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Become A Community Relations Specialist

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Working As A Community Relations Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $68,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Community Relations Specialist Do

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They design media releases to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals. 

Duties

Public relations specialists typically do the following:

  • Write press releases and prepare information for the media
  • Respond to information requests from the media
  • Help clients communicate effectively with the public
  • Help maintain their organization's corporate image and identity
  • Draft speeches and arrange interviews for an organization’s top executives
  • Evaluate advertising and promotion programs to determine whether they are compatible with their organization’s public relations efforts
  • Evaluate public opinion of clients through social media

Public relations specialists, also called communications specialists and media specialists, handle an organization’s communication with the public, including consumers, investors, reporters, and other media specialists. In government, public relations specialists may be called press secretaries. In this setting, workers keep the public informed about the activities of government officials and agencies.

Public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does concerning that issue.

Press releases are increasingly being sent through the Internet and social media, in addition to publication through traditional media outlets. Public relations specialists are often in charge of monitoring and responding to social media questions and concerns.

Public relations specialists are different from advertisers in that they get their stories covered by media instead of purchasing ad space in publications and on television.

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How To Become A Community Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Employers prefer candidates who have studied public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.

Education

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business. Through such programs, students produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates their ability to prospective employers.

Training

Entry-level workers typically begin by maintaining files of material about an organization’s activities, skimming and retaining relevant media articles, and assembling information for speeches and pamphlets. After gaining experience, public relations specialists begin to write news releases, speeches, articles for publication, or carry out public relations programs.

Other Experience

Internships at public relations firms or in the public relations departments of other businesses can be helpful in getting a job as a public relations specialist.

Some employers prefer candidates that have experience communicating with others through a school newspaper or a leadership position in school or in their community.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Public relations specialists deal with the public and the media regularly; therefore, they must be open and friendly to maintain a favorable image for their organization.

Organizational skills. Public relations specialists are often in charge of managing several events at the same time, requiring superior organizational skills.

Problem-solving skills. Public relations specialists sometimes must explain how a company or client is handling sensitive issues. They must use good judgment in what they report and how they report it.

Speaking skills. Public relations specialists regularly speak on behalf of their organization. When doing so, they must be able to clearly explain the organization’s position.

Writing skills. Public relations specialists must be able to write well-organized and clear press releases and speeches. They must be able to grasp the key messages they want to get across and write them in a short, succinct way to get the attention of busy readers or listeners.

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Community Relations Specialist Career Paths

Community Relations Specialist
Account Executive Marketing Manager
Regional Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Manager Marketing Director
Director Of Marketing & Development
9 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Owner Marketing Director
Community Relations Director
8 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Editor Public Relations Manager
Manager Of Corporate Communications
7 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Communications Consultant Public Relations Manager
Director, Corporate Communications
10 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Executive Assistant Event Manager
Director Of Special Events
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Property Manager Communications Manager
Internal Communications Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Manager Assistant Director
Director Of Alumni Relations
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Specialist Owner Communications Director
Community Development Director
9 Yearsyrs
Marketing Specialist Marketing Manager Communications Manager
Communications Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Marketing Specialist Senior Account Executive Public Relations Director
Public Relations And Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
Public Relations Specialist Public Relations Manager Communications Manager
Community Relations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Public Relations Specialist Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Marketing Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Public Relations Specialist Communications Consultant Senior Technical Writer
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Officer Communications Officer
Public Information Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Liaison Editor Communications Consultant
Media Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Liaison Editor Social Media Manager
Online Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Consultant Marketing Manager/Project Manager
Marketing Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Media Relations Specialist Public Relations Consultant Public Information Officer
Public Affairs Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Marketing Consultant Marketing Manager/Project Manager Marketing Account Manager
Digital Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Community Relations Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Community Relations Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$68,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$36,000
Min 10%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$129,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
Minneapolis, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.4 years
How much does a Community Relations Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Community Relations Specialist in the United States is $68,373 per year or $33 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $36,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $129,000.

Real Community Relations Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
General Mngr., Communications, Relations & Corp. S Citgo Petroleum Corporation Houston, TX Sep 30, 2010 $167,350
Digital Publishing Community Relations Specialist Quora, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 04, 2015 $100,000
Communications & College Relations Specialist The City University of New York New York, NY Dec 22, 2013 $68,024
Communications and Community Relations Specialist Cleary University Howell, MI Aug 31, 2009 $66,000
Communications & College Relations Specialist The City University of New York New York, NY Dec 21, 2012 $64,956
Community Relations Specialist/Healthcare Grandcare, LLC Hayward, CA Nov 02, 2009 $62,610
Community Relations Specialist/Healthcare Grancare, LLC Hayward, CA Nov 02, 2009 $62,610
Membership Relations and Communications Specialist St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Washington, D.C Fairfax, VA Jun 20, 2011 $52,175
Public Relations & Community Relations Specialist The Resort at Pelican Hill CA Feb 10, 2014 $48,000
Communication Specialist/Pr Calliope com LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2011 $44,000
Corporate Communications/Relations Specialist Ferrante PLLC New York, NY Sep 12, 2014 $40,082

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Top Skills for A Community Relations Specialist

  1. Community Relations Activities
  2. Special Events
  3. Community Outreach
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Acted as federal agency liaison in community relations activities related to contaminated sites.
  • Executed community engagement initiatives including special events; maximizing the exposure, marketing and branding associated with each event.
  • Implemented various successful community outreach programs for the organization, which assisted in expanding the company's community involvement culture.
  • Established appropriate networks and relations at the university and with local community resources.
  • Communicated with local media regarding upcoming events through press releases and targeted outreach

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Top 10 Best States for Community Relations Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Alaska
  3. Virginia
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Washington
  6. Connecticut
  7. Nevada
  8. New Jersey
  9. Oregon
  10. Massachusetts
  • (151 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (325 jobs)
  • (43 jobs)
  • (243 jobs)
  • (96 jobs)
  • (54 jobs)
  • (226 jobs)
  • (133 jobs)
  • (321 jobs)

Community Relations Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

67.4%

Male

23.3%

Unknown

9.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.4%

Hispanic or Latino

16.0%

Black or African American

12.4%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.4%

French

6.9%

German

5.0%

Portuguese

4.0%

Tagalog

3.0%

Filipino

2.0%

Vietnamese

2.0%

Russian

2.0%

Polish

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Italian

2.0%

Chinese

1.0%

Japanese

1.0%

Deseret

1.0%

Mandarin

1.0%

Korean

1.0%
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Community Relations Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.2%

New York University

6.2%

Walden University

6.2%

University of Houston

6.2%

Temple University

4.8%

Ball State University

4.8%

Michigan State University

4.3%

Liberty University

4.3%

Baylor University

4.3%

Prairie View A & M University

3.8%

Arizona State University

3.8%

Webster University

3.8%

Houston Community College

3.8%

San Diego State University

3.8%

University of Central Florida

3.8%

Texas Southern University

3.8%

Ohio State University

3.8%

University of South Florida

3.3%

Pennsylvania State University

3.3%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.3%
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Majors

Business

24.0%

Communication

14.1%

Public Relations

8.1%

Marketing

6.1%

Journalism

4.8%

Education

4.3%

Management

4.3%

Psychology

4.3%

Political Science

3.6%

Social Work

3.0%

Public Administration

3.0%

Liberal Arts

2.8%

English

2.8%

Nursing

2.5%

Criminal Justice

2.5%

Kinesiology

2.4%

Health Care Administration

2.2%

Public Health

1.8%

Sociology

1.6%

Graphic Design

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.5%

Masters

25.7%

Other

12.5%

Associate

6.2%

Certificate

3.8%

Doctorate

1.3%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.4%
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