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Education and Training Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Communications, Marketing or related degree
Average Salary $51,280 per year
Job Outlook Excellent

Publicists – also referred to as publication relations specialists or communications consultants are hired to help an organization or individual maintain a positive relationship with their constituents, customers, potential customers, or the general public. Publicists may have clients from every sector of the economy including government agencies, non-profit organizations, private enterprises, healthcare organizations, or academic institutions.

Publicists handle functions such as media relations, marketing and image campaigns, investor relations, and community involvement. Publicists often draft communication materials such as press releases, magazine articles, social media posts, speeches and talking points.

Education and Training Requirements

Most publicist and public relations careers require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Many publicists major in journalism, media, public relations, marketing or communications. These majors serve as excellent training ground by offering courses such as public relations writing, speech writing, image management, principles of public relations, and principles of advertising that prepare graduates for their future job responsibilities.

Getting the Job

Completing an undergraduate internship is the typical way graduates parlay their degree into a career as a publicist. Many public relations firms have intensive training programs that provide valuable training for newly hired personnel. A career as a publicist requires excellent oral and written communication skills, initiative, ability to work in a fast paced environment, and sound judgment.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The employment outlook for publicists is excellent according to the latest labor data released by the United States Department of Labor. The need for a company or an individual to have a strong brand and image to compete in the marketplace continues to drive job growth. The ascension of social media and other communication distribution channels require a skilled professional to build strategic communication campaigns based on sound public relations principles.

Many entry level publicists spend time under the tutelage of a more experienced professional. Entry level publicists often learn the ropes performing behind the scene research for their clients. Their research is often used for the creation of fact sheets, press releases, and websites. Entry level publicists also plan events such as press conferences, parties, and other public relations events.

After gaining experience they are often assigned to manage individual clients and businesses. They typically write press releases, articles for publication, speeches, and any other types of media that details their clients’ activities. Seasoned publicists also create and implement strategic brand and image management campaigns involving several different communication channels and tools.

Working Conditions and Environment

Long hours in a diverse work setting are typically required. Publicists need to be outgoing, confident and strategic communicators to be able to interact with clients and potential clients in business and casual environments. Nights and weekends are not uncommon as gatherings, press conferences, and media events take place during non-traditional hours. The position is fast-paced and considered stressful by some. The majority of the work takes place in an office environment.

Salary and Benefits

The median salary for a publicist in the United States is approximately $51,300 per year. Experienced publicists with a long list of clients can earn well over six figures. Wages can vary greatly depending on what sector of the economy the publicist works in. The middle 50% earn between $38,000-$71,000 per year.

Excellent health and retirement benefits are common for this profession. Publicists also receive paid vacation and sick time. Those who start their own publicist/PR organizations may not have these benefits.

Where to Go for More Information

Council of Public Relations Firms
317 Madison Avenue Suite 2320
New York, NY 10017

Institute for Public Relations
PO Box 118400
2096 Weimer Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611

Public Relations Society of America
33 Maiden Lane, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10038

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesSales & Marketing