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Career and Education Opportunities for Public Relations Specialists in Columbia, Maryland

Public relations specialists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Columbia, Maryland area. There are currently 2,870 jobs for public relations specialists in Maryland and this is projected to grow 18% to about 3,370 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for public relations specialists are expected to grow by about 24.0%. Public relations specialists generally 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.

A person working as a public relations specialist can expect to earn about $25 hourly or $53,660 annually on average in Maryland and about $24 per hour or $51,280 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. People working as public relations specialists can fill a number of jobs, such as: public information officer, consumer advocate, and public relations counselor.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including nineteen within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree 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 Columbia 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

Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University, 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059-0001. Howard University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,696 students and an admission rate of 49%. Howard University has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated zero, zero, and five students respectively in 2008.

Columbia Union College - Takoma Park, MD

Columbia Union College, 7600 Flower Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912. Columbia Union College is a small college located in Takoma Park, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 974 students. Columbia Union College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated five students in 2008.

Trinity Washington University - Washington, DC

Trinity Washington University, 125 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20017-1094. Trinity Washington University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,734 students and an admission rate of 74%. Trinity Washington University 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.

Loyola College in Maryland - Baltimore, MD

Loyola College in Maryland, 4501 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21210-2699. Loyola College in Maryland is a medium sized college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,080 students and an admission rate of 69%. Loyola College in Maryland has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated two students in 2008.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated nine students in 2008.

Marymount University - Arlington, VA

Marymount University, 2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207-4299. Marymount University is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,541 students and an admission rate of 84%. Marymount University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated twenty-five students in 2008.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has 2 areas of study related to Public Relations Specialist. They are:

  • Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric, bachelor's degree which graduated 50 students in 2008.
  • Public Relations/Image Management, master's degree which graduated 14 students in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has a bachelor's degree program in Political Communication which graduated two students in 2008.

McDaniel College - Westminster, MD

McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster, MD 21157. McDaniel College is a small college located in Westminster, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,896 students and an admission rate of 77%. McDaniel College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated thirty-two students in 2008.

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated thirty-two students in 2008.

Sojourner-Douglass College - Baltimore, MD

Sojourner-Douglass College, 500 N Caroline St, Baltimore, MD 21205-1898. Sojourner-Douglass College is a small college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,243 students. Sojourner-Douglass College has a two to four year program in Political Communication.

Catholic University of America - Washington, DC

Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20064. Catholic University of America is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,705 students and an admission rate of 81%. Catholic University of America has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated twenty-nine students in 2008.

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated eleven, three, and five students respectively in 2008.

American University - Washington, DC

American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016-8001. American University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,684 students and an admission rate of 53%. American University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated eight and fifty-six students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-University College - Adelphi, MD

University of Maryland-University College, 3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, MD 20783-8010. University of Maryland-University College is a large university located in Adelphi, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 34,130 students. University of Maryland-University College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated ninety-six students in 2008.

Gallaudet University - Washington, DC

Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Gallaudet University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,389 students and an admission rate of 64%. Gallaudet University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

Howard Community College - Columbia, MD

Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044-3197. Howard Community College is a medium sized college located in Columbia, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,905 students. Howard Community College has a one to two year program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

College of Notre Dame of Maryland - Baltimore, MD

College of Notre Dame of Maryland, 4701 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21210-2476. College of Notre Dame of Maryland is a small college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,935 students and an admission rate of 71%. College of Notre Dame of Maryland has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated sixteen and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

Goucher College - Baltimore, MD

Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Rd, Baltimore, MD 21204-2794. Goucher College is a small college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,321 students and an admission rate of 66%. Goucher College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated three students in 2008.

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: State Ethics Commission
Address: 9 State Circle, Suite 200, Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: (410) 974-2068
Website: State Ethics Commission

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.