Public Relations Certificates: Requirements to Enroll in and Complete a Public Relations Certificate Program

Published Aug 14, 2009

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Public Relations (PR) professionals are responsible for conveying appropriate information about the PR agent's employer or clients to the public, the media and other interested parties. The job requires excellent verbal and written communication skills, discretion, creativity and analytical ability. This article describes what it takes to enroll in and complete a certificate program in Public Relations.

Enrolling in a Public Relations Certificate Program

Enrollment requirements for a Public Relations certificate program depend on the school and the related degree level of the program. In some schools, enrollment requirements for undergraduate certificate programs are the same as those for standard degree program enrollment, while other schools require additional prerequisites, such as completion of courses in freelance writing or journalism, before candidates are officially admitted into the Public Relations program.

Graduate-level certificate programs require students to have a bachelor's degree, although not necessarily in Public Relations. Some admit only those students who have had four or more years of PR experience in the workplace. Still others, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, require non-native English speakers to demonstrate a specific level of proficiency in speaking and writing in English.

Completing a Public Relations Certificate Program

Requirements for earning a certificate in Public Relations also vary according to the school. Some offer certificates after completion of as few as 15 credit hours, while graduate-level certificate programs may require 24 credits or more. Core courses in Public Relations include PR strategy and techniques, PR writing and editing, research methods and promotion through social media. Specific courses in public speaking and project presentation are often required in addition to the classroom presentations that are a component of many core courses.

Schools that offer a certificate in Public Relations also place a significant degree of emphasis on coursework in legal and ethical issues that pertain to Public Relations. Many schools, particularly those that offer graduate-level certificates in Public Relations, require students to complete coursework in crisis communications, equipping PR professionals with the skills needed to present critical information under pressure.

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