do you need a degree to work in PR?

The 2011 PRWeek/PRCA Census results showed that 89% of PR professionals have a degree. But, with the recent increase of student fees, not everyone wants/is able to spend 3+ years in education studying PR, which they could potentially work their way up in. So, is it possible to have just as good a career as someone who has a PR degree?

I’m currently in my 2nd year of studying PR & Communication and I wouldn’t change my decision to come to uni at all, although I occasionally have my doubts when I’m sat in my freezing cold student house with not a penny to my name. But what can I say, it all comes with being a student, right?!

As you may know, I run a PR Interview Blog Series with professional PR practitioners and in a couple of  interviews I’ve asked whether they believe a PR degree will give aspiring PR professionals a head start. I decided to put all their answers together into this blog post, in hope that it will give students debating whether to study PR at university a bit of help 🙂

Ceri-Jane, Cerub PR 

Ceri-Jane | Cerub PR
Ceri-Jane | Cerub PR

“One of the best employees I ever had was someone without a degree who started with us at 18 and who now has a senior role at a charity at only 25. If you have a PR degree it could give you the edge, but you still need to have the right attitude and be willing to start at the bottom.”

Caroline Kinsey, Cirkle PR

Caroline Kinsey | Cirkle PR
Caroline Kinsey | Cirkle PR

“A degree opens a door but doesn’t actually get you a job – you still need to show qualities of agility and drive and you don’t need a degree to be passionate about PR! A degree gets you ahead but it’s not a ticket to security! You have to find ways to set you apart from people with a degree; show initiative and drive!”

Catherine Warrilow, Seriously PR

Catherine Warrilow | Seriously PR
Catherine Warrilow | Seriously PR

“We don’t look for qualifications but for something other than a junior role or internship we do like a basic understanding of the profession or some experience.  However it’s the personality that’s most important – someone who is willing to get stuck in, learn, work hard and enjoy the role.”

So, you’ve heard it from the professionals! Whilst a degree may give you a head start, it won’t guarantee you a job – you need passion, determination and the right mind-set to work in PR.

Remember – university isn’t for everyone. If you’re interested in working in PR, why not get some basic PR experience and from that, see if you’d like to study for 3 years? The same goes for any career; you have to start somewhere!

Best of luck and let me know how your PR journey goes 🙂

Liv xo

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3 thoughts on “do you need a degree to work in PR?

  1. Interesting blog, Livi! As an employer, I wouldn’t hire someone without a relevant degree. Why? It shows commitment. And I don’t think that anyone will really progress quickly out of the ghetto of press agentry and media relations if they haven’t learned how to think analytically, how to apply theory critically to practice, and how to write at a persuasive level. After thirty years of working in PR, I think university teaches people intellectual curiosity, determination, emotional intelligence and professionalism.

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