The role of a public relations specialist can vary significantly by workplace. Some specialists work in the marketing or PR department of an organization. Others represent clients by working in a PR firm. Despite these variables, some commonality exists in the work environments of specialists across the public relations domain.
Civic or professional organizations accounted for 22 percent of the PR professionals as of 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Technical services companies employed 17 percent, while educational services accounted for 13 percent. Health care and government-affiliated agencies employed the remaining bulk of PR specialists.
Where Work Happens
Much of the typical day for a PR specialist is spent in an office setting. Time is used to interact with other marketing or PR team members, company leaders or clients. Specialists also use computers to prepare PR plans, press releases, internal and external e-mails and documents. Depending on the employer, you may have to travel and work on-site with clients, or deliver presentations on behalf of the employer or client.
Other Environmental Factors
A public relations specialist must have a high degree of versatility and stress tolerance. You typically work on multiple projects or for more than one client at a time. This essentially requires that you perform a communication and task-juggling act throughout the day. When working on a deadline, PR work can get stressful. Clients often need certain types of communications or events to take place in a timely manner. This urgency sometimes leads to late night and early morning hours on the job.
You normally need a bachelor's degree in business, marketing, public relations, communication, journalism or a related field. PR specialists often start in internship roles while finishing school before earning a full-time position as a specialist. Excellent interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication skills, research abilities, organization and problem-solving abilities are all essential to success in the position. An advanced degree or several years of proven abilities in a specialist role may lead to manager opportunities.