2019 Best Online Public Relations Degrees

There are 115 online public relations degrees to choose from on our comprehensive list. We have ranked 12 of them as the best colleges offering online bachelor's degrees in public relations, based on their tuition rates and alumni salaries provided by PayScale. Depending on career aspirations, students may be interested in the degrees that focus specifically on media communication, health communication, or advertising. All prospective students should also look into a program's accreditation when choosing a degree.

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2019 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Public Relations Degrees

Public Relations-Top Online Colleges-2019-Badge

The best online bachelor's degrees in public relations can be found at these 12 colleges, which have been ranked according to their tuition and alumni salaries. Ranked #1, New England College combines a low tuition of $12,150 per year with a high median alumni salary of $160,700. Liberty University offers a BS: Sport Management: Sport Communication & Public Relations degree for $11,700, while Montana State University-Billings ranks lowest on the list in 12th place, with a very reasonable tuition of only $8,969.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 $12,150 $160,700
#2 #2 $22,720 $111,400
#3 #3 $30,570 $98,300
#4 #4 $22,545 $93,029
#5 #5 $11,329 $90,043
#6 #6 $12,600 $84,800
#7 #7 $13,650 $84,700
#8 #8 $11,700 $78,100
#9 #9 $12,375 $70,300
#10 #10 $9,600 $66,343
#11 #11 $16,306 $60,000
#12 #12 $8,969 $48,600
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.

Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Public Relations Degrees ( 71)

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Partner School
Partner School
Full List Accreditation Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
Full List (74)
Arkansas State University HLC $14,778 50% (2 reviews)
69 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BA in Communication Studies
  • MS in Media Management
Ashford University WASC WSCUC $10,632 - $13,400 67% (632 reviews)
146 Programs, 4 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BA/Public Relations and Marketing
  • BA/Public Relations and Marketing - Information Systems Specialization
  • BA/Public Relations and Marketing - International Management Specialization
  • BA/Public Relations and Marketing - Project Management Specialization
Ball State University HLC $25,942 100% (4 reviews)
125 Programs, 3 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Corporate Communications
  • Graduate Certificate in Education Communications
  • Master of Arts in Public Relations
Boston University NECHE $52,082 100% (2 reviews)
75 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Master of Science in Health Communication (MSHC)
Brenau University SACS COC $28,510 Add Review
85 Programs, 5 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts - Communication and Media Studies
  • Master of Arts - Communication and Media Studies
  • Master of Business Administration in Communication Management
  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Communication Management
California Baptist University WASC WSCUC $32,256 80% (5 reviews)
45 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations
  • Master of Arts in Public Relations
Clarion University MSCHE $15,636 100% (3 reviews)
55 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Certificate in Public Relations
Columbia College HLC $21,936 57% (14 reviews)
63 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration - Public Relations and Advertising
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Public Relations and Advertising
Concordia University - Texas SACS COC $30,600 100% (1 review)
39 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Public Relations
Concordia University - Wisconsin HLC $28,600 67% (3 reviews)
109 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Communications and Public Relations
  • MBA - Communications and Public Relations
Dominican University HLC $32,530 Add Review
26 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Legal Studies - Labor Relations
Drexel University MSCHE $52,002 60% (5 reviews)
294 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Communication - Public Relations
  • Master of Science in Communication - Public Communication
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania MSCHE $14,668 100% (2 reviews)
36 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Master of Arts in Communication Studies - Public Communication
Florida International University SACS COC $18,954 88% (8 reviews)
117 Programs, 3 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Relations
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Labor Studies
Franklin University HLC $12,241 71% (7 reviews)
57 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BS in Public Relations
Full Sail University ACCSC $23,694 44% (85 reviews)
36 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Master of Science in Public Relations
The George Washington University MSCHE $53,518 75% (4 reviews)
143 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • MPS in Strategic Public Relations
Georgetown University MSCHE $52,300 100% (1 review)
26 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations & Corporate Communications
Indiana Wesleyan University Online HLC $25,980 44% (16 reviews)
124 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Communication Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Communications
Johns Hopkins University MSCHE $52,170 Add Review
360 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • MA in Communication
  • MA in Government - Political Communication
Kennesaw State University SACS COC $8,066 - $17,329 75% (4 reviews)
93 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Master of Science in International Policy Management
Kent State University at Kent HLC $18,544 100% (1 review)
99 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • MA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a Concentration in Public Relations
Liberty University SACS COC $11,700 59% (238 reviews)
525 Programs, 4 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BS: Sport Management: Sport Communication and Public Relations
  • MBA: Public Relations
  • MS: Healthcare Admin: Public Relations
  • MS: Marketing - Public Relations
Louisiana State University - Shreveport SACS COC $20,320 100% (2 reviews)
38 Programs, 1 in Public Relations (view all)
  • BA in Mass Communications - Public Relations
Loyola University Chicago HLC $43,078 Add Review
59 Programs, 2 in Public Relations (view all)
  • Certificate in Business Communication
  • Certificate in Public Relations in a Digital World
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Online Public Relations Degree Overview & Career Information

There are three different online degree level options for public relations. Over the course of four years a bachelor's degree will prepare students for positions such as campaign manager, public relations coordinator, and public relations specialist. A master's program in public relations will enhance a student's knowledge in communication through technology and media. A master's program will typically take two years to complete and prepare graduates for above entry-level positions such as public relations manager, brand manager, and director of communications. Online undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are also available for people interested in receiving an education in the field of public relations.

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Online Bachelor's Degrees in Public Relations

Students can obtain an online bachelor's degree in public relations in four years, generally upon completing 120-credit hours. Participants will sharpen their skills in critical thinking, writing, strategic planning, and execution. These skills will lend assistance to building relationships between organizations and their public audiences, which is a necessity for graduates to perform in their follow up careers. Public relations programs require general education coursework along with major specific courses such as public speaking, public relations, journalism, social media, writing for public relations, organizational communications, and ethics. A high school diploma or equivalent must be obtained prior to enrolling in a bachelor's program along with a qualifying SAT or ACT test score. Depending on the school, a letter of recommendation may also be required. Graduates can seek entry-level job opportunities in both business and government as PR specialists, representatives, campaign managers, and PR coordinates. Public relations bachelor's programs are offered at both colleges and universities.

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Online Master's in Public Relations

Graduates can continue their public relations education through an online master's program at the university level. Through a master's program, students will learn to enhance their technology tactics that will be crucial in their public relations careers. Participants will take 36 to 48 credit hours of study to complete their degree within two years. Degree courses include Communication, Media & Society, Identity & Personal Brand, Communication by Design, Graduate Social Research Methods, and Dimensions of Reputation Management. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree in public relations or a related field will be eligible for a master's program. Some universities will also require a letter of recommendation as well as an admissions letter written by the applicant describing their education and career aspirations. There are a variety of above entry-level career options for master's degree holders within the PR industry. Titles include publicist, brand manager, director of communications, writer, and consultant.

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Online Certificates in Public Relations

Public relations professionals who are interested in enhancing their skills in the areas of communication, marketing, computing affairs, and media relations may be interested in pursuing a certificate degree in public relations. Students can complete a certificate program in as little as 12 months through 16 to 24 credit hours of course work. The type of coursework offered in a public relations certificate program includes Public Relations Principles and Process, Public Relations Writing and Tactics, Dimensions of Reputation Management, Integrating Social Media, Digital Marketing Communication, and Persuasion Methods. A minimum of a high school diploma or GED will be required for applicants to qualify for a certificate program although for a graduate certificate the applicant must hold a bachelor's degree in a related field. Holding a certificate degree can help professionals within the industry gain promotions and pay raises. Opportunities in communications, consulting, campaign managing, and coordinating will also be available to graduates. Certificate programs can be found at colleges and universities.

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The Importance of an Accredited Online Public Relations Degree

Accreditation should always be considered when applying to institutions of higher education. Accreditation is the process in which colleges, universities, and educational programs are evaluated for quality and to ensure that acceptable levels of trainings are being conducted. Another important factor to consider is low-cost loans for students as only accredited institutions are able to participate in federal financial aid programs. Attending a regionally accredited school will also make the transfer process a lot easier for those who may be interested in changing their path in the future as regionally accredited colleges will most often accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions. Lastly, many employers are looking to hire graduates who have attended regionally accredited schools.It gives the employer more confidence that the applicant has been well trained in their field and will be a great asset to the organization.

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Careers in Public Relations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate in public relations is expected to rise 12 to 13 percent through the year 2022. With the rise in popularity of technology and social media, public relation specialists have become vital in the relationship between organizations and the general public. Key job titles within the industry include public relations specialist and public relations manager. Public relations specialists are hired to to maintain a positive company image through media and address any concerns that the general public may have about the organization. Job functions of a specialist include creating press releases, gathering requested data, determining ways to access target audience, and assisting the client in successfully communicating with the general public.

Public relations managers will oversee PR specialists to ensure that all tasks and projects are being completed within the company's or client's standards. They also focus on evolving their clients' images with social, political, and economical changes to keep in good standing with the public. In order to qualify for a manager position it will require a minimum of three years work experience along with an educational background. A typical work week for a public relations manager incudes creating logos and signs to keep up the clients' image, organizing events, crafting speeches, coordinating interviews, and creating press releases.

References

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