Public Relations

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What is Public Relations?

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire a public relations officer, noted the American social historian Daniel Boorstin.

A public relations officer creates and maintains a positive relationship between an organisations and the public. They do this by communicating a positive image through various mediums. Public bodies, businesses, celebrities, and voluntary groups all use public relations techniques. PR officers have a variety of duties. They help to create interest in the media and produce publicity material. They also organise events and conferences. In addition, they build relationships with communities and individuals.

What Courses Are Available?

There are a limited number of specific PR options at third level in Irish colleges and universities. These include Public Relations at Dundalk Institute of Technology, and Communications & Public Relations at Carlow’s Institute of Technology. These are both Level 8 courses. In addition, many third-level courses in subjects such as Business or Marketing include PR modules.

Studying Public Relations in College

Examples of subjects you will encounter on a PR course at undergraduate level include:

  • Theory
  • Writing
  • Management
  • Advertising
  • Communications
  • Marketing
  • Languages
  • International Business
  • Research Methods
  • Project or Event Planning
  • Media Production
  • Media Analysis

Many students take an undergraduate degree in a related area, such as Business, Marketing or Media Studies. They then do a postgraduate qualification in Public Relations. Further education and on-the-job training are important aspects of a PR career. The Public Relations Institute of Ireland validates professional qualifications.

Career Options

Many PR undergraduate and postgraduate courses offer work placements. These can be valuable for building workplace experience and securing a permanent position. People with qualifications in related fields such as advertising, journalism and marketing often move into the PR area. In addition, entry-level jobs in promotions or marketing can be the first step to a career in PR.

Everyone from the Football Association of Ireland to the Department of Health needs PR people. Therefore graduates can find work with a wide range of companies, bodies and organisations. There are also a number of specialist agencies that provide PR services for other businesses or organisations.

There are somewhat misplaced ideas that the life of a PR officer is filled with glamour and excitement. The reality is very different. A PR officer’s day-to-day tasks and responsibilities include writing press releases and articles. They may also advise clients on PR strategies, organise news conferences, make presentations and produce leaflets, videos and websites. Those employed in the corporate sector may also do product marketing and customer research.

PR professionals working for a public body or government department may have to react to crises by putting a ‘positive spin’ on situations. Consequently, it is common for PR officers to have a reaction policy in place. This might include statistics and anything that may back up/distract from a situation depending on that particular scenario. PR executives can represent their organisation in public, and appear in the media or at a conference or meeting to put across their employer’s side of an argument, communicating difficult messages to the public in a clear, unambiguous way.

Related Jobs

You’ll be well-prepared for any of the following career paths:

  • Marketing coordinator
  • Copywriter
  • Fundraiser
  • Direct marketing spokesperson
  • Media buyer
  • Investor relations
  • Account executive
  • Public information officer
  • Employee relations
  • Production coordinator
  • Media planner
  • Special events coordinator
  • Researcher
  • Counselor
  • Marketing manager
  • Art director
  • Media relations
  • Marketing communication
  • Freelance writer
  • Strategic planner
  • Multicultural relations
  • Government affairs
  • Sales representative


What skills would be beneficial when studying public relations?

A talent for communicating well with others and exuding confidence in pressure situations are just two of the necessary attributes a public relations officer should have. Other beneficial traits would be expertise in persuading, negotiating, influencing, bargaining, and arguing. A certain amount of resourcefulness and innovation would also be desirable and, considering the nature of the job, possessing excellent public speaking and writing skills is essential.

What is the work environment like?

Working hours are not typical and often include evening and weekend work. Most PR professionals will be office-based, but will often have to travel to events and meetings. Foreign travel is a definite possibility, as are long, unsociable hours.

Where Can I Study Public Relations?

Explore your options here.

Did You Know?

  • Social media press releases didn’t exist until the early 2000’s.
  • The FedEx logo has won 40 design awards and was ranked as one of the eight best logos in the last 35 years. is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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