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Your Career in Public Relations

If you love to write, are organized, like people and like to be busy, public relations may be a career for you.

ONU offers a major and minor in public relations. Learn more...

Job opportunities

Public relations practitioners work in all types of industries, including public and private companies, governmental agencies, for-profit and nonprofit agencies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment in the field is expected to grow by 24 percent between 2008 and 2018, but competition for entry-level jobs will be high.

Work environment
Work environments for public relations practitioners vary widely and may include:

  • Health care
  • Internal corporate relations
  • Government
  • Investor relations
  • Sports
  • Entertainment
  • Education
  • Nonprofits
  • Technology and social media

Jobs in this field
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Keen competition likely will continue for entry-level public relations jobs, as the number of qualified applicants is expected to exceed the number of job openings. Many people are attracted to this profession because of the high-profile nature of the work. Opportunities should be best for college graduates who combine a degree in journalism, public relations, or another communications-related field with a public relations internship or other related work experience. Applicants who do not have the appropriate educational background or work experience will face the toughest obstacles.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for salaried public relations specialists was $51,280 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,400 and $71,670; the lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,140, and the top 10 percent earned more than $97,910.

Resources – How to find out more
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Institute for Public Relations

Public Relations Society of America

Public Relations Student Society of America

Megan A. (May) James, BS '08, is communications coordinator for the Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) in Findlay. She says, “What I enjoy most about my job is being the outlet to share great news about my organization with the community. It is very rewarding to see an article in the paper or hear a news story on the radio about a benefit BVHS offers to the people in our area. I also love that I have a job where I can make a difference in my hometown. I am from this area and have always wanted to work close to home.”

In her job, James serves as the lead writer for all BVHS communication, including internal newsletters, intranets, the public website, digital message boards, newspaper inserts, advertising copy and support materials. She coordinates monthly health email newsletters and manages social media outlets. She also attends BVHS and community meetings as a representative of Blanchard Valley Health System, writes and distributes news releases to media, and manages media inquiries and pitches. She even helps with photography and event planning.

She explains, “A public relations practitioner helps build the image of an organization by telling the company’s story. They might share information about a new product or service, an award the organization earned, or an upcoming event. PR people use media like newspaper articles and television interviews, newsletters, brochures, Facebook and Twitter to share their messages. Public relations practitioners also often work with marketing people to create advertisements that share their messages as well.”

To be a public relations practitioner, you need to have excellent writing skills. James says, “In this field, you will write news releases, radio announcements and website copy and proofread often. You also need to have good organizational skills because part of your job may include planning events within your company or for the public. You should also like building relationships with others and speaking with new people because you may represent your company at a trade show or be asked to give a speech on behalf of your organization.”

James graduated from Cory-Rawson High School and studied public relations at Ohio Northern University. She says, “While at Ohio Northern, I was involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). I held various offices, including president, presented at national conferences and received numerous awards at the local, regional and national level. I especially enjoyed getting real hands-on experience through the ONU PRSSA working public relations firm. This, along with my internships, helped prepare me for my career.”

She also participated in three internships and made time to be involved in campus activities.