Is a degree in public relations necessary for success?

This PR pro debates the merits of a degree. Do you agree with her conclusion?

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A young professional working outside public relations and seeking to switch to PR asked the following questions:

“I was wondering what the best degree is to go into public relations? Should I study communications? Is a degree required for public relations?”

As you can imagine, there was a rift between those who feel it is best to jump right into the trenches and work your way up and those who advised taking the time to get a formal education and training.

I fall into the latter camp for the following reasons:

The times they are a-changin’

Back in the olden days—you know, before the Internet, personal computers, and even fax machines—bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kids could jump headfirst into the industry and work their way to the top. Keep in mind that a college degree wasn’t necessary to make your way in the world only a couple of decades ago. Formal public relations programs were only broadly adopted by most schools of communications in the past 15 to 25 years.

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