you consider of taking a bachelor of arts in public relations degree program click the link below and find the top programs close to you.
Step 3: Get a Graduate Degree (Optional)
Master of Science in Public Relations Degree Program 2 years
Master’s degree programs will require a bachelor’s degree. Programs can vary from earning a master’s in business administration, which will focus on the managerial aspects of a job, to an integrated marketing communications degree, which will focus on more complex aspects of marketing and communications work. Most programs require 30 to 35 credit hours in related courses such as brand equity, marketing analysis, visual design, digital storytelling and research.
General Education Courses (21 Credits)
- Communications Law, Ethics & Regulation
- Public Relations Writing Seminar I
- Public Relations Writing Seminar II
- Social Media: Objectives, Strategies, Tactics
- Research Process & Methodology
Core Courses (12 Credits)
- Theory, History & Practice of Public Relations
- Managing Media Relations
- Critical Business Skills for Corporate Communication
- Strategic Communications
Electives (15 Credits)
- Public Relations Consulting
- Public Relations in Non-Profit Organizations
- Public Relations Specialties
- Integrated Marketing
- Global Relations and Intercultural Communications
The average cost of a master of science in public relations degree program is $36,792- $68,749.
If you consider of taking a master of science in public relations degree program click the link below and find the top programs close to you.
Step 4: Get Certified
The Public Relations Society of America offers an APR designation, which stands for Accredited in Public Relations. Accredited members earn about 43 percent more than non-accredited members. Any PRSA member can take the exam, although the organization recommends having a bachelor’s degree five years of full-time experience before doing so. Applicants answer questions relating to research, planning, implementing and evaluating PR programs. The exam costs roughly $400 with retakes costing $200 when they are taken within six months.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Public Relations Manager and How Much Does it Cost?
Option 1 : Bachelor’s Degree
|Bachelor’s||4 years||$15,240- $75,960|
|Total||4 years||$15,640 -- $76,360|
Option 2 : Master’s Degree
|Bachelor’s||4 years||$15,240- $75,960|
|Master’s||2 years to 3 years||$36,792- $68,749|
|Total||6 years to 7 years||$52,432- $145,109|