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Public Relations & Advertising

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Public Relations & Advertising Major

18,814 yearly degrees
#65 in popularity
$69,000 median salary

Public relations and advertising is a major that typically falls into the Communication & Journalism category.

There are 49 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in public relations, 581 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 141 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 6 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Public Relations Degree?

In 2017, roughly 15,400 public relations and advertising majors graduated with a bachelor’s degree. This makes it #32 in popularity of all the majors we track. This major is dominated by women with about 73.7% of recent graduates being female.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of public relations majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 3.3%
  • Black or African American: 8.1%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 12.2%
  • White: 66.2%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 4.1%
  • Other Races: 6.1%
Public Relations & Advertising Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in public relations. About 4.1% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending public relations majors to the U.S. are China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

What Will You Learn as a Public Relations & Advertising Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to public relations to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Public Relations Majors

A major in public relations should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

Important Knowledge Areas for Public Relations & Advertising Majors

Skills for Public Relations Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to public relations:

Important Skills for Public Relations & Advertising Majors

Abilities for Public Relations Majors

As a public relations major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

Important Abilities for public relations Majors

What Can You Do With a Public Relations Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with public relations:

Careers Related to Public Relations & Advertising
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary




Community Health Workers



Broadcast News Analysts



Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes



Reporters and Correspondents



Technical Writers



Health Educators



Radio and Television Announcers



Entertainers and Performers, Sports and Related Workers



Advertising and Promotions Managers



Public Relations & Advertising Major Salary

Public relations majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $56,000 to $91,000. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Public Relations Major  ( 56000 to 91000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Public Relations & Advertising Major Jobs

Some careers associated with public relations require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much education do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to public relations have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Public Relations & Advertising
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Public Relations & Advertising Programs

There are 581 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising, with 41 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Online learners benefit from being able to watch lectures remotely and complete coursework on their schedule, but they also take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to dropout.

Is a Public Relations & Advertising Major Worth It?

The median salary for a public relations grad is $69,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 79% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $611,600 after 20 years!

public relations and advertising salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Bill Koplitz via License

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