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Public relations professional

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Summary of occupation

Public relations officers are responsible for an organisation's communication with the general public, clients and other stakeholders. In many cases, they are also responsible for an organisation's internal communication strategies. Public relations officers use a range of tools including press releases, speeches, newsletters, in-house magazines and pamphlets. They may also represent their employer at news conferences and in interviews with journalists. Some public relations officers will also be involved in developing an organisation's crisis plan and will be responsible for keeping staff, shareholders, the media and the public informed in the event of a crisis.

ANZSCO description: Plans, develops, implements and evaluates  information and communication strategies that create an understanding  and a favourable view of an organisation, its goods and services, and  its role in the community.
Alternative names: Communications Officer, Corporate Affairs Officer, Media Relations Officer
Specialisations: Maori Liaison Officer (NZ), Media Liaison Officer, Press Officer, Promotions Officer, Public Affairs Officer, Public Relations Consultant, Public Relations Officer
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A public relations officer needs:

  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • excellent people skills
  • good problem solving skills
  • to stay informed of current affairs
  • ability to work under pressure
  • to be able to adapt quickly to changing situations
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Working conditions

Public relations officers may work in-house with one organisation, or as consultants, managing communication for a number of clients. In either case they will usually work in an office environment. They usually work regular hours, however, they may be required to work evenings and on weekends, sometimes at short notice, especially in times of crisis for their employer.

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Salary details

On average, public relations professionals can expect to earn between $1 250 and $1 499 per week ($65 000 and $77 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a public relations professional develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Public relations officers work mostly with computers and other office equipment such as telephones, photocopiers and fax machines. They may use special desktop publishing software when designing pamphlets and brochures. In order to stay up-to-date with news and current affairs they will usually read at least one daily newspaper.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a public relations professional, you usually have to complete a degree majoring in public relations, or a related field such as marketing, advertising or communication and media studies. 

​Most Western Australian universities offer degrees in these fields. Contact the university of your choice for more information.​​

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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