As a publicist, your daily duties may put you in contact with big celebrities and high earners -- though that doesn't necessarily mean you'll be rolling in the dough yourself. As a general rule, publicists make an above-average salary, and some even earn in the six-figure range. On the whole though, publicists and public relations professionals earn a modest income that's slightly higher than the national average.
General Salary Range
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, public relations specialists -- including publicists -- earned a mean annual salary of $54,940 as of May 2013. On the lower end of that scale, public relations specialists earned less than $30,790. On the high end they delved into the six-figure range at $103,240 per year, or more.
Publicists for Entertainers
When you think of the word "publicist," perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is a person who represents a celebrity, and who manages that person's image. This is slightly different than a general public relations professional, who may be responsible for managing the image of an entire company or organization as well as individuals. As a general rule, publicists working for athletes, actors or other celebrities, at $57,820 per year, earned a slightly higher wage than other public relations professionals.
Becoming a Publicist
Publicists tend to be those "people people" who are able to get along with anyone. Beyond that innate ability, publicists do tend to jump through some hoops to gain credibility in the field. Many publicists and public relations specialists attend a four-year college and earn a degree in business, journalism, or public relations. They may start out interning at a public relations firm or working as an assistant under an established publicist, or they may spend time in other aspects of media first. After a career in journalism or the arts, for example, some people develop the contacts and connections that make them qualified publicists. Other important skills for publicists include organizational skills, problem-solving skills, and strong communication skills, including writing and speaking.
Moving Up in the Profession
The job prospects for publicists and public relations professionals are expected to grow slightly faster than other professions, due in part to the rise of social media. According to the BLS, the profession is expected to grow by about 12 percent through 2022 -- about 1 percent faster than other professions. You'll tend to earn more money as you gain more experience. To move up in the profession, you might begin by working as an assistant, move up to maintaining your own client list, and then eventually expand and open up your own public relations firm, where you'll earn a salary as well as share profits in the business.
- U.S. Department of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 27-3031 Public Relations Specialists
- U.S. Department of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Public Relations Specialists
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