How to Become a Publicist

Publicist Key Stats
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 6%

Publicists work in the Public Relations field and are responsible for creating an image that compliments their client and their work.

They may work for a specific organization or work for a public relations firm representing many individual clients.

There are many components to public relations and individuals who know how to work with the media and create the strongest image for their clients will be the most successful in this profession.

Individuals who want to become a Publicist will need a combination of personal characteristics, educational background and experience in the field in order to succeed in this profession.

Individuals pursuing this career will also need strong communication and interpersonal skills, be able to network with media professionals and showcase strong writing skills.

Education Requirements to Become a Publicist

Individuals who want to become a Publicist need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to enter this profession.

Individuals entering this profession also need to gain some on the job experience that is typically done through an internship.

Employers seek candidates with a strong background in writing and the media.

Individuals who want to become a Publicist will have better job opportunities if they study English, journalism, business, communication or public relations as an undergraduate.

As an undergraduate, individuals are encouraged to organize a portfolio showcasing their writing skills to potential employers.

Individuals who want to become a Publicist are also encouraged to gain experience in this field by completing an internship in Public Relations.

Having this type of experience will give individuals the opportunity to gain valuable skills to enter this profession.

During an internship, individuals are encouraged to gain skills on communication with different mediums including print newspapers, local media stations and other news sources.

Individuals who want to enter this profession will need several years of entry level work in Public Relations in order to enter the field as a Publicist.

Entry level positions include doing a lot of administrative work such as organizing files.

After some experience in administration, individuals will then begin to work on more public relations duties such as creating news releases, writing publications and speeches.

Publicist Job Description

Publicists are professionals who are experienced in creating a favorable image for their clients.

A Publicist can represent one individual such as a celebrity or politician as well as a whole organization such as Walmart or GM.

These individuals are responsible for creating press releases, speeches and communicating with the media with the goal of representing their client in a flattering manner.

Publicists are experienced with maintaining the integrity of their clients and assuring their client’s image and identity is maintained.

This includes have a strong relationship with media outlets to get positive information about their client’s out to the public.

If their client is asked to make a speech or address the media, they will write speeches that is flattering to them and that doesn’t cause their reputation to be damaged to both the media and the public.

They may also respond on behalf of their client’s when prompted for a comment or response from the media.

Publicist Salary and Career Path

In 2012, the median salary for Public Relations professionals was approximately $54,170 per year.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including geographical location, professional reputation and type of industry an individual works in.

For example, individuals working for colleges, universities and professional schools can expect a median annual wage of approximately $54,380 while those who work for advertising or public relations firms earn a median salary of approximately $77,010 per year.

Some individuals can earn up towards $101,030 per year.

The job outlook for Public Relations professionals is expected to grow at an average rate.

Through 2022, this profession is expected to grow by 12 percent adding that amount of jobs in this profession.

This growth is as fast average when compared to other professions.

Individuals entering this field should expect stiff competition as there are many individuals attempting to enter this profession.

Candidates with the most experience in this industry are more likely to get hired.

A career as a Publicist may start at an entry level position where there is a lot of competition for jobs.

However, individuals who are persistent in following their passion and who are able to build relationships in the media will become successful with time.

This is the type of career that takes time to build but that has many perks to it once you are fully immersed in it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a publicist do?

A publicist can be referred to as a ‘public relations specialist’.

Publicists generate media coverage for their client and the main aim of the specialists is to promote the client to the public.

Clients can be actual people or companies and businesses that need to create a certain image.

The duties of a publicist can differ, but they usually include pitching the client to the media; scheduling interviews; drafting press releases; putting together an electronic press kit; scanning the media; planning events; helping write speeches, and so on.

There are different types of publicists – special publicity consultants, media agents, unit publicists, public relations publicists, and press agents.

How much do publicists make?

On average, a publicist can make a little more than $40.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to choose this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $32.500 and $72.500 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the employer, the location, and so on.

The professionals that work in New York and California, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level publicist can earn around $15.50 per hour, while a top-level specialist with plenty of experience can make $35 and more per hour.

How much does it cost to become a publicist?

In most cases, you would need a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, journalism, advertising or a related field, in order to become a publicist.

To improve job prospects, you can consider getting a master’s degree or taking some postgraduate courses.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (bear in mind that the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

A master’s degree will typically cost you over $30.000.

What is the demand for publicists?

Between 2018 and 2028, the publicist job market is expected to increase by 6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is just as fast as the average for all occupations in the United States.

Bear in mind that the competition in the industry is extremely strong (especially, for the jobs at organizations with large media exposure and the places at public relations and advertisement firms).

The candidates that possess a master’s degree and plenty of experience will have better chances of getting the highest-paid job.

There will be a need for a lot of organizations to maintain their public image, thus, publicists will continue to be in demand.

How long does it take to become a publicist?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree and 1-2 years to get a master’s degree.

You can consider seeking an internship during your last year in university to get that on-job experience as the majority of employers prefer the candidates to have at least a few years of experience.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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