Online Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations
An online bachelor's degree can be your jumping off point into the world of communications and public relations. Continue reading to learn more about the field and these degree programs, how online programs work and what your job options are. Schools offering Public Relations degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is a Public Relations Online Bachelor's Degree Program?
As defined by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), public relations helps an organization and its public adapt mutually to each other (www.prsa.org). Degree programs in this field prepare you to work for a company or organization where you help manage media relations, plan publicity events, write news releases and distribute company information to various audiences.
Typical courses in an online bachelor's degree program in public relations (PR) include advertising, professional speaking, persuasion, media research, public relations fundamentals, mass communication, marketing and promotional strategies. Some online programs may have a policy of granting you course credits for life and work experience. Some programs may also require you to participate in an internship, which may enhance your employment and advancement possibilities. Internships are typically served at a school-partnered business or agency and must be completed in person.
How Do Online Programs Work?
Online bachelor's degree programs in public relations are generally geared to accommodate your personal schedule. This means that the courses are typically presented asynchronously, so that you can access them at your convenience. However, schools may impose time frames for completion of individual courses. To participate in a program, you often need a computer with high speed Internet access. Communication takes place through e-mail, message boards and chat sessions.
It can take you over four years to finish an entire degree program, which can consist of 124-160 credits. At its conclusion, you may earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in either public relations or communication with an emphasis on public relations. If you already hold an associate's degree, you may qualify for an online degree-completion program. Degree-completion programs consist entirely of upper-level courses and can be completed in about two years.
What Are My Career Options?
Though you may be able to find work with an advertising or public relations firm, there are other fields that use public relations specialists. These include public affairs, speech writing, sales, print journalism, fundraising, broadcasting and politics. While voluntary, you may also find certification helpful in all aspects of your career. If you hold a bachelor's degree and have at least five years of work experience, you may earn certification by sitting for an examination administered by the International Association of Business Communicators. If you're also a PRSA member, you may be eligible to sit for a certification examination administered by the Universal Accreditation Board.
In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment opportunities for public relations specialists would increase 24% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). Also in 2010, the BLS determined the mean annual wage for public relations specialists to be $59,150.
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