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Career and Education Opportunities for Public Relations Specialists in Chicago, Illinois

For those living in the Chicago, Illinois area, there are many career and education opportunities for public relations specialists. There are currently 7,560 jobs for public relations specialists in Illinois and this is projected to grow 18% to 8,900 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for public relations specialists, which sees this job pool growing by about 24.0% over the next eight years. In general, public relations specialists engage in promoting or creating good will for individuals, groups, or organizations by writing or selecting favorable publicity material and releasing it through various communications media.

The income of a public relations specialist is about $23 per hour or $49,530 per year on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $24 hourly or $51,280 annually on average. Public relations specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: marketing coordinator, information and communications specialist, and communications specialist.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including twenty within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a public relations specialist. Public relations specialists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be a public relations specialist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Public Relations Specialist

Public Relations Specialist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, public relations specialists engage in promoting or creating good will for individuals, groups, or organizations by writing or selecting favorable publicity material and releasing it through various communications media. They also may prepare and arrange displays, and make speeches.

Public relations specialists respond to requests for data from the media or designate another appropriate spokesperson or data source. They also arrange public appearances or exhibits for clients to increase product and service awareness and to promote goodwill. Equally important, public relations specialists have to talk with other managers to pinpoint trends and key group interests and concerns or to furnish advice on business decisions. They are often called upon to ready or edit organizational publications for internal and external audiences, including employee newsletters and stockholders' reports. Finally, public relations specialists talk with production and support personnel to produce or direct production of advertisements and promotions.

Every day, public relations specialists are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they speak clearly.

It is important for public relations specialists to establish and maintain cooperative relationships with representatives of community and public interest groups. They are often called upon to study the objectives, promotional policies and needs of organizations to optimize public relations strategies that will influence public opinion or promote concepts, products and services. They also confer with advertising agencies or staff to organize promotional campaigns in all types of media for products, organizations, or individuals. They are sometimes expected to formulate and direct development and communication of informational programs to maintain favorable public and stockholder perceptions of an organization's accomplishments and agenda. Somewhat less frequently, public relations specialists are also expected to purchase advertising space and time as used to promote client's product or agenda.

Public relations specialists sometimes are asked to formulate and conduct market and public opinion research to test products or decide on potential for product success, communicating results to client or management. They also have to be able to ready and deliver speeches to further public relations objectives and talk with production and support personnel to produce or direct production of advertisements and promotions. And finally, they sometimes have to ready or edit organizational publications for internal and external audiences, including employee newsletters and stockholders' reports.

Like many other jobs, public relations specialists must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Copy Writer. Write advertising copy for use by publication or broadcast media to promote sale of goods and services.
  • Interpreter. Translate or interpret written, oral, or sign language text into another language for others.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Public Relations Specialist Training

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated one and seven students respectively in 2008.

Trinity Christian College - Palos Heights, IL

Trinity Christian College, 6601 W College Dr, Palos Heights, IL 60463-0929. Trinity Christian College is a small college located in Palos Heights, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,404 students and an admission rate of 94%. Trinity Christian College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated one student in 2008.

DePaul University - Chicago, IL

DePaul University, 55 E Jackson, Chicago, IL 60604. DePaul University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 22,554 students. DePaul University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated 289 and twenty-eight students respectively in 2008.

Benedictine University - Lisle, IL

Benedictine University, 5700 College Rd, Lisle, IL 60532-0900. Benedictine University is a medium sized university located in Lisle, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,053 students and an admission rate of 80%. Benedictine University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

Roosevelt University - Chicago, IL

Roosevelt University, 430 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605-1394. Roosevelt University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,708 students and an admission rate of 43%. Roosevelt University has 2 areas of study related to Public Relations Specialist. They are:

  • Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric, bachelor's degree.
  • Public Relations/Image Management, bachelor's degree.

Indiana University-Northwest - Gary, IN

Indiana University-Northwest, 3400 Broadway, Gary, IN 46408-1197. Indiana University-Northwest is a small university located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,794 students and an admission rate of 80%. Indiana University-Northwest has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated five students in 2008.

Trinity International University - Deerfield, IL

Trinity International University, 2065 Half Day Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015-1283. Trinity International University is a small university located in Deerfield, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,654 students and an admission rate of 63%. Trinity International University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

Purdue University-Calumet Campus - Hammond, IN

Purdue University-Calumet Campus, 2200 169th St, Hammond, IN 46323-2094. Purdue University-Calumet Campus is a medium sized university located in Hammond, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 9,325 students and an admission rate of 74%. Purdue University-Calumet Campus has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated fifty-nine and eleven students respectively in 2008.

North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central College, 30 N Brainard St, Naperville, IL 60540. North Central College is a small college located in Naperville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,726 students and an admission rate of 69%. North Central College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

North Park University - Chicago, IL

North Park University, 3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4895. North Park University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,255 students and an admission rate of 30%. North Park University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated one student in 2008.

Dominican University - River Forest, IL

Dominican University, 7900 W Division St, River Forest, IL 60305. Dominican University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,413 students and an admission rate of 85%. Dominican University has 2 areas of study related to Public Relations Specialist. They are:

  • Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Public Relations/Image Management, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Lake Forest College - Lake Forest, IL

Lake Forest College, 555 N Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045-2399. Lake Forest College is a small college located in Lake Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,387 students and an admission rate of 59%. Lake Forest College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

Saint Xavier University - Chicago, IL

Saint Xavier University, 3700 W 103rd St, Chicago, IL 60655. Saint Xavier University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,307 students and an admission rate of 71%. Saint Xavier University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated one student in 2008.

Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200. Lewis University is a medium sized university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,536 students and an admission rate of 71%. Lewis University has 2 areas of study related to Public Relations Specialist. They are:

  • Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric, bachelor's degree.
  • Public Relations/Image Management, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Wheaton College - Wheaton, IL

Wheaton College, 501 College Ave, Wheaton, IL 60187-5593. Wheaton College is a small college located in Wheaton, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,915 students and an admission rate of 62%. Wheaton College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated four students in 2008.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated two, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Governors State University - University Park, IL

Governors State University, 1 University Pky, University Park, IL 60466-0975. Governors State University is a medium sized university located in University Park, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,457 students. Governors State University has a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago, 820 N. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611-9810. Loyola University Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,670 students and an admission rate of 74%. Loyola University Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated nine students in 2008.

Calumet College of Saint Joseph - Whiting, IN

Calumet College of Saint Joseph, 2400 New York Ave, Whiting, IN 46394. Calumet College of Saint Joseph is a small college located in Whiting, Indiana. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,147 students. Calumet College of Saint Joseph has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated one student in 2008.

Concordia University - River Forest, IL

Concordia University, 7400 Augusta, River Forest, IL 60305-1499. Concordia University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,185 students and an admission rate of 58%. Concordia University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Special Events Professional: The CSEP designation is the hallmark of professional achievement in the special events industry.

For more information, see the International Special Events Society website.

Certified Speaking Professional: The Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, conferred by the National Speakers Association and the International Federation for Professional Speakers, is the speaking profession's international measure of professional platform skill.

For more information, see the National Speakers Association website.

Accreditation in Public Relations: APR certification proves you have successfully demonstrated competency in the knowledge, skills and abilities required to practice public relations effectively in today's business arena.

For more information, see the Public Relations Society of America website.

Certified Recycling Systems Professional: Earning this certification shows your employer and your colleagues that you are committed to only the highest standards in our industry.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

LICENSES

LOBBYIST

Licensing agency: Illinois Secretary of State Index Department
Address: Capitol Building, Room 213, Springfield, IL 62756

Phone: (217) 782-7017
Website: Illinois Secretary of State Index Department

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.