#1 Southern New Hampshire University Online
Southern New Hampshire University Online (SNHU Online) is a private, nonprofit institution offering an online Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Public Relations totaling 120 credit hours. It can take four years to finish this program. SNHU Online’s acceptance rate is 92%, with a 36% graduation rate.
SNHU Online facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning on D2L Brightspace. In this public relations program, students develop stakeholder collaboration, strategic planning, and communication development skills. Sample courses include Electronic Public Relations, Writing for Public Relations, and Web Site Design. Students are also required to complete a capstone. Prospective careers for graduates include social media managers, communication specialists, and political campaign managers.
#2 University of Florida
At the University of Florida (UF Online), a public institution, prospective students can pursue an online Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. Requiring 120 credit hours, this degree can take full-time students around four years to complete. The university’s acceptance rate is 66%, with a graduation rate is 72%.
UF Online’s students complete courses asynchronously and synchronously through the learning management system Canvas. This online public relations program prepares students to engage with the media and the public. Some of the degree's courses are Consumer and Audience Analytics, Diverse Voices, and Reporting. Potential career options for graduates include account coordinators, technical writers, and public relations specialists.
#3 Drexel University
Drexel University is a private, nonprofit university offering an online Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Public Relations, which equals 180-188 credit hours. It can take about four years to complete this degree online. Drexel accepts 83% of applicants, with 68% of students graduating.
At Drexel, online students complete coursework, which is delivered asynchronously and synchronously, through the platform Canvas. The program’s courses include Mass Media and Society, Techniques of Speaking, and Ethics and the Media. In addition to coursework, a seminar and senior project are required. Graduates may go on to pursue careers like brand managers, copywriters, and journalists.
#4 University of Alabama
The University of Alabama (UA) is a public institution with an online Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Information Sciences in Public Relations - Digital Communication totaling 120 credit hours. Prospective students can spend four years finishing this degree. UA’s acceptance rate is 79%, with a graduation rate of 69%.
UA facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning on Blackboard. A bachelor’s in public relations helps students better understand the relationship between an organization, the media, and society. Example courses include Digital Writing and Strategy, Social and Digital Media, and Mechanics of Media Writing. Six hours of capstone courses are also required to graduate. Future careers for graduates to pursue include communications managers, digital strategists, and content coordinators.
#5 Texas Tech University
At Texas Tech University (TTU), a public university, future students can pursue an online Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations & Strategic Communications Management, which requries120 credit hours. Full-time students can spend four years completing this program. TTU accepts 68% of applicants, with 63% of students graduating.
TTU’s online students complete coursework asynchronously and synchronously throught the platform Blackboard. This program prepares students for various careers in strategic communication management. Some of the program’s courses include Communicating a Global Society, News Writing, and Speaking for Business. An internship may be required to graduate. Potential careers for graduates include brand managers, event planners, and media relations managers.
Overview of Online Public Relations
There are three different online degree level options for public relations. Over the course of four years a bachelor's degree will prepare students for positions such as campaign manager, public relations coordinator, and public relations specialist. A master's program in public relations will enhance a student's knowledge in communication through technology and media. A master's program will typically take two years to complete and prepare graduates for above entry-level positions such as public relations manager, brand manager, and director of communications. Online undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are also available for people interested in receiving an education in the field of public relations.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Public Relations
Students can obtain an online bachelor's degree in public relations in four years, generally upon completing 120-credit hours. Participants will sharpen their skills in critical thinking, writing, strategic planning, and execution. These skills will lend assistance to building relationships between organizations and their public audiences, which is a necessity for graduates to perform in their follow up careers. Public relations programs require general education coursework along with major specific courses such as public speaking, public relations, journalism, social media, writing for public relations, organizational communications, and ethics. A high school diploma or equivalent must be obtained prior to enrolling in a bachelor's program along with a qualifying SAT or ACT test score. Depending on the school, a letter of recommendation may also be required. Graduates can seek entry-level job opportunities in both business and government as PR specialists, representatives, campaign managers, and PR coordinates. Public relations bachelor's programs are offered at both colleges and universities.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Public Relations Degree
Accreditation should always be considered when applying to institutions of higher education. Accreditation is the process in which colleges, universities, and educational programs are evaluated for quality and to ensure that acceptable levels of trainings are being conducted. Another important factor to consider is low-cost loans for students as only accredited institutions are able to participate in federal financial aid programs. Attending a regionally accredited school will also make the transfer process a lot easier for those who may be interested in changing their path in the future as regionally accredited colleges will most often accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions. Lastly, many employers are looking to hire graduates who have attended regionally accredited schools.It gives the employer more confidence that the applicant has been well trained in their field and will be a great asset to the organization.
Careers in Public Relations
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate in public relations is expected to rise 12 to 13 percent through the year 2022. With the rise in popularity of technology and social media, public relation specialists have become vital in the relationship between organizations and the general public. Key job titles within the industry include public relations specialist and public relations manager. Public relations specialists are hired to to maintain a positive company image through media and address any concerns that the general public may have about the organization. Job functions of a specialist include creating press releases, gathering requested data, determining ways to access target audience, and assisting the client in successfully communicating with the general public.
Public relations managers will oversee PR specialists to ensure that all tasks and projects are being completed within the company's or client's standards. They also focus on evolving their clients' images with social, political, and economical changes to keep in good standing with the public. In order to qualify for a manager position it will require a minimum of three years work experience along with an educational background. A typical work week for a public relations manager incudes creating logos and signs to keep up the clients' image, organizing events, crafting speeches, coordinating interviews, and creating press releases.
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