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2023 Public Relations & Advertising Degree Guide

Are you interested in a fast-paced career that allows you to do something different every day? Do you enjoy being creative and multi-tasking? A career in Public Relations or Advertising might be for you.

Public Relations specialists work to create a positive image for their clients. These clients include celebrities, brands, and organizations, among many more. In order to shape this reputation, specialists must be strong, creative writers and have the interpersonal skills to develop relationships with the media and those who will share information and spread the name of the client. Students will take classes in image management, media campaigns, newswriting, broadcast media, videography, and speech writing along with businesses classes to acquire these necessary skills.

Schools offer the option to major in either general Public Relations or Advertising or you may decide to specialize in a certain area. Some areas of specialization include Organizational Communication, Public Relations/Image Management, Political Communication, Health Communication, Sports Communication, International and Intercultural Communication, and Technical and Scientific Communication.

A Recent Jump in Public Relations & Advertising Degrees

#52 Most Popular Major
21.1k Degrees Awarded
4.1% Increase in Graduates

Public Relations & Advertising was the 52nd most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 21,099 degrees in this year alone. This is a difference of 870 over the prior year, a growth of 4.1%.

This year's Best Public Relations & Advertising Schools ranking compares 255 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of public relations programs later in this article.

2023 Best Colleges for Public Relations & Advertising
2023 Overall Best Public Relations & Advertising Colleges >

Best Public Relations & Advertising Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Public Relations & Advertising
Bachelor's Degrees in Public Relations & Advertising
Master's Degrees in Public Relations & Advertising
Doctorate Degrees in Public Relations & Advertising

Public Relations & Advertising Degree Requirements

In this major, as with any major in the Communications field, there is a heavy emphasis on clear writing skills. Specialists spend much of their day writing press releases, emails to clients or media members, speeches, annual reports, or pitches making writing extremely important. This career also caters to a student who is a people person and is able to handle multiple projects at once. Strong organizational and critical thinking skills will make you successful in this field.

Public Relations specialists work full time and often have long days that cause the workweek to extend over 40 hours. Depending on the project they are working on, specialists may work in the evenings and on weekends.

Public Relations and advertising employers often require experience before hiring. Graduates must pay their dues before moving into management positions. This is often done through internships. Interning while working towards your degree will allow you to gain valuable experience within the field making you a more desirable candidate.

Prior Education for a Public Relations Program

public relations and advertising degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. Specific public relations careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Types of Public Relations & Advertising Degrees

There are many different public relations degree levels. Public Relations & Advertising programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest public relations degree you can get. Depending on the public relations and advertising degree you choose, obtaining your diploma can take anwhere from 1 to 4+ years.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to public relations, with approximately 56.2% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to public relations tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 57.5%
Master’s Degree 12.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 10.9%
Some College Courses 8.1%
High School Diploma 5.4%

About 73.9% of workers in careers related to public relations obtain at least bachelor's degrees. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in public relations and advertising careers have.


The education level required is different depending on the public relations career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Public Relations Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$38.3k Average Starting Salary
6% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

A degree in Public Relations and Advertising opens up many career possibilities. Since you will take classes that improve your writing, communication, and organizational skills, you will be considered an asset to many companies. Graduates may find jobs with agencies or working for a company as their in house publicist.

Growth Projected for Public Relations Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your public relations degree? Public Relations & Advertising careers are expected to grow 5.6% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to public relations and advertising.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Public Relations Specialists 282,600 8.9%
Editors 125,600 -1.4%
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers 81,100 10.3%
Community Health Workers 67,800 17.9%
Technical Writers 58,100 10.9%

Public Relations Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated public relations and advertising students earned an average of $38,308 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $17,817 to as high as $76,798. As you might expect, salaries for public relations graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Public Relations Majors

Salaries for public relations and advertising graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers public relations grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Advertising and Promotions Managers $133,090
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $131,570
Broadcast News Analysts $91,990
Artist, Athlete, and Performer Agents and Business Managers $90,930
Communications Professors $78,090

Getting Your Public Relations & Advertising Degree

With over 1,296 different public relations degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased public relations school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Public Relations & Advertising

Public Relations & Advertising is one of 5 different types of Communication & Journalism programs to choose from.

Public Relations Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Public Relations 5,216
Advertising 4,918
Public Relations, Advertising, & Applied Communication 4,203
General Organizational Communication 2,013
Other Public Relations, Advertising, & Applied Communication 1,553

View All Public Relations Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Communication & Media Studies 66,787
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 17,669
Journalism 13,552
Communication & Journalism (Other) 1,128
Publishing 336

View All Public Relations Related Majors >


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