Online Bachelor’s in Public Relations Programs 2021

Advertisement AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Search for online colleges by subject.

Best Online Bachelor's in Public Relations Programs badge

Public relations careers require strong writing, communication, and problem-solving skills. A bachelor’s degree in public relations builds the knowledge and skills required for entry-level roles in the field.

Public relations professionals benefit from above-average salaries and strong demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), public relations specialists make a median salary of more than $61,000 per year. The BLS projects jobs for these professionals to grow 7% between 2019-2029.

Advertisement AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.

This guide ranks the best online public relations bachelor’s degrees for 2021. It also includes information on common courses and scholarship opportunities for public relations students.

Top 10 Programs for Public Relations

FAQ


  • How long does it take to get a public relations degree?

    Earning a bachelor’s in public relations typically takes four years for full-time students. Transfer students and those who choose an accelerated program may graduate faster.


  • What kinds of jobs can you get with a public relations degree?

    Public relations degree jobs include roles like public relations specialist, public relations manager, advertising specialist, and market research analyst.


  • Is a public relations degree worth it?

    Public relations students build widely applicable skills that prepare them for careers that offer above-average salaries and strong projected job growth, making the degree a worthwhile investment for many students.


  • What is the difference between public relations and marketing?

    Public relations focuses on an organization’s brand and public image, while marketing emphasizes consumer research, pricing strategies, and competitor analysis. Both fields require strong analytical and communication skills.


Why Get a Degree in Public Relations?

Public relations professionals communicate with the media, write speeches, and build favorable images for their organizations. They may specialize in areas like digital communications, strategic communications, or crisis communications.

A public relations bachelor’s degree meets the education requirements for roles like public relations specialist, copywriter, advertising specialist, and speechwriter. With experience, professionals can move into managerial roles, like public relations manager.

An online public relations degree gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Additionally, many schools offer tuition discounts to online students.

Online Guide to Accredited Colleges and Universities

How Much Does a Public Relations Degree Cost?



The cost of a public relations degree varies by factors like school, enrollment status, and delivery format. Many colleges charge over $300 per credit for public relations programs. For example, students at Southern New Hampshire University pay $320 per credit for the bachelor’s in public relations program.

Private universities typically charge more than public universities, and in-state students at public universities typically pay the most affordable rates. For example, the University of Florida charges $129 per credit for in-state students pursuing the public relations major, while out-of-state students pay $553 per credit.

Online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs. Additionally, many schools allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of residency.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree



Our affordability calculator uses your monthly income and expenses to determine how much you can afford to spend on a college degree. The calculator also takes expected financial aid into account.

Open Cost Calculator

How Much Do Public Relations Majors Make?

Public relations graduates can work in fields like public relations, marketing, advertising, and fundraising. Many graduates pursue public relations specialist jobs. These professionals earn a median salary of over $61,000 per year.

Experienced public relations professionals can pursue managerial roles, such as public relations manager. These professionals make a median annual salary of over $116,000 and benefit from much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2019-2029.

Earning professional certifications or a graduate degree also helps public relations professionals increase their earning potential.

Courses in Public Relations



A bachelor’s degree in public relations builds strong communication, writing, and analytical skills. Students take courses on topics like public relations writing, media relations, public speaking, and crisis communications. Many programs also incorporate courses in public relations management and project management.

In addition to coursework, public relations majors often complete an internship or capstone project. Courses vary by school, but this section introduces common public relations classes.


  • Public Relations Writing and Media Relations

    The course covers different types of public relations writing, including press releases, copywriting, speech writing, and digital media. Learners also examine media relations principles and how to write for print and electronic news media.


  • Crisis Communications

    Crisis communications courses train students to respond to crisis situations using public relations techniques. The class covers topics like risk assessment, corporate reputation, and identifying public relations emergencies. Learners also explore legal restrictions on crisis communications, particularly with relation to finance and stock prices.


  • Public Relations Management

    In this course, learners examine management techniques from an employee, investor, and executive perspective. Students may complete projects that allow them to apply learned management skills. Public relations management courses prepare graduates for leadership roles.


Certifications and Licensure for Public Relations



Public relations careers do not require a professional license. However, pursuing voluntary certifications helps candidates stand out in the job market, move into specialized roles, and increase their earning potential. Most certifications require educational and professional experience plus passing scores on an examination.

Accreditation in Public Relations


The APR credential recognizes experienced public relations professionals. Candidates must pass an examination and complete a panel presentation. APR professionals must maintain their credential through continuing education.

Explore Here

Certificate in Principles of Public Relations


This credential recognizes early-career professionals who complete public relations education through a qualifying college or university. Candidates must complete preparatory courses and pass an examination. Prospective candidates should contact their university’s faculty coordinator to learn more about the process.

Explore Here

Communication Management Professional


The CMP credential recognizes business communicators at the management level. A bachelor’s degree in public relations meets the training requirement for the credential. Candidates must pass a three-hour, 100-question exam.

Explore Here

Scholarships for Public Relations



Public relations majors can pursue scholarship opportunities to help pay for their bachelor’s degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. In addition to the following scholarship opportunities, students should research opportunities based on factors like their school, state, and career plans.

  • Betsy Plank/PRSSA Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: PRSSA members in their junior or senior year of a bachelor’s program qualify for this award. The scholarship committee looks for academic achievement, leadership skills, practical experience, and a commitment to public relations. Applicants must provide a recommendation letter.

    Amount: Up to $5,000

    Explore Here

  • Axia Public Relations Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports public relations students who demonstrate financial need. Applicants must be juniors or seniors with some public relations experience. The scholarship application requires a cover letter or intro video, a statement of financial need, and information on career goals.

    Amount: $2,000

    Explore Here

  • PRSA Diversity Multicultural Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports undergraduates with Black, Latino/a, Asian, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Pacific Islander ancestry. Applicants must be full-time undergraduates at an accredited institution and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

    Amount: $1,500

    Explore Here

Online Bachelor’s In Public Relations Programs 2021



See Our Rankings Methodology

Latest Posts

See All Posts
Common Student Financial Misconceptions

Common Student Financial Misconceptions

April 6, 2021   |   Genevieve Carlton

Student loans, budgeting, and paying off debt can leave students, recent graduates, and their parents feeling lost. Can you appeal for more financial aid? Should you open a credit card?...

Financial Terms Glossary for College Students

Financial Terms Glossary for College Students

April 14, 2021   |   Genevieve Carlton

College students make financial decisions that can shape their future. This financial glossary includes terms related to financial aid, credit, and taxes. By learning financial vocabulary and studying financial literacy...

Advertisement AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Search for Online Colleges by Subject

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.