Online Masters in Public Relations Advertising Programs
Earning an Online Masters Degree in Advertising and Public Relations
An online Masters degree in Advertising and Public Relations program can advance opportunities for graduates in these industries. Remote learning provides convenient ways for professionals to fit school into their work lifestyle. Still, Advertising and Public Relations careers tend to move at a fast pace. So, why pursue a Masters degree if you’re already engaged and busy at work?
There are potential advantages to earning a Masters in Advertising and Public Relations. These benefits include possible career advancement and increased salary. Here we investigate these programs to see how they might be worthy of consideration or even enrollment.
Key Factors for Choosing a Public Relations Program
Potential candidates exploring Public Relations degree programs have robust options. Several aspects of advanced degree programs in Advertising, PR, and Marketing could help make your decision a bit easier. Accreditation and reputation play an important role in how future employers may perceive a school. Prospective students may also investigate a school’s curriculum, faculty, and job placement potential.
Program Accreditation and Reputation
Prospective candidates may check a degree program’s reputation and accreditation online. At the school website they could likely find out the program’s accreditation status. But the school site may not be the most unbiased resource for assessing the program’s reputation. Accreditation is an official legitimacy check proving that a school meets regulatory standards. Checking for this may be a good start when culling a potential list of graduate schools.
School accreditation can help open up opportunities for enrolled students. For instance, federal tuition assistance, credit transfers, and state license exams require accreditation. School reputation is usually less standardized. Reputations often rely on the opinions and experiences of those who’ve studied in the program. Potential students may find reputation rankings online. They might also visit the school and speak with those currently enrolled students.
Faculty Expertise and Industry Connections
Professors with diverse expertise could bring various learning and networking opportunities to classrooms. Prospective students can usually find faculty profiles on school websites. Also, course lists often include professor names. School faculty profiles may not include these professors if they’re visiting or adjunct status. So, potential students could check online class lists to find relevant professors as well.
Course Curriculum and Concentrations
An online Masters degree in Advertising and Public Relations program can offer many courses and concentrations. They span from Applied Communications or Social Media Management to Media and Journalism. Enrolled students may explore and select a specialization while fulfilling degree requirements. Potential students could compare schools’ curricula on their websites. This comparison may help them discern which programs might suit their interest and goals best.
Internship and job placement opportunities
Master’s programs with ample internship opportunities often attract prospective students. Some information may be available on the program website, likely in a career center section. Curious candidates could also talk to enrolled students about internships during an on-site visit. Though more involved, such efforts might yield more thorough and relatable results. No matter your method, many universities have job placement counseling and programs. Potential students could ask a school’s career center for data about job placement rates in the school’s master’s programs. These numbers may otherwise be challenging to find because there aren’t standard rules for measuring these rates.
Future Trends in Public Relations and Advertising
Trend experts predict the future of public relations and advertising as bright and ever-evolving. PR and advertising leaders learn this by looking at societal shifts then drawing parallels to their industry. There are several key examples. For instance, corporate social responsibility matters. Influencer marketing continues to impact marketing. In addition, business segments and industries are converging.1
The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility
There’s no single definition for corporate social responsibility (CSR). In a general sense, CSR serves as a company’s aim to benefit society as part of a corporate mission. This could be as simple as donating to a non-profit cause or involve partnering with a charity for mutual benefit. That may mean a monetary gain for either or both while also enhancing the corporation’s image.
The Increasing Impact of Influencer Marketing
Influencers on social media retain thousands, sometimes millions, of followers and fans who view and value their online content. Marketing with influencers usually involves a collaboration with a brand or company. The corporation typically pays an influencer to promote their product. This may work with a formal and exclusive contract. Sometimes it’s an informal engagement where the partnership benefits both parties.
The Convergence of Advertising and Public Relations
Advertising and public relations promote their clients and boost their public engagement. Both ad agencies and PR firms work to increase awareness and positive reputation. But advertising also aim to increase sales for a company. With public relations, goals may often seem less tangible. That’s because PR tends to focus on enhancing a client’s image.
When the two come together, such as a celebrity endorsement, both could benefit. For example, if a corporation’s product boosts a celebrity’s image and the celebrity brings clout to the corporation. These partnerships often marry a corporation seeking to enhance their image in a specific way with a representative that exemplifies that quality. In a case like this, the public relations team behind such a celebrity often plays a significant role in the collaboration. The advertising campaign also might impact the celebrity’s public image.
Tips for Success in a Public Relations Master’s Program
The keys to success in a Public Relations Master’s program revolve around developing communications, branding, and media expertise. That means creating a network and brand for yourself while learning how to keep current on PR news and trends.
Building a Strong Professional Network
There are three steps Master’s degree in Public Relations students might take to create a network of industry contacts. Taking advantage of internship opportunities could connect students with vital members of the PR community. Finding an industry mentor may help public relations graduate students bridge the gap between school and career. Also, developing connections with professors might help with references as well as communication skills.
Developing a Personal Brand
Personal brands help create a compelling presentation for what you’re all about. Matching your words and actions to how you want others to see you makes this work. That means representing your values in the way you behave and talk. An example might be highlighting your commitment to fitness by working out in a gym and eating at healthy restaurants.
The key to personal branding is visibility. So, matching your actions and intentions could help kickoff the first step. Then project that image to others. Many find social media a useful conduit for visibility in the personal branding process.
Your personal brand could help show tangible examples of your image management talents in public relations. After all, you’ve put it into practice on your own.
Staying Current with Industry News and Trends
The public relations industry works in a constant state of evolution. That’s largely thanks to social media and 24/7 news cycle. Publicists also need to stay keyed into their clients’ images, requiring a lot of media awareness to stay relevant.
Publicists work to balance media consumption with work hours to create a system for checking the PR industry pulse. Many select a curated set of top communications outlets for this. This may include podcasts, blogs, and a helpful team of industry cohorts. A collaborative process like this might help keep a publicist’s news gathering efficient and relevant to their clients’ images.
Career Opportunities for Public Relations Graduates
Public relations graduates could pursue several career options. These jobs may be in publicity as well as marketing, advertising, communications, media, government, and more. An online Masters degree in Advertising and Public Relations can advance career options for candidates in these fields to expand their opportunities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in advertising and public relations are predicted as fast-growing fields through the period from 2022-2032:
- Employment of advertising, promotions, & marketing managers is projected to grow 6%2
- Employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow 6%3
- Employment of public relations and fundraising managers is projected to grow 6%4
Public Relations and Advertising Agencies
PR and ad agencies may offer positions like Account Executive and Public Relations Specialist or Publicist. They also provide higher level jobs for managers and directors. Careers at public relations firms and advertising agencies may be stressful with some working more than 40 hours per week.5
However, agency jobs like these also have many benefits. For instance, work created in these positions often impacts the firm’s bottom line. That’s why contributing employees often work alongside top executives. There’s also typically a variety of clients, companies, and a shifting landscape of products to promote. This lively workplace culture may help keep agency work interesting and cut down on the boredom factor.
Corporate communications and media relations
Some Public Relations Specialists or Publicists may focus more on their communications and media skills. Jobs in corporate and communications and media relations could be well suited to these interests and talents.
Often called Communication Specialists as well, Public Relations Specialists may evaluate, represent, and help maintain their client’s image. This work often involves drafting speeches and press releases as well as media communications. PR Specialists may also work closely with clients to help them answer media questions representing themselves in the best possible light.
Nonprofit Organizations and Government Agencies
Graduates with an online Masters degree in Advertising and Public Relations may also pursue work as a Press Secretary for government or nonprofit agencies.7 These positions often parallel the work involved in communications and media relations. In addition, they may also involve fundraising. For instance, government officials seeking election and maintaining their role, often rely on private and public contributions via fundraising.8
Raising money for nonprofits has evolved. For instance, in the twentieth century fundraising efforts have converged online. This shift has combined the efforts of public and private entities seeking donations. That’s why nonprofits may offer more exciting opportunities than ever for careers developing creative outreach and robust donor relationships. Jobs in this sector often also involve grant writing and event planning which can help fuel growth among nonprofits while legitimizing them and increasing their visibility.
Popular Schools with Online Masters Degree in Advertising and Public Relations Program
Admissions and Program Length
Admissions prerequisite for entry to online graduate degree in Public Relations degree programs is a Bachelor’s degree in a field related to communications; GRE score; and acceptable GPA. An online Masters degree in Advertising and Public Relations usually are about a 2-year program. This may include internships, class projects, thesis development and defense. It’s always recommended to verify this because online programs may vary in length to their campus counterparts.
Typically online Masters degree in Advertising and Public Relations programs coursework focuses on:
- Strategic communications
- Media relations
- Public affairs
- Crisis communication
- Digital marketing
- Social media
- Marketing Strategies
- Market Research
- Reputation Management
- Public relations campaigns
Finding the Right Online Masters in Public Relations Degree Program
Students may find online Public Relations programs as part of a Masters in Business Administration, Journalism, Communications or Marketing department. Sometimes there are also dedicated Public Relations departments at schools. Search through the GradSchool.com directory to find options such as online Master of Arts in Public Relations, MA emerging Media online, online Master of Business Administration – Public Relations or MBA in Marketing degree programs.
What are Masters in Public Relations or Advertising Fields?
The fields of public relations advertising, media, marketing, technology, entertainment, and journalism are interrelated. Advertising is a type of marketing communication used to promote or sell a product or service. While public relations manages the spread of information between an individual, government office or business and the public.
A decision to choose a Master’s in Advertising degree over a Public Relations Master’s depends on specific preferences, the course selections, and the career aspirations of the student.
Career Trends in Public Relations and Advertising
Earning an online Masters degree in Advertising and Public Relations may prepare graduates for a variety of potential career paths in businesses, non-profit organizations, government, or as consultants with individuals as clients. Examples of careers include:
- Public Relations Managers review press releases and sponsor corporate events to help maintain and improve the image of their organization or client. They identify target audiences and implement communication, advertising and promotional campaigns. This often involves leading staff, and collaborating with clients, their lawyers and other PR Specialists such as Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers.
- Fundraising Managers oversee campaigns and events intended to bring in donations for their organization. Those who focus on planned giving must have special tax training regarding gifts of stocks, bonds, charitable annuities, and real estate bequests.
- Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers plan programs to generate interest in products or services. They work with department heads such as Art Directors, Sales Agents, and financial staff. Some Advertising Managers, such as Media Directors, specialize in a specific field of advertising. This list includes radio, television, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, and outdoor signs.
- Public Relations Specialists are communications and media specialists. They may write press releases, help clients communicate with the public, and try to get stories covered by different platforms instead of paying through advertising campaigns.
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|California-Lexington Park, MD||$108,460||60|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$101,940||13,780|
|Niles-Benton Harbor, MI||$84,180||270|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$81,260||22,100|
|Austin-Round Rock, TX||$77,540||5,280|
DID YOU KNOW? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists was $78,880 in May 2022.9
If you enjoy speaking and writing, have great interpersonal skills, love to solve problems and potentially lead or manage others, a masters public relations might be an exciting field of study for you. Take advantage of the listings below to find the one that aligns with your goals!
GradSchools.com Offers 9 Graduate Schools with Masters in Public Relations Online Programs
Sources: 1 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm | 2 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm#tab-6 | 3 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm#tab-6 | 4 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm#tab-6 | 5 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm#tab-3 | 6 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/home.htm | 7 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm#tab-2 | 8 https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/candidate-taking-receipts/types-contributions/#:~:text=Contributions%20are%20the%20most%20common,to%20influence%20a%20federal%20election. | 9 https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131161.htm
Loyola University Maryland
University of Denver
Montana State University - Billings
University of Maryland Global Campus
Eastern Michigan University
Notre Dame of Maryland University
University of West Florida