We’ve all heard it: lifelong learning is important. In public relations, keeping up with the latest trends and techniques ensures the ability to communicate the right message through the right medium to the right audience.
After graduating from college, many wonder if they need a higher degree to advance their career. A Master’s or Ph.D. can offer opportunities and credibility, but degrees can’t replace on-the-job learning. Getting – and paying for – an advanced degree isn’t the right choice for everyone. So, how do you decide?
Get experience first.
According to GradSchools.com, Master’s programs increasingly require and prioritize work experience from applicants. This can help focus career goals and give context to the classes and lessons.
Find the right program.
There are so many programs, it can be overwhelming! Decide if you want to focus on a specific area – politics, nonprofit or maybe health care. Consider a graduate program taught by a mix of tenured professors and practitioners. This mix offers opportunities for networking and connections outside the classroom.
Not now? Keep learning!
The key to professional growth is continuing education. Professional development is available without enrolling in a full-fledged degree program. The Public Relations Society of America devotes a section of their website to learning, and local chapters regularly host seminars and events. Looking to hone a specific skill like writing or public speaking? Many community colleges offer one-off professional development classes.
With or without a graduate education, a healthy mix of first-hand experience and professional development will make sure you never stop learning.