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Getting Your Distance Learning Diploma in Public Relations

written by: Ashley Hansen•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 3/9/2010

Public relations is a competitive field, so you should consider making yourself more marketable to employers by pursuing a degree in public relations. Few schools offer a distance learning diploma in public relations, one of which is Ashford University.

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    What to Expect

    A degree in public relations (PR) can lead to a successful career working with a PR firm or as an individual consultant. Some public relations graduates branch off into a similar field, like advertising or marketing. Either way, a degree is recommended if you are looking at a career in public relations. Many colleges do not offer a PR-specific degree program; rather, it is typically incorporated into a communications, advertising or marketing degree. However, some colleges have started to add a degree that is specifically for public relations. Having a degree that focuses on PR will show a potential employer your dedication to this field. By going online for this degree, you can easily incorporate it into your schedule and complete the program at your own pace.

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    Where to Go

    While several online universities offer programs in communications, journalism or another media-related field, very few offer a bachelors degree public relations. One of the best online programs in this field is offered through Ashford University. This school offers a bachelors degree in Public Relations and Marketing. There are several benefits to this program. It requires a total of 120 credit hours to complete (46 of which cover general education courses), which is similar to any university you might attend in person. Students can also transfer up to 99 credits from another school to apply towards their degree from Ashford.

    Students in this degree program take a wide variety of courses to prepare them for a career in public relations, including marketing, advertising, branding, corporate communications, strategic planning, message development, and problem analysis. The program also requires that students complete a capstone course where they will use the knowledge they've gained to create a marketing plan. This capstone project will provide great material for a portfolio when graduates go on to look for jobs.

    Applicants to this program must have a high school diploma or a GED. If the applicant is under 22 years of age, they must receive approval from the Registrar's Office before applying. Through the online format, students take just one class at a time for five weeks each. The program costs are moderate at $354 per credit. Several payment options are available, including financial aid, military tuition assistance and direct employer billing.

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    Jobs and Earnings

    Public relations graduates can look at a wide variety of job opportunities. Some choose to go in a sales direction, while other are creative directors or team managers. PR specialists can also start a consulting business working with their own clients, which could be individuals, corporations or small businesses.

    Salaries vary depending on the specific job, but PR specialists typically make over $50,000 a year. Those working for advertising or PR firms make around $55,000, while those working at a government agency make around $51,000.

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    Prospective students who are interested in a public relations career should check out Ashford University for its well-regarded and complete degree program in this field. Many other programs can be found online in similar fields, like communications or marketing. However, earning a distance learning diploma in public relations not only gives you the advantage of taking classes from home, it also shows your distinct interest in public relations as opposed to a general media communications field.

    Reference: Ashford University: