The Public Relations Path

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Do you like the idea of a studying marketing, but are terrified of math? Or do you think the concept is interesting, but want to do more than just work with products? Then you might want to consider a major in public relations.

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Although the practice of public relations dates back to the 20th century, the public relations career path is still unfamiliar to a large number of people. Sometimes public relations practitioners are portrayed as spin doctors or publicity spokespeople, while others believe that PR and marketing go hand in hand. But the fact of the matter is, public relations encompasses so much more.

The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as, “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

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With a degree in public relations, there are a variety of career paths available to pursue. If you want to do PR work for one specific company, this is typically referred to as “in house” public relations. This means that you are working solely for one company, and are constantly trying to find ways to help them build a better relationship with their publics.

Another career option as a public relations major is to work for a large PR firm, like Ketchum or Edelman. These firms have numerous clients and varying levels of positions. A PR boutique firm, or a public relations boutique, also gives you the option of working with multiple companies – without working for a large firm. Boutique firms are usually smaller, but still serve all types of businesses.

Truthfully, a major public relations provides an almost endless number of career choices. As a public relations major, you really are not limited to only working in PR. Since public relations is in the College of Liberal Arts, it is closely related to majors like journalism or media relations. This expands the career options even more. Some examples of career paths for PR majors that do not necessarily involve PR are the following: publicist, copywriter, journalist and spokesperson.

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In addition to a number of career choices, public relations is also a continuously growing field. Forbes recently published an article with various facts and statistics on the growth in the field of public relations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, public relations professionals filled about 240,000 jobs in 2014 – but that number was expected to increase 6% by 2024. To read more of the Forbes article with statistics on public relations, click here.

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Overall, there are various reasons to consider public relations as a major. From the abundance of career choices to the continuous growth documented by Labor Statistics, public relations is a promising field. Studying public relations at Auburn University as been more interesting and informative than I ever could have imagined. Now that my four years here are coming to an end, I feel more confident than ever that I have chosen the right career for me. I cannot wait to see where the public relations path takes me.

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