Public Affairs Specialists are in charge of crafting, growing, and maintaining a client's or company's brand and image. Their job involves finding opportunities to create positive public and media attention, as well as maintaining already existing relationships and forming new ones with the client's media network.

Some individuals in this role are specialized in avoiding and dealing with crises and issues. The job typically requires a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations, Communication, Journalism, or English, though some employers will accept a number of years of experience in this position instead, or a mix of education and experience. IT and social media knowledge is also a bonus.

What Does a Public Affairs Specialist Do

There are certain skills that many public affairs specialists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed organizational skills, problem-solving skills and speaking skills.

Learn more about what a Public Affairs Specialist does

How To Become a Public Affairs Specialist

If you're interested in becoming a public affairs specialist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 70.4% of public affairs specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 14.6% of public affairs specialists have master's degrees. Even though most public affairs specialists have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Public Affairs Specialist

Public Affairs Specialist Career Paths

Average Salary for a Public Affairs Specialist

Public Affairs Specialists in America make an average salary of $66,383 per year or $32 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $102,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $43,000 per year.
Average Public Affairs Specialist Salary
$66,383 Yearly
$31.91 hourly
$43,000
10 %
$66,000
Median
$102,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Public Affairs Specialist Education

Public Affairs Specialist Majors

11.8 %

Public Affairs Specialist Degrees

Bachelors

70.4 %

Masters

14.6 %

Associate

9.3 %

Top Colleges for Public Affairs Specialists

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

5. University of Houston

Houston, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,913
Enrollment
37,291

6. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

7. Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,853
Enrollment
14,759

8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

9. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

10. Marquette University

Milwaukee, WI • Private

In-State Tuition
$41,870
Enrollment
8,200

Top Skills For a Public Affairs Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 9.5% of public affairs specialists listed news stories on their resume, but soft skills such as organizational skills and problem-solving skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Public Affairs Specialist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Public Affairs Specialist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Public Affairs Specialist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Public Affairs Specialist Demographics

Public Affairs Specialist Gender Distribution

Female
Female
53%
Male
Male
47%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among public affairs specialists, 52.8% of them are women, while 47.2% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among public affairs specialists is White, which makes up 72.5% of all public affairs specialists.

  • The most common foreign language among public affairs specialists is Spanish at 56.7%.

Online Courses For Public Affairs Specialist That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
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Best States For a Public Affairs Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a public affairs specialist. The best states for people in this position are Virginia, Connecticut, Washington, and New Jersey. Public affairs specialists make the most in Virginia with an average salary of $92,207. Whereas in Connecticut and Washington, they would average $86,760 and $83,061, respectively. While public affairs specialists would only make an average of $82,899 in New Jersey, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Public Affairs Specialist Jobs:
312
Highest 10% Earn:
$152,000
Location Quotient:
3.06 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Virginia

Total Public Affairs Specialist Jobs:
703
Highest 10% Earn:
$145,000
Location Quotient:
1.23 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Rhode Island

Total Public Affairs Specialist Jobs:
78
Highest 10% Earn:
$115,000
Location Quotient:
1.06 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Public Affairs Specialists

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Becoming a Public Affairs Specialist FAQs

How long does it take to become a PR specialist?

It takes four to five years to become a PR specialist. This includes a four-year bachelor's degree and training, which can take anywhere from one month to 12 months.

All of these majors incorporate the skills it takes to be an effective PR specialist, but a bachelor's in communication may be the ideal option. This is because a PR specialist needs to have outstanding interpersonal, writing, problem-solving, speaking, and organizational skills.

Is public affairs a good career?

Yes, public affairs is a good career. In fact, public affairs are ranked the number three in best creative and media job writing, according to U.S. News & World Report. Public affairs cover a broad range of activities in government, business, and social services, giving you a wide variety of choices for employment.

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