Why It’s Important to have a Degree in PR

By: Kelsey Clark

Although it may seem like majoring in public relations may not be necessary in order to obtain a successful career in the field, in today’s world it is proving to be quite beneficial. Below are five main PR concepts a student with a degree in public relations will learn prior to entering the professional world.

The Definition

Since PR is not clearly understood by the majority of the public and it often comes with a negative connotation, it is important students learn the correct definition early on in their PR pursuit. This way, they know if PR is something they truly enjoy. The main point students learn in defining PR is that it is about building and maintaining symbiotic relationships between organizations or individuals and the public.

Types of PR

Students pursuing a PR degree learn the various types of PR work available. Just because one type of PR isn’t of interest to a student, doesn’t mean another area won’t be appealing. The types of PR include investor relations, media relations, health communication and sports public relations, to name a few. Each type of PR goes hand-in-hand with the various types of settings PR jobs offer. Some of the types of settings include an agency, a firm, a large corporation and a sports organization. Each varies in size and each deals with handling PR situations in different ways.

Basics of Writing

PR writing courses provide students with the opportunity to improve and expand upon their skills as writers throughout each year of college. Writing is a crucial component in PR, therefore gaining experience in writing within the PR field prior to entering the workforce is advantageous.

The Guide to PR Campaigns

Those beginning to delve into the world of PR learn the process of how to create and implement a PR campaign for a client. Although the acronym varies from professor to professor, a common term associated with the steps of a PR campaign is R.O.P.E., which stands for research, objectives, programming and evaluation. These four words sum up the stages of the process, which allows for students to better remember which steps need to be completed and when.

Capstone Courses

Although capstone courses do not exist at every school, they are an essential part of learning real world concepts of PR. Capstone courses that put students into teams, each considered its own PR firm, are given a client and then asked to create and execute a PR campaign, provide a first-hand experience in learning how a campaign works. Creating PR documents along the way, compiling them into a formal book and presenting all of the information to the client at the end of the semester sets up a true example of what would take place in an actual PR firm.

Students who earn an undergraduate degree in public relations have an advantage over students who earn a degree in a different subject when it comes to pursuing a career in the field. All of the above skills, learned by PR majors throughout their time in school, provide a significant base in becoming a successful PR professional.

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.  

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