Public Relations, a Career for the Future

According to the US Labor Department, employment of PR specialists between 2008 and 2018 is expected to increase by more than 66,000 jobs, or 24 percent. 

The PR profession is also one of the top 50 to consider, according to USNews Money’s Best Careers 2011, along with accountant, actuary, financial adviser, financial analyst, logistician, meeting planner, sales manager, training specialist, commercial pilot, curator, film and video editor, gaming manager, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technician, interpreter/translator, multimedia artist, technical writer, athletic trainer, dental hygienist, lab technician, massage therapist, occupational therapist, optometrist, physician assistant, physical therapist, physical therapist assistant, radiologic technologist, registered nurse, school psychologist, veterinarian, clergy, court reporter, education administrator, emergency management specialist, firefighter, marriage and family therapist, mediator, medical and public health social worker, special-education teacher, urban planner, biomedical engineer, civil engineer, computer software engineer, computer support specialist, computer systems analyst, environmental engineering technician, environmental science technician, hydrologist, meteorologist, and network architect.

A long list of professions, many of which require specific education. Things are easier for PRs, who can come from almost any line of work. Typically, PRs have bachelor’s degrees in communications, journalism, and public relations, but depending on the industry needing them, they can also come from other relevant fields.
Money-wise, according to USNews, in the US median annual earnings for PR specialists last year were about $51,960. The lowest-paid 10 percent made less than $30,520 and the highest-paid 10 percent made upwards of $96,000. These statistics refer to employed PRs and not to PR company-owners and the like.
As one of the 50 Best Careers of 2011, the PR profession is however not an easy one. Meg Handley of USNews Money is not wrong when describing it as a rather stress-filled profession:
It’s tough to spot the next curveball, if you’re, say, a company spokesperson. Even if you’re writing press releases, you can face tight deadlines. Your schedule can be up in the air quite a bit, which is stressful for many people.
If you look back to some of the most recent examples of PR fiasco, this high stress level becomes apparent. But it usually affects the inexperienced. A PR specialist who knows all the subtleties of the game cannot be broken that easily. A person who finds this job too stressful, is often a liability for the customer, and for the company that hired him/her.
So before opting for this career path, think carefully: do you have what it takes? Are you a good communicator, do you understand the media, do you like working with people, and most importantly, can you listen?

About the Author

author photoMihaela Lica is senior partner at Pamil Visions PR and editor at Everything PR. She is a widely cited authority on search engine optimization and public relations issues (BBC News, Force for Good, Reuters, Al Jazeera and others), with an experience of over 8 years in online PR. Mihaela writes occasionally for SitePoint, Search Engine Journal, and other online publications. Follow Mig on Twitter or send her an email at mig [at] pamil-visions [dot] com.

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