How to Become a Communications Specialist?

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how to become a communication specialist?

Communications specialists, also known as public relations (PR) specialists, use their command of both oral and written communication to convey critical information or to create or maintain a stylized company image. These professionals can work in advertising or public relations firms, educational administrations, or government agencies, among other places. Job competition is also fierce, particularly at the management level. Are you considering becoming a Communications Specialist, or have you already begun your career and are looking for the next step? In this blog you’ll get to learn how to become a Communications Specialist, what is the salary of a Communications specialist, the challenges of the role, and much more. 

Who is a Communications Specialist?

Communications specialists, also known as public relations specialists, use traditional media such as television and newspapers, as well as new media such as various social media channels, to build and maintain an organization’s public image and reputation. Here are the key tasks of a communications specialist:

  • As a communications specialist, you will ensure that the public is provided with accurate and up-to-date information about an organization’s goals, activities, and recent developments. 
  • A positive relationship between an organisation and its surrounding public and investors must also be established and maintained. You will interact with the media, issue press releases, hold press conferences, avoid conflicts, and handle any negative issues to manage an organization’s reputation.

What do Communications Specialists do?

Some of the responsibilities of a communications specialist that they typically perform in this role are provided below:

  • Use Salesforce to manage all client data and meeting history.
  • Manage all ACCME and FDA guidelines for course syllabi, scientific abstracts, reprints, and course development.
  • Maintain the CRM database and create key communication materials such as email blasts, brochures, flyers, and bulletins.
  • Website management entails regularly updating content, implementing SEO, and monitoring website activity.
  • Contribute brand-appropriate content for the following platforms: blog, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Support internal communications, including all-employee email distribution, site email communications, story editing, and intranet posting.
  • Create internal branding/marketing communications materials and promote organizational-wide initiatives through intranet communication.

Also Read: How to become a Pilot?

Educational Requirements

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degrees in communications, marketing, journalism, English, or business are required for communications specialists.
  • They must have excellent decision-making, speaking, professional writing, and interpersonal skills.
  • In addition, they should be able to use word processing, HTML, CSS, social media, and online research. In 2018, the median annual salary for all public relations specialists (including communications specialists) was $60,000 (INR 48.30L), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • If you want to advance your career in the field, you should consider pursuing a master’s degree in public relations.
  • Such two-year degree programmes frequently allow you to specialise in one area of the field, such as corporate communications or public relations for non-profit organisations. You will also learn advanced techniques in public relations writing, research, and strategy.

Steps to Become a Communications Specialist

The 4 broad steps to become a communications specialist are:

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Journalism and marketing majors, as well as a concentration in public relations, are examples of educational paths to becoming a communications specialist. Prospective communications specialists, regardless of major, take courses in public relations management, writing for electronic media, video production, technical writing, and graphic design. Taking classes in psychology, social science, and political science may also be beneficial for future employment.

  1. Gain Relevant Work Experience

An entry-level position allows you to gain professional work experience while observing the types of responsibilities that public relations professionals face every day. To advance in the field or apply for accreditation, work experience is required. Manager and director positions in public relations necessarily involve several years of experience. You should learn how to use social media effectively. Knowing how to use social media can help communications professionals advance to the forefront of their field.

  1. Get Accredited

Some employers in the public relations industry may require prospective communications professionals to be professionally accredited by a certifying organisation, such as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Professional experience, membership in a participating organisation, payment of a fee, and passing an exam are all required for PRSA applicants.

  1. Consider Career Advancement Opportunities

Because competition for communications specialist positions is often fierce, additional education can set a potential employee apart from other candidates. Consider going back to school for a master’s degree in communications, public relations, or marketing. Furthermore, maintaining membership in a professional public relations organisation can provide ongoing networking opportunities.

Top Universities Offering Communication Programs

Universities Global Rank
University of Southern California, USA #2
Stanford University, USA  #5
The University of Texas at Austin, USA #4
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands #1
University of Zurich, Switzerland #16
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany #25
The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK #3
McGill University, Canada #46
Queensland University of Technology, Australia #17
Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, India

Salary of a Communications Specialist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, public relations specialists earned a median annual salary of approximately $62,810 (INR 50.56L) in 2020. At the time, more than 272,300 people held the position, working for public relations firms, advertising services, private businesses, political organisations, and universities. The federal executive branch was the highest-paying industry in the field (OES designation).

You could also work as an advertising, promotions, or marketing manager as an alternative. In this role, you will assist in the development of strategies for promoting a company’s products and/or services. Another option is to work as a meeting, convention, and event planner, which involves organising a budget, selecting a location, coordinating transportation, and overseeing all aspects of professional meetings and events. These careers, like those of a public relations specialist, necessitate at least a bachelor’s degree as well as strong communication and organisational skills.

FAQs

How long does it take to become a communication specialist?

A communications specialist can expect to work for five to eight years. A bachelor’s degree and three to four years of experience are typically required for this position; however, some companies hire exceptionally talented and experienced entry-level candidates.

What skills should a communications specialist have?

Communications Specialists – Skills and Abilities
Understand spoken information.
Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
Listen to others and ask questions.
Write clearly so other people can understand.
Understand written information.
Read and understand work-related materials.

What is the highest-paying job in communications?

Jobs with the Highest Earnings for Communications Graduates Chief executives and legislators earn the most money for communications majors, with an average annual salary of $176,126, followed by sales managers at $125,577 and advertising sales agents at $111,521.

Is a communications degree hard?

Communication is as difficult as any other major. However, these people mistake this for enjoyment. Yes, studying Communications is difficult, but there is hardly anyone who doesn’t enjoy it, regardless of their major.

Consider majoring in communications if you enjoy both written and verbal communication. A communications degree can set you on the path to this career. As a public relations specialist, you will be responsible for developing strong relationships and enhancing a company’s public image. To plan your study abroad path, do connect with Leverage Edu. For further information, you can also reach out to 1800 57 2000.

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