Do you need a degree in public relations to work in PR?
My advice to those considering an undergraduate major in public relations or communications is: don’t go there.
Don’t major in public relations or communications as an undergraduate. These undergraduate majors are not always taken seriously in the market place, as they are perceived as less academically challenging than other majors, and will not propel you to a management level career later.
After all, you may not work in PR forever. You may end up in law or medicine! Also, you need more diverse and challenging academic experiences to be successful in public relations, later.
I believe students are better served at the undergraduate level by pursuing a course of studies that includes a wide variety of liberal arts subjects. You might consider a major in English, Government, History, or some other academic area for which you have a real passion and aptitude.
However, this approach will only work well for you if you obtain public relations work experience while at school and during internships. The best way to learn about public relations is through work experiences. You can also supplement your knowledge and public relations skills through independent study and professional development workshops. But I feel using your valuable undergraduate academic credits for a major is a waste of your resources.
You can always get your masters in public relations later, after you have worked at least six years, or even better — your accreditation in public relations.
Be sure you work on plenty of writing projects, however, in college. Developing your writing skills is essential.
Alternatively, get an undergraduate degree in business, and take some communications courses.
Whatever you decide, try to diversify your course load as much as possible — when you work in public relations, having a broad knowledge base is essential, particularly if you work in an agency, because you’ll be expected to acquire expertise on issues and industries fairly quickly, depending on the clients.
However, this is only my opinion, based on my experiences. If you are seriously considering a public relations career, and you have not yet declared a major, ask other public relations professionals what they think you should do.