Students participating in a discussion in a social media class at The University of Akron

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Public Relations is all about building and maintaining beneficial relationships between organizations and their stakeholders and customers. The organization’s message is the foundation of building those relationships. As its PR representative, you will create and shape those messages between an organization and its public.

Our PR degree path provides you with real-world experiences through service-learning; exposes you to people, organizations and scenarios that foster your creativity; and helps develop the critical thinking skills you will use throughout your career in the industry.

Each scenario below is an example of the practice of public relations.

  • Mara spends her afternoon Snapchatting the birth of a new baby snow leopard at the zoo.
  • Darius meets with colleagues to brainstorm strategies for improving his company's reputation after a manufacturing accident.
  • Cynthia is working on a flyer to promote an employee wellness program at her hospital.
  • Leonard is working on a media release to announce a brand new mobile app for his major retail client.

WHY CHOOSE THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON?

University of Akron PR student being interviewed by a student reporter for student run television program, ZTV.

Flexible focus areas:

The School of Communication offers PR majors the option to combine electives to form a specialty area, such as social media, media relations, health or internal/employee public relations.

PR majors interested in:

  • Media relations can take courses in media law and introduction to media industries.
  • Social media can develop media productions skills and take our principles of social media elective coursework, and even earn a Professional Social Media Certificate.
  • The internal side of public relations can take an organizational communication course or study training methods with faculty who are experts in each of these areas.

Experiential opportunities:

You’re also able to gain hands-on experience in our award-winning student television and radio programs, and you can write for our student newspaper. You will obtain skills that set you apart in your career.

Internship program:

In UA's internship program you can fulfill either 3 or 6 credit hours while gaining hands-on experience in a real workplace. You can choose to intern in nearly any department at any type of organization where communication and creativity are recognized.

The best way to understand the theories and concepts you are learning in the classroom is to apply them for real. Also, internships will help you network and build your skill set.

PUBLIC RELATIONS COURSES

Public Relations curriculum guide

At UA, our core public relations courses create opportunities for students to collaborate in teams, work with clients and design PR campaigns. This hands-on experience helps students learn to work together in a group, communicate with a client, review and evaluate case studies from notable PR campaigns, and create portfolio materials.

We also have an active Public Relations Student Society of American (PRSSA) chapter that gives students increased exposure to the profession, provides extensive educational resources and enables members to make valuable contacts through networking opportunities.

University of Akron School of Communication Professor Pipps teaching a public relations UA student.Our faculty members prepare you to become a public relations professional through innovative courses that teach written and verbal communication skills for the successful practice of strategic public relations.

Our public relations students gain practical experience crafting public relations messages through strategies and tactics applied in the context of PR campaigns. Students also master how to foster mutually beneficial relationships between clients and their audiences. Coursework is designed to develop a broad scope of awareness and skills that can help an organization achieve its mission and goals.

Our faculty members are constantly updating course offerings so the classroom experience reflects trends in a profession. Our social media courses allow students to create campaigns for actual clients and to help with portfolio development.

We encourage students to engage in internships and use their developing public relations skills in non-classroom settings. Many School of Communication students intern with public relations agencies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, sports teams and corporations. Our student interns are typically impressive in professional settings, as evidenced by the large number who are hired after graduation.

PUBLIC RELATIONS CAREER PROSPECTS

Public relations professionals are needed in virtually every industry. The best news is that the demand for more public relations professionals has been growing at an exciting rate, with substantial evidence that the trend will continue.

While some enter the nonprofit sector, we have many graduates who are working in the private sector for sports organizations, health organizations, government agencies, the military, entertainment organizations, educational institutions and private corporations.

Public Relations salaries can be be lucrative, but salaries are dependent on such factors as: the size and type of organization, the experience level of the professional and the region in which the person are working.

Salaries change regularly and are commensurate with experience. Consulting public relations trade publications, such as PRWeek, can give you the most updated figures at any given time.

The PRWeek 2015 Salary Survey reported:

  • The national average for public relations professionals is around $90,000 per year.
  • Corporate PR professionals can expect an average of $120,000 per year.
  • PR professionals at nonprofits can expect an average of $75,000 per year.

Other factors affecting salary earnings:

  • Starting salaries, such as that of an assistant account executives, earn an average of $38,000 per year
  • Experienced PR professionals such as, Chief Communications Officers, earn the highest average annual salary, around $340,000.
  • Professionals working in the midwest make an average of $85,000 per year
  • Professionals working in New York City make an average of $110,000 per year.

WHERE RECENT GRADUATES ARE WORKING

  • David Barnhardt / Director of Marketing & PR, West Virginia Northern Community College
  • Judy DeShon / Community Outreach Coordinator, Better Business Bureau
  • Andrea Ferraro, Ph.D. / Assistant Professor of Communication, University of Mount Union
  • Katey Kimpel, Fall 2012 / Marketing Manager, Caesars Entertainment Corp.
  • Marissa Barrett, Fall 2013 / Brand Manager, Hoover–TTI Floor Care North America
  • Anna Tultz, Spring 2014 / Video Editor/Media Specialist, Faith Family Church
  • Morgan Hummel, Spring 2014 / Global Operations & Technology Communications Specialist, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
  • Angela DelBrocco, Summer 2015 / Account Manager, MurphyEpson
  • Kiersten Heckel, Fall 2015 / Communications Strategist, Squirrels LLC

CONTACT INFO

The School of Communication - Kolbe Hall 108 | Phone: 330-972-7600 | Fax: 330-972-8045 | Email


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