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Become A Public Information Specialist

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Working As A Public Information Specialist

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

  • Stressful

  • $53,555

    Average Salary

What Does A Public Information 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 Public Information 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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Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Public Information Specialist
Reporter 11.9%
Editor 6.0%
Internship 5.3%
Director 4.6%
Volunteer 4.0%
Top Careers After Public Information Specialist
Owner 5.1%
President 5.1%
Editor 3.9%

Do you work as a Public Information Specialist?

Public Information Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

62.1%

Male

35.2%

Unknown

2.7%
Ethnicity

White

65.8%

Hispanic or Latino

12.3%

Black or African American

12.1%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.4%

French

21.1%

Italian

5.3%

Vietnamese

5.3%
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Public Information Specialist Education

Schools

West Virginia University

10.4%

University of Texas at Austin

7.5%

Auburn University

7.5%

Ohio University -

6.0%

University of South Carolina - Columbia

6.0%

University of Missouri - Columbia

6.0%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

6.0%

Florida State University

6.0%

University of Florida

4.5%

Boston University

4.5%

Wayne State University

4.5%

Florida International University

4.5%

Old Dominion University

4.5%

Northwestern University

4.5%

Idaho State University

3.0%

Cleveland State Community College

3.0%

Marshall University

3.0%

Elon University

3.0%

Washington State University

3.0%

University of New England

3.0%
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Majors

Communication

19.8%

Journalism

17.7%

Business

10.5%

Public Relations

8.4%

English

6.3%

Public Administration

5.5%

Writing

4.2%

Graphic Design

3.8%

Political Science

3.4%

Law

3.4%

Agricultural Public Services

2.1%

Marketing

2.1%

Journalism And Mass Communications

2.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.7%

Educational Leadership

1.7%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

1.7%

Social Work

1.7%

Public Health

1.3%

Psychology

1.3%

Photography

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.7%

Masters

32.8%

Other

8.7%

Doctorate

5.1%

Associate

4.5%

Certificate

4.2%
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Real Public Information Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Public Information Specialist American Geophysical Union Washington, DC Oct 19, 2009 $55,016
Public Information Specialist American Geophysical Union Washington, DC Aug 03, 2009 $55,016
Public Information Specialist American Geophysical Union Washington, DC Aug 10, 2009 $55,016
Public Information Specialist American Geophysical Union Washington, DC Aug 31, 2009 $55,016
Public Information Specialist VCA Medical, Inc. Miami, FL Nov 08, 2016 $49,000
Public Information Specialist Somaly Mam Foundation New York, NY Sep 22, 2010 $41,018
Public Information Specialist Somaly Mam Foundation New York, NY Sep 30, 2010 $41,018

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Top Skills for A Public Information Specialist

  1. Press Releases
  2. Web
  3. Public Information Office
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed press releases for local and national media outlets, conducted public information events at community gatherings and large expositions.
  • Web Design Management: Increased department Internet traffic 65 percent by coordinating website communication redesign.
  • Represented the Public Safety Department as Public Information Officer (PIO) during events, emergency incidents and/or disasters.
  • Research and write about issues affecting women* Community outreach including giving speeches and composing press releases* Special events coordinator
  • Participated in high-level community events and breaking news stories of public interest.

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Top Public Information Specialist Employers

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