Average Income & Job Market of Public Relations

by Rick Suttle

Public relations specialists and managers are the spokespersons for corporations, improving their employers' images in communities and counteracting bad publicity. They write press releases, identify key clients and determine how to reach them, write speeches for executives and spearhead fundraising efforts. If you are interested in a public relations career, you need a bachelor's degree in public relations, journalism or communications. In return, expect an average salary that exceeds $100,000 annually.

Salary and Benefits

Public relations specialists usually work for public relations managers. They earned average annual salaries of $60,400 as of May 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -- with the opportunity to make over $98,880 as a top 10-percent earner. If you work as a public relations manager, you would earn $105,690 per year; your potential earnings would exceed $176,400 as a top performer. Since most public relations professionals work full time, they usually receive benefits such as medical insurance, paid holidays and vacations and retirement plans.

Salary by Industry

You can expect to earn more in certain industries as a public relations specialist or manager. Public relations specialists earned some of the highest annual salaries working for the postal service at $89,450, according to the BLS, and federal executive branch of government – $87,130 annually. As a public relations manager, you would earn salaries well above the industry average in the wireless communications and apparel and notions wholesale industries – $163,650 and $154,800 per year, respectively.

Salary by State or District

Salaries for public relations specialists and managers can vary by state. Public relations specialists earned the highest annual salaries in the District of Columbia at $83,050 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. You would also earn relatively high salaries in California and New York as a public relations specialist – $70,990 and $69,190 per year, respectively. Public relations managers earned the highest average salaries in Delaware at $140,890 per year, and also made above average incomes in New York and Virginia – $140,590 and $135,810, respectively.

Job Outlook

Jobs for public relations specialists and managers are expected to increase 21 percent through 2020, according to the BLS, which is faster than the 14 percent growth rate for all occupations. Your job opportunities will primarily be spurred by a growing importance of public relations in enhancing corporate visibility and image. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have also increased demand for public relations jobs. Expect to spend more time responding to news developments and maintaining your company's reputation, which is another factor driving career growth.

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