Overview

Much of our modern communication is done over social media and other digital platforms. Public relations professionals observe the changing ways in which we communicate and use their skills to most effectively represent and promote their clients. A graduate degree will give professionals an edge in this exciting, dynamic field, qualifying them for top-level, top-paying positions.

Students should expect courses dealing with how to manage public appearances, crafting persuasive press releases, business law and ethics, consumer engagement and communication methods. They will also learn how to use various platforms and tools to best promote their clients. Many graduate programs will culminate with a capstone project, allowing students to demonstrate everything they’ve learned and do their own research. Additionally, many programs will offer an internship or practicum course, which gives students hands-on training in the field.

Degree holders will often become PR specialists or PR managers. They also go on to careers in advertising, marketing, and fundraising. While most professionals work for organizations, others choose to work freelance.

Yes, many schools offer online programs in public relations. That said, it is essential to find a program that is accredited.

Online degrees are accepted by most employers. Many well-respected institutions offer degrees in public relations online.

A graduate degree in public relations usually takes 1 to 2 years to complete. However, it may take longer for part-time students or students in a cohort-based program.

Yes. Public relations is a rapidly-growing field, and there will always be a need for highly-qualified professionals to represent various groups, organizations, events, and important causes. Professionals with a graduate degree also tend to earn significantly higher salaries than their counterparts with a bachelor’s.

Public relations is a necessary element of society. Many corporations, nonprofits, and individuals need help interacting with the world on a daily basis, and PR professionals fill this need. If you enjoy working with others and promoting events, and if you thrive in a fast-paced, exciting environment, than a graduate degree in public relations could be a great fit.

Best Online Masters in Public Relations Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters in Public Relations program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and list of the 20 best online Public Relations programs.

Read about our methodology here.
School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,863 per credit
Most Innovative

The University of Southern California offers an innovative master's degree program in communication management, preparing graduates for leadership careers in corporate communication, global marketing and other areas of interest. Students learn the necessary skills to succeed in their careers through real-world, strategic coursework and hands-on projects.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism
Program Name: Master of Communication Management
Accrediting body: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 32 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 4 years
Program start dates: Summer: May 8, 2019; Fall: September 4, 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

3502 Watt Way

Los Angeles, CA 90089

647-260-2043

Tuition
$875 per credit
Best in Brand Communication Training

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers one of the best brand communication programs in the country, providing advanced training in media and technologies to help students deliver powerful brand messaging for their organizations. Graduates are equipped with the skills to advance to upper-level positions and to make important strategic decisions regarding advertising, marketing and multimedia communications.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Gies College of Business
Program Name: MS Strategic Brand Communication
Accrediting body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 32 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 15 months
Program start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: April 20, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Address:

515 E. Gregory Dr.

Champaign, IL 61820

217-244-7602

School Type
Public
Tuition
$586 per credit
Best Learning Format

Students in the public relations program at UF are able to complete the coursework at their own pace thanks to prerecorded lectures. Students can view the lessons when it's most convenient for them and log in to the online portal to connect and collaborate with peers on course projects.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Journalism and Communication
Program Name: Master of Arts in Mass Communication
Available concentrations: Public Relations
Accrediting body: SACSCOC

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: Under 2 years
Program start dates: Fall: late August; Spring: early January; Summer: early May

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 1; Spring: November 1; Summer: April 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

1885 Stadium Rd

Gainesville, FL 32611

352-273-3412

School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,964 per credit
Most Focused Education

Syracuse University prioritizes theory, best practices and concepts of public relations to hone the students' skills in the field. This 13-month program challenges the students to execute successful PR campaigns, preparing them for similar situations in their own careers.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Program Name: Master's in Communications
Available concentrations: Public Relations
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 15 months
Program start dates: April 2019; July 2019; October 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: February 7, 2019; May 9, 2019; May 9, 2019

Address:

215 University Pl

Syracuse, NY 13210

844-797-2666

School Type
Public
Tuition
$587 per credit
Best Virtual Campus

WSU Global Campus offers one of the best online strategic communication programs for distance learners who want to earn their master's degrees but can't make it to on-campus classes. The virtual classroom is just as convenient as the on-campus classes, providing students with all the resources, tools and materials needed, including faculty support, for successfully completing the program and advancing their careers.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
Program Name: MA Strategic Communication
Accrediting body: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: August 1; Spring: December 1; Summer April 15
GPA: 3.0
Work Experience: At least three applied work experience

Contact:

Christy Curtis

Admissions Contact

Address:

Pullman, WA 99164

509-335-5608

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $451 per credit; Out-of-state: $751 per credit
Most Unique

Purdue's Master of Science program includes a concentration in integrated communication and advertising, which teaches students how to engage stakeholders in their respective organizations. Upon earning their degree, graduates will have the skills to develop successful messaging strategies using what they learned about advertising, marketing and public relations in class.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Brian Lamb School of Communication
Program Name: MS in Communication
Available concentrations: Strategic Communication/Public Relations
Accrediting body: HLC

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 20 months
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: August 1; Spring: December 1; Summer: April 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

100 N University St

West Lafayette, IN 47907

877-497-5851

School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,345 per credit
Most Accommodating

Georgetown University accommodates all types of distance learners who want to expand their knowledge in public relations. The master's in public relations program is offered for both full- and part-time students and can be completed either on campus or online within two to five years.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Continuing Studies
Program Name: Master's in Public Relations & Corporate Communications
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2-5 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: May 1; Spring: October 15; Summer: February 15

Address:

640 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, DC 20001

202-687-6299

School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,260 per credit
Best Strategic Public Relations

George Washington University offers a comprehensive master's in strategic public relations program for industry veterans who want to enhance their knowledge or career-changers looking to enter this growing field. This program prepares graduates for careers in corporations, associations, nonprofits and government organizations, equipping students with the skills to succeed at the highest level.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Graduate School of Political Management
Program Name: Master's in Strategic Public Relations
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 18 months

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

805 21st St NW

Washington, DC 20052

888-989-7068

School Type
Private
Tuition
$4,087 per course
Most Interactive

Johns Hopkins University offers a dynamic, engaging and highly interactive Master of Arts in Communication program. This program includes electives in public relations and prepares graduates for career success through real-world applications and communication projects.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication
Available concentrations: Public and Media Relations, Political Communication, Corporate and Non-Profit Communication
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited US college or university
Course Requirements: 10 courses

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2-5 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Year-round
GPA: 3.0

Address:

1717 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Suite 104

Washington, DC 20036

800-847-3330

School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,265 per credit
Best in Public Communication Training

Drexel University prepares graduates for career advancement with its online master's in communication program. This program features a concentration in public communication and gives students the skills to seek specialty careers in public relations planning, journalism and more.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Arts and Sciences
Program Name: MS in Communication
Available concentrations: Public Communication
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
Credit Requirements: 45 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 3 years
Program start dates: Spring: April 1, 2019; Summer: June 24, 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: March 4, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Address:

3250 Chestnut St

Philadelphia, PA 19104

215-895-6700

School Type
Private
Tuition
$686 per credit
Best Career Services

The University of Denver's master's in public relations program prepares graduate students for effective careers in the field thanks to supportive career services. As students work through the program, they can receive one-on-one coaching and mock interviews, resume and cover letter guidance and much more, giving them the confidence to achieve successful interviews and to land top positions after graduation.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Communication Management
Available concentrations: Public Relations
Accrediting body: HLC

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 18 months
Program start dates: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: February 8, 2019; Summer: April 26, 2019; Fall: July 19, 2019; Winter: October 25, 2019
GPA: 2.5

Contact:

Erin Toothaker

Admissions Contact

Address:

2211 S Josephine St

Denver, CO 80208

303-871-4054

School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$920 per credit
Most Reputable

Quinnipiac University offers a highly reputable master's in public relations program, which is one of only six programs in the world to hold the Public Relation Society of America's Certification in Education for Public Relations. Students who enroll in this program are prepared to sit for the PRSA exam and will have the credentials to advance their careers to leadership positions in the field.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Communications
Program Name: MS In Public Relations
Accrediting body: AACSB

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Summer, Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: August 16, 2019
GPA: 3.0
Work Experience: Minimum of three years of professional experience

Address:

275 Mount Carmel Ave

Hamden, CT 6518

877-403-4277

School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,708 per credit
Best in Career Development

American University is committed to producing the next generation of professional communicators with its online master's in strategic communication program. This program includes in-depth coursework and first-rate training from industry professionals who provide students with the skills and strategies needed to get a competitive advantage in today's global workplace.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Communication
Program Name: Master's in Strategic Communication
Available concentrations: Advocacy and Social Impact
Accrediting body: Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 20 months
Program start dates: Summer: May 6, 2019; Fall: September 2, 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Summer: March 11, 2019; Fall: July 8, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Address:

4400 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, DC 20016

855-725-7614

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $410 per credit; Out-of-state: $616 per credit
Most Accessible

Ball State University offers a highly accessible master's degree program in public relations. With no GRE required and additional benefits such as graduate assistantships for those near Muncie, students can start earning their degrees right away and even have an opportunity to cover the costs of their degrees through fieldwork.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Communication, Information, and Media
Program Name: Master of Arts in Public Relations
Available concentrations: PR Leadership
Accrediting body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 33-39 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 5 semester
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: Third Monday in August; Spring: First Monday in January; Summer: Second Monday in May
GPA: 3.0

Address:

Muncie, IN 47306

765-285-1297

School Type
Private
Tuition
$609 per credit
Best Corporate Communication

Mississippi College offers the ideal program for students who want to advance their careers in corporate communication. The Master of Science in Public Relations and Corporate Communication program covers everything from the process and effects of communication to law and ethics in the business environment, providing the knowledge for students to become career professionals after college.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Science in Communication
Available concentrations: Public Relations and Corporate Communication
Accrediting body: SACSCOC

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 31 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: May 13, 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Contact:

Mark Davis

Admissions Contact

Address:

200 S Capitol St

Clinton, MS 39056

601-925-7617

School Type
Private
Tuition
$580 per credit
Most Accelerated

California Baptist University offers an accelerated Master of Arts in Public Relations program for online distance learners. On average, students earn their master's degree in 12 months and have the skills to advance their careers immediately.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts Public Relations
Accrediting body: WASC

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 12 months

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.75

Address:

10370 Hemet Street, Suite 200

Riverside, CA 92503

951-343-3927

School Type
Public
Tuition
$516 per credit
Most Focused Education

Edinboro University's master's in public relations program provides two focused areas of emphasis, allowing students to tailor their courses to their career goals: managerial and leadership communication and integrated marketing communication. Both focus areas develop the students' skills in public relations and give them the knowledge to pursue various career options, from project and media management to development and career counseling.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Graduate Studies
Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication Studies
Available concentrations: Managerial and Leadership Communication, Integrated Marketing Communication
Accrediting body: MSCHE

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.8
Work Experience: Two years of professional experience

Address:

310 Scotland Rd

Edinboro, PA 16444

814-732-2856

School Type
Private
Tuition
$780 per credit
Most Comprehensive

Webster University's online master's in public relations program features a comprehensive curriculum that prepares graduate students for productive careers. The curriculum requires 27 credit hours of core courses in media communications, strategic communications, writing for public relations and more, giving students the insights to pursue senior-level positions in the field.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Communications
Program Name: Master of Arts in Public Relations
Accrediting body: HLC

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall, spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Address:

470 E Lockwood Ave

St. Louis, MO 63119

314-246-7800

School Type
Private
Tuition
$475 per credit
Most Flexible Delivery

Concordia University, St. Paul's Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program offers flexible delivery for students who want to earn their degree. Students can opt to take completely online courses or choose to attend every class on campus; they can even select a blended format to enjoy online coursework with some on-campus sessions for networking with peers and faculty.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Business and Technology
Program Name: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Management
Accrediting body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 5 years

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

1282 Concordia Ave

St. Paul, MN 55104

888-859-0641

School Type
Private
Tuition
$627 per credit
Best Value

Southern New Hampshire University is a great choice in terms of value for students looking to earn their master's degree in public relations online. With a convenient virtual classroom, some of the most affordable tuition rates in the country and no GMAT or GRE required, students should consider SNHU for its commitment to online education without the worry of financial burden or strict full-time scheduling.


Program OverviewProgram Name: MA in Communication Public Relations
Available concentrations: Public Relations
Accrediting body: NEASC

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 15 months
Program start dates: March 11, 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: March 9, 2019
GPA: 2.75

Address:

2500 N River Rd

Manchester , NH 3106

800-668-1249

What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s Public Relations Program?

An online public relations graduate program teaches students how to use various tools, techniques and platforms to promote individuals, organizations or events they represent. Online programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional on-campus instruction and a convenient way for working adults or full-time students to prepare for a career in a dynamic, relatively lucrative field. Many colleges and universities offer online programs that follow the same curriculum and meticulous instruction as their on-campus programs. Online programs often offer the added convenience of allowing you to work at your own pace, which could help if you want to finish quickly. When choosing an online public relations graduate program, compare the curriculum, format and cost to ensure you choose the right program for you and your career goals.

Degrees Offered for an Online Master’s in Public Relations

CONCENTRATIONDESCRIPTIONCAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
International Public RelationsOnline public relations graduate programs with a concentration in international public relations prepares you to manage global public relations campaigns.Global public relations manager, communications strategist
Corporate CommunicationAn online public relations graduate program with a concentration in corporate communication focuses on the interaction between corporate communications functions and best approaches to strategically integrate these functions.Corporate communications specialist, public affairs director, corporate manager, corporate social responsibility specialist, corporate recruiter
Media RelationsOnline master’s in public relations programs with a concentration in media relations focus on the role and function of media relations in government, corporate and non-profit organizations.Media relations advisor, media relations director, press secretary, marketing representative
Digital CommunicationA public relations’ graduate program with a concentration in digital communication focuses on digital tools, trends and tactics, including how digital communications relate to traditional marketing and public relations tactics, and the integration of both.Social media director, digital communication specialist, digital content manager, content marketing specialist, digital media manager

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Public Relations

Curriculum for an online public relations graduate program may be delivered completely online or may feature both online and on-campus requirements. Programs may also be asynchronous, meaning they’re self-paced, or synchronous, and you log on to take classes simultaneously with other students. Working professionals benefit from asynchronous classes they can schedule around their work and family responsibilities

While the curriculum varies between schools, public relations graduate programs are typically structured to provide a solid foundation in the core principles of public relations, including the best practices and techniques needed to transition into a successful career. Due to the ever-increasing popularity of digital media, almost all programs focus on blending traditional and non-traditional communications tools. Besides core courses, many programs also allow you to choose electives to customize your degree to mesh with your chosen concentration. Some programs may require a capstone project or internship to complete your degree. Here are some common courses you may take in your public relations graduate program

COURSESDESCRIPTION
Public Relations TheoryFocuses on understanding the abstract theoretical concepts in public relations and applying them in professional practice.
Public Relations WritingCenters on the development of professional writing skills expected of public relations professionals and cover the many forms this writing takes, such as press releases and newsletter articles.
Brand ManagementTeaches students how to build, measure and manage brand equity and may include a course project designed for practical application.
Ethical Standards in Public RelationsExplores the importance of ethics in public relations by analyzing ethical assumptions and the standards and codes of conduct that should guide public relations professionals.
Integrated Marketing CommunicationsCombines traditional and non-traditional technologies and approaches to communications for designing integrated public relations campaigns.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Public Relations?

On average, online public relations graduate programs require you to complete 30 to 36 credit hours, but some run as high as 54 credit hours. One of the biggest variables in how long it takes you to earn your degree is whether you attend full-time or part-time. Full-time students can usually earn their degree in two years, but accelerated programs allow you to shorten this time. For example, many 30-credit hour programs are designed to take two years to complete, but some take as little as 15 months.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Public Relations Prepares For

CONCENTRATIONCERTIFICATION
Accredited in Public RelationsObtaining your master’s in public relations could help you earn your accreditation in public relations credential from the Public Relations Society of America, which sets you apart as a leader in the competitive public relations field

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Public Relations Degrees

When comparing online public relations graduate programs, it’s important to choose a college or university that’s accredited through an agency recognized by the Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Earning your degree from an unaccredited school won’t carry as much weight professionally, and if you require financial assistance to pay for your education, attending an unaccredited school makes you ineligible for federal and state financial aid and many scholarships.

While the school should be accredited, the program itself may not be, especially online programs. However, the Public Relations Society of America does offer voluntary Certification in Education for Public Relations. This allows academic programs the opportunity to have an outside evaluation administered by the PRSA Educational Affairs Committee, which endorses undergraduate and master’s level programs that meet its eight standards in curriculum, faculty, etc

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Public Relations Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

While most careers in public relations are attainable with a bachelor’s degree or less, earning your master’s degree makes you more qualified for the top entry-level positions, as well as some managerial roles typically reserved for more experienced applicants. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that professionals with a master’s degree traditionally have a lower level of unemployment and higher salaries than those with a bachelor’s degree. In 2017, graduate students had median weekly earnings of $1,401 with a 2.2 percent unemployment rate, compared to a 2.5 percent unemployment rate and $1,173 in median weekly earnings for undergraduates.

Expected Salary

Public relations is one of the fastest growing media fields, but the most coveted positions are highly competitive. Completing your online master’s in public relations degree qualifies you for numerous jobs that vary depending on your degree specialization and experience in the field. As you gain experience and move up the professional public relations ladder, your salary increases along with your title.

Job TitleSalary Range
Public Relations Coordinator$30,687-$54,582
Public Relations Specialist$32,784-$70,594
Public Relations Officer$33,832-$103,762
Public Relations Manager$40,830-$96,873
Public Relations Director$46,648-$134,892

Source: PayScale.com

Where you live and pursue a public relations career also greatly impacts your projected salary. Many public relations professionals turn to the lucrative field of politics, so it’s logical that the District of Columbia tops the list of high paying locations with a median annual wage of $170,750. The map below lists the annual mean wages for a Public Relations Manager in each state.

Figures in US Dollars per year
Blank areas indicate data not available

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

Public relations professionals may work freelance or as part of a public relations firm and may represent individual clients or corporations, government agencies or nonprofit organizations. Depending on your specialty, you could pursue a public relations career in politics, advertising, journalism or public affairs, and your advanced degree makes you a more attractive candidate for many of these career opportunities.

JOB TITLEJOB DESCRIPTIONMEDIAN SALARYPROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Public Relations SpecialistsPublic relations specialists typically work directly with individuals, organizations or other clients to create and maintain a favorable public image, which may include writing press releases and speeches and developing social media programs and various campaigns to improve public perception or increase awareness.$59,300 per year9%
Public Relations ManagersPublic relations managers usually lead teams of public relations professionals through large-scale advertising campaigns, including designing and directing the creation of promotional materials to enhance the client’s public image.$111,280 per year10%
Marketing ManagersMarketing managers estimate the demand for products and/or services supplied by the company or organization they represent in relation to what’s also being supplied by its competitors and work to identify new markets and appropriate pricing strategies for these products and/or services.$132,230 per year10%
Advertising and Promotions ManagersAdvertising managers typically work in advertising agencies and create interest in certain products or services by putting together advertising campaigns that appeal to potential buyers. Promotions managers oversee programs that combine advertising campaigns with purchasing incentives to further increase sales of the product or service, which may include coupons, discounts, sweepstakes, contests or free samples or gifts. Advertising and promotions managers also manage a variety of staff members working toward the same goals.$106,130 per year3%

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations offer a great way to network with others in the public relations field no matter where you are in career. Whether you’re new to the field or a veteran, professional organizations host important networking events and often provide training opportunities, job boards, professional journals and other valuable members-only services that keep you abreast of the latest developments in your field. Some prominent organizations for public relations students and/or professionals include:

Public Relations Society of America: Considered the world’s largest PR-related professional organization, the PRSA provides academic journals and innovative lifelong learning opportunities, professional development and networking through seminars, workshops and conferences.

National Communication Association: Serving scholars, teachers and professionals, the NCA hosts an annual conference and numerous other programs and events that provide educational, networking and professional development opportunities. It also publishes 11 academic journals full of industry news and provides a career center to look for and post jobs.

Social Media Association: The SMA hosts informative events that include presentations by expert speakers, panel and roundtable discussions and networking events. It also provides a valuable job bank and other members-only benefits.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership Degree

While an online master’s degree in public relations is relatively affordable, many students still need financial assistance to help cover the cost. Start your search by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to see whether you qualify for loans, grants and other financial aid opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Some states also use this form for state aid, but some have a separate form you must complete. You may also find private scholarships and grants through various companies, nonprofit organizations and other entities; some of which are designed especially for online studies. Learn more about potential financial aid opportunities by exploring the following resources.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

Lawrence G. Foster Award for Excellence in Public Relations

Award: $1,500

Deadline: May

Eligibility: Public Relations Student Society of America members enrolled in the public relations field at any university

Dr. Bob Davis, APR, CPRC, Scholarship

Award: $1,500

Deadline: February

Eligibility: Any student studying to enter the public relations profession, which can be used for any education-related expenses

The LAGRANT Foundation

Award: $3,750

Deadline: February

Eligibility: Minority graduate students enrolled in at least 9-credit hours per semester in a field of study with an emphasis in advertising, marketing or public relations

Philip N. McCombs Scholarship Fund

Award: Varies

Deadline: January

Eligibility: Graduate students enrolled in an accredited program in California’s Bay Area in the field of communications and/or public relations