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Career and Education Opportunities for Public Relations Specialists in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for public relations specialists. There are currently 5,800 working public relations specialists in Washington; this should grow 18% to about 6,830 working public relations specialists in the state 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%. 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.

A person working as a public relations specialist can expect to earn about $27 hourly or $56,400 annually on average in Washington and about $24 per hour or $51,280 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Jobs in this field include: public relations specialist , public relations officer, and sports information director.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including four within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a public relations specialist. The most common level of education for public relations specialists is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Seattle 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 Puget Sound - Tacoma, WA

University of Puget Sound, 1500 N Warner, Tacoma, WA 98416. University of Puget Sound is a small university located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,829 students and an admission rate of 65%. University of Puget Sound has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated two students in 2008.

Seattle Pacific University - Seattle, WA

Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119-1997. Seattle Pacific University is a small university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,891 students and an admission rate of 84%. Seattle Pacific University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated sixty-three students in 2008.

Seattle University - Seattle, WA

Seattle University, 900 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122-4340. Seattle University is a medium sized university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,560 students and an admission rate of 65%. Seattle University has 2 areas of study related to Public Relations Specialist. They are:

  • Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric, bachelor's degree which graduated 37 students in 2008.
  • Public Relations/Image Management, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated forty-seven, eight, and eight students respectively 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.