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Online Education (bachelor Degree In Public Relations)By Expert Author: John Srob
Bachelor of Science in Public Relations
A bachelor's degree program in public relations teaches students to create successful business relationships with companies, nonprofit organizations and foundations, local or regional communities and related business organizations. Students learn how to write press releases, handle internal and external business conflicts and create marketable and cohesive company images. A 4-year public relations program also provides broad business coursework that can be applied to various industries.
To enroll in a public relations bachelor's degree program, students must have a high school diploma. Students must also submit official transcripts with SAT or ACT test scores. Some programs may have additional requirements, like letters of recommendation or personal statements.
Most PR bachelor's degree programs combine business, communications, marketing and promotion courses. Written and verbal communication is an integral part of public relations, so many courses focus on technical aspects of speech writing, public speaking and business documents. Common courses include:
· Mass communications
· Drafting press releases
· Marketing and promotion strategies
· Business communication
· Advanced copywriting
· Strategic planning concepts
Employment Outlook and Career Information
A bachelor's degree in public relations qualifies students for many entry-level PR positions. Students can seek job opportunities as PR specialists, representatives, campaign managers or PR coordinators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov, there were more than 240,000 public relation specialist jobs in 2006. The BLS expects the number of PR positions to increase by 18% to 286,000 job opportunities between 2006 and 2016.
The BLS reports that the median annual salary for PR specialists was $47,350 in 2006. Public relations specialists with private businesses and companies earned the highest salaries, averaging $52,940 in 2006. Public relation specialists with colleges and universities earned the lowest average salaries with $43,330 in 2006.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
With a bachelor's degree in public relations, professionals can seek voluntary PR certification and accreditation through groups like the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). The Public Relations Society of America requires members to pass a comprehensive exam and have five years of experience before becoming accredited. The IABC also requires an examination and several years of experience before seeking accreditation.
Public relation specialists can also seek a master's degree in business, communications or journalism. A master's degree allows PR specialists to pursue senior PR and marketing positions or self-employment as a PR consultant.
What Does A Public Relations Bachelor's Degree Program Entail?
Because public relations is such a broad field, bachelor's degree programs generally provide a multidisciplinary education. You'll likely take required courses in verbal and written communication, as well as business and marketing. Most schools offer a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in public relations, generally through a department of communications or a college of arts and sciences. Some Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in public relations are available as well. Several institutions offer public relations as a concentration within their communications bachelor's degree programs. Even if you enroll in one of those programs, however, it's likely that you'll learn most of the skills described above.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a highly competitive job market for entry-level public relations applicants, and reports that work experience can be a valuable tool for college graduates (www.bls.gov). For this and other reasons, many public relations bachelor's degree programs emphasize applied education experience. You may have to complete an internship, and you might be asked to present one or several applied projects in your classes, showing that you've mastered such public relations foundations as image management, promotions and business writing.
What Kinds of Classes Will I Take?
As a student in a public relations bachelor's degree program, you'll explore the skills and concepts that drive the practice of public relations, as well as the cultural and communicative theories behind them. You may begin your program of study with several courses that address the foundation of public relations and corporate communications. In future semesters, you'll take advanced courses in these areas.
Many schools also offer courses focused on public relations in specific professional areas, like education, multimedia, e-commerce, marketing and nonprofit organizations. Other topics covered might include:
Public relations research
Business and media writing
Public relations campaigns
Marketing and advertising foundations
Rhetoric and persuasive writing
Are These Programs Available Online?
If you're interested in earning your bachelor's degree in public relations, but can't commit to attending classes at an on-campus program, bachelor's degree programs are widely available online. In some cases, online programs are in communications with a concentration in public relations. As with the on-campus programs described above, however, you'll still explore essential public relations concepts through electives or required courses.
All course materials for public relations distance learning programs are generally transmitted through online teaching and learning systems, like WebCT or Blackboard Vista. You'll need a computer with an Internet connection to access these programs. Additional software, like Microsoft Windows or Adobe Reader, may be needed to view some course materials.
These programs contain everything you need to complete your required courses - lecture notes, quizzes, assignments, e-mail and virtual class discussions are all available online. Most online programs don't mandate internships or other projects that can't be completed online. However, some may require you to complete internships at approved locations, or make a few visits to campus for lectures and other degree requirements. Check with your prospective school for more details.
What Can I Do With A Public Relations Bachelor's Degree?
As a graduate of a bachelor's degree program in public relations, your professional options will be numerous. Virtually all organizations have a need for public relations services, so you can work for a government agency, non-profit charity or private for-profit organization. Some public relations specialists open their own agencies or work on a freelance basis, offering publicity, media relations or crisis intervention services to individual clients and organizations.
Other professionals in the field may work in public relations, marketing communications or advertising departments of companies of varying types. Exact job duties vary from one position to the next. However, general public relations responsibilities include research and execution of publicity campaigns, account or brand management, media communications, product launches, public opinion research and event planning.
You May Qualify For Financial Aid.
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