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Become A Public Information Officer

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Working As A Public Information Officer

  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $94,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Public Information Officer Do

Public relations managers plan and direct the creation of material that will maintain or enhance the public image of their employer or client. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that bring in donations for their organization.

Duties

Public relations managers typically do the following:

  • Write press releases and prepare information for the media
  • Identify main client groups and audiences and determine the best way to reach them
  • Designate an appropriate spokesperson or information source for media inquiries
  • Help clients communicate effectively with the public
  • Develop their organization's or client’s corporate image and identity
  • Assist and inform an organization’s executives and spokespeople
  • Devise advertising and promotion programs
  • Assign, supervise, and review the activities of staff

Fundraising managers typically do the following:

  • Manage progress towards achieving an organization’s fundraising goals
  • Develop and carry out fundraising strategies
  • Identify and contact potential donors
  • Create and plan different events that can generate donations
  • Meet face-to-face with highly important donors
  • Apply for grants
  • Assign, supervise, and review the activities of staff

Public relations managers review press releases and sponsor corporate events to help maintain and improve the image of their organization or client.

Public relations managers help to clarify their organization’s point of view to its main audience through media releases and interviews. They observe social, economic, and political trends that might ultimately affect their organization, and they recommend ways to enhance the firm's image based on those trends. For example, in response to a growing concern about the environment, the public relations manager for an oil company may create a campaign to publicize its efforts to develop cleaner fuels.

In large organizations, public relations managers often supervise a staff of public relations specialists. They also work with advertising, promotions, and marketing managers to ensure that advertising campaigns are compatible with the image the company or client is trying to portray. For example, if a firm decides to emphasize its appeal to a certain group, such as young people, the public relations manager needs to make sure that current advertisements are well received by that group.

In addition, public relations managers may handle internal communications, such as company newsletters, and may help financial managers produce an organization’s reports. They may also draft speeches, arrange interviews, and maintain other forms of public contact to help the organization’s top executives.

Public relations managers must be able to work well with many types of specialists to report the facts accurately. In some cases, the information they write has legal consequences. As a result, they must work with the company's or client's lawyers to be sure that the information they release is both legally accurate and clear to the public.

Fundraising managers oversee campaigns and events intended to bring in donations for their organization. Many organizations that employ fundraisers rely heavily on the donations they gather in order to run their operations.

Fundraising managers usually decide which fundraising techniques are necessary in a certain situation. Common techniques may include annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, or major gifts. In addition, social media has created a new avenue for fundraising managers to connect with more potential donors and to spread their organization’s message.

Those who work on annual campaigns focus heavily on contacting donors who have given in the past, and request that they give again. Finding new contacts for future donations is also a component of a successful annual campaign.

Capital campaigns are different; they are generally used to raise money over a shorter time period and for a specific project, such as the construction of a new building at a university.

Fundraisers who spend most of their time on planned giving must have specialized training in taxes regarding gifts of stocks, bonds, charitable annuities, and real estate bequests in a will. Major gifts are a feature of many different campaigns and are generally requested in person given the large value of the potential donation.

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How To Become A Public Information Officer

Public relations and fundraising managers need at least a bachelor’s degree, and some positions may require a master’s degree. Many years of related work experience are also necessary.

Education

For public relations and fundraising management positions, a bachelor's degree in public relations, communications, English, fundraising, or journalism is generally required. However, some employers prefer a master’s degree, particularly in public relations, journalism, fundraising, or nonprofit management.

Courses in advertising, business administration, public affairs, public speaking, and creative and technical writing can be helpful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not mandatory, public relations managers can get certified through the Public Relations Society of America. Candidates qualify based on years of experience and must pass an exam to become certified.

The International Association of Business Communicators offers a credential to demonstrate a level of knowledge and expertise.

The Certified Fund Raising Executive program, offered by CFRE International, is voluntary, but fundraisers who pursue certification demonstrate a level of professional competency to prospective employers. Candidates are required to have 5 years of work experience in fundraising and have 80 hours of continuing education through conference attendance and classroom instruction to qualify. Fundraisers must apply for renewal every 3 years to keep their certification valid.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Public relations and fundraising managers must have several years of experience in a related or entry-level position, such as a public relations specialist or fundraiser.

Lower level management positions may require only a few years of experience, whereas directors are more likely to need 5 to 10 years of related work experience.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Managers deal with the public regularly; therefore, they must be friendly enough to build rapport and receive cooperation from their media contacts and donors.

Leadership skills. Public relations and fundraising managers often lead large teams of specialists or fundraisers and must be able to guide their activities.

Organizational skills. Public relations and fundraising managers are often in charge of running several events at the same time, requiring superior organizational skills.

Problem-solving skills. Managers sometimes must explain how the 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 and fundraising managers regularly speak on behalf of their organization. When doing so, they must be able to explain the organization’s position clearly.

Writing skills. Managers 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 succinctly in order to keep the attention of busy readers or listeners.

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Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Public Information Officer
Reporter 13.9%
Internship 8.0%
Editor 6.8%
Owner 3.6%
Writer 3.6%
Top Careers After Public Information Officer
Director 7.0%
Consultant 4.7%
Owner 3.8%
Editor 3.7%
Instructor 3.5%
Reporter 3.3%
Manager 3.2%

Do you work as a Public Information Officer?

Public Information Officer Demographics

Gender

Female

54.8%

Male

43.2%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

62.5%

Hispanic or Latino

15.1%

Black or African American

12.2%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.0%

French

17.1%

Italian

5.7%

German

4.3%

Swedish

2.9%

Portuguese

1.4%

Chinese

1.4%

Finnish

1.4%

Dutch

1.4%

Mandarin

1.4%

Dakota

1.4%

Navajo

1.4%
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Public Information Officer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

7.4%

Arizona State University

6.7%

Florida State University

6.1%

American University

6.1%

Ohio State University

5.5%

University of Missouri - Columbia

5.5%

University of Alabama

4.9%

Ohio University -

4.9%

New York University

4.9%

The Academy

4.9%

Troy University

4.3%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.3%

University of Southern California

4.3%

West Virginia University

4.3%

San Diego State University

4.3%

Kent State University

4.3%

University of Texas at Austin

4.3%

Florida International University

4.3%

University of Oklahoma

4.3%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

4.3%
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Majors

Communication

20.0%

Journalism

14.6%

Business

10.6%

Public Relations

7.7%

Public Administration

5.9%

Criminal Justice

5.5%

English

5.3%

Political Science

4.7%

Marketing

4.0%

Management

3.1%

Agricultural Public Services

2.4%

Education

2.3%

History

2.3%

Journalism And Mass Communications

2.3%

Law

2.1%

Business Communications

1.7%

Homeland Security

1.5%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.3%

Psychology

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.2%

Masters

31.9%

Other

13.2%

Certificate

3.6%

Doctorate

2.5%

Associate

2.3%

Diploma

0.2%

License

0.1%
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Top Skills for A Public Information Officer

  1. Press Releases
  2. Web Application
  3. Public Information Office
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Generated press releases and public relations campaigns for businesses that seek assistance from the Chesapeake Economic Development Department.
  • Developed Q&A web application and provided responses on behalf of the Department Commissioner.
  • Assisted the county public information officer with the coordination and dissemination of information during a declared emergency or disaster.
  • Forged effective stakeholder and partner relationships, collaborating on community outreach, press conferences and video productions.
  • Compiled agency information and responded to public and media inquiries as department spokesperson.

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Top Public Information Officer Employers

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