Public Relations Salary Ranges

As described in an earlier article, the demand for public relations professionals is high today, largely because of the explosion on social media. This is encouraging for current PR folks as well as for students seeking to major in PR.

The median annual salary for a PR specialist in 2017 was nearly $60,000 according to U.S. News & World Report. The low was almost $44,000 while the high nearly topped off at $90,000.

Demand and geography have a major role in the salaries being offered. Washington, D.C., for example, had the highest salaries for PR specialists with annual salaries of $100,120. San Francisco trailed DC at a distance reporting in at $94,140 and then San Jose, California.

Washington, D.C. led the 50 states in comparing states with the highest annual salaries for PR specialists. Virginia trailed at $78,980 followed by California. New York state landed in 5th place with a $72,130 average.

Another site, salary.com, reported slightly different numbers. They indicated that a public relations specialist with a bachelor’s degree and with no experience or up to two years of experience earns an average of $53,235 annually. At that same level but with more than seven years of experience, they said the average salary for a public relations specialist went up to $107,722.

What is markedly clear is that public relations salaries also differ by location. Glassdoor reported that the average public annual relations base salary nationwide is currently $45,498. Los Angeles, California reported in with slightly higher numbers with an annual average of $47,217, Miami-Fort Lauderdale at $39,966, Seattle, Washington at $48,419, New York City at $45,485, Houston, Texas at $43,420, Denver, Colorado at $45,256, and Boston, Maryland at $47,383.

When U.S. News and World Report compared the average salary of PR specialists to what they judged to be similar jobs, the results were rather interesting. They reported that marketing managers average $145,620 a year, while art directors earned $103,510, technical writers $74,440, and interpreters and translators $51,790.

What’s encouraging is that PR salaries escalate fairly well as PR folks get promoted within the profession. Payscale.com reported PR managers average $65,523 annually. And as of July 31, 2019, salary.com reports that the average annual salary for a Director of Public Relations was $134,280. They were also quick to point out that the range they use varies by location with a low of $42,000 and a high of $97,000.

However, salary.com also noted that other factors including education, certification, years of experience, and additional skills can also affect salaries. Continuing education and certification are apparently valuable to pursue. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), which we wrote about in an earlier article, not only offers continuing education courses but also accredits members who pass their test.

In summary, the future of public relations looks very good. Demand for qualified PR professionals is expected to increase and increasing salaries will accompany that as well. Besides considering courses by PRSA, think about other areas of public relations that your company utilizes and determine if gaining more knowledge in any of them would enhance your chances of a promotion and/or a raise. Some of these might include data analysis, SEO, AI, and web design.