The Career Path in Public Relations
Salary Range: $22,000 to $30,000 Track: Assistant, Assistant Account Executive
Yes, you will be overwhelmed by a variety of tedious tasks, but it is a great opportunity to learn your way around an office, especially if you've never worked in one before. You will also start learning the basics of public relations by managing endless details like traveling arrangements and your boss' schedule, and organizing meetings. Most people spend no more than a year as an assistant. If you don't know Power Point yet learn. Also, the photocopier and the IT staff will become your best friends.
Salary Range: $30,000 to $60,000 Track: Account Executive, Senior Account Executive, Account Supervisor, Senior Account Supervisor
By this point in your career you finally have your own business cards, and, if you are lucky, an assistant to share with your team. At this level you are given more responsibility and more autonomy. Responsibilities include day-to-day interaction with clients, writing press releases and other communications materials, and arranging press events.
At this level, some public relations professionals begin moving from the agency side of the business into positions on the client side, working in the communications departments of corporations. Some also enter the government, working as press secretaries.
Management or Specialization
Salary Range: $75,000+ Track: Vice President, Senior Vice President, General Manager, President
You've made it! You have mastered your trade. Primary responsibilities include developing new business, maintaining relationships with high-level clients, developing highly sensitive communication strategies, and in some cases, management of the firm as a whole.
At this level, many public relations professionals develop their specialty even further, becoming a communications expert in a particular field like health, finance or consumer products. Some move onto the client side to run corporate communications departments or to become an investor relations executive. Those with a more entrepreneurial spirit go off on their own, finding their own clients and starting their own firms.