What is the salary for an entry-level PR position?

What are entry-level salaries for agency roles like PR Account Coordinator or PR Assistant Account Executive?

In 2006, I started at $35,000/year at a top global agency in Washington, DC. I believe that the starting salary in this industry hasn't increased much, I've seen $40,000 to $45,000 recently in larger cities like San Francisco and New York City. Starting salary is highly dependent on the size of the agency and the location of the agency. In smaller markets, it can be quite a bit lower. Companies will often have higher starting salaries, but I agree with Michelle, that a candidate's long-term earning potential is higher if they have agency experience. Because the starting salary in PR is fairly low, you should try to ensure that the agency has a clear path for growth and mentorship, that you are working on critical clients , and that you have the ability to constantly gain new sets of skills.

Hey Jenna,

Thanks for the response. This part really stuck out to me:

"...you should try to ensure that the agency has a clear path for growth and mentorship."

I'm still a senior in college, but a career in PR sounds super interesting. At the same time, I don't want to get an internship at a company that won't give me a clear path for growth. Once I start interviewing, do you have any advice on how to find out if an entry-level role really has growth potential or if the "growth potential" the recruiter is trying to sell me is a trick?

Hi Mel! Great question. One of the best things you can do is make sure you are going to be on an account that is big, healthy, and important to the agency business. At an agency, where there is money, there is generally growth opportunity. You'll also want to make sure that the office you're joining is well run and has a healthy business— there can be wide variations within different offices of one agency. Make sure the hiring manager is able to clearly communicate what a path looks like for a new grad, what training is available, and milestones for growth and success along the way. Find a manager who has successfully risen through the company if you can. She or he will be your best resource, mentor—and hopefully— advocate along the way.

I can't thank you enough for this amazing response. I think the challenge for me is that there's a ton of firms and starutps out there, and I'm not sure whether big or small firms are best or how to decide which company will give me the best shot to start my career. I'm going to bookmark this post so I know what to ask future hiring managers when as I get closer to graduation!

Seriously, thank you so much :)

It can vary quite a bit based on where you live (cities like SF or NYC tend to offer higher entry salaries) and whether you're at a PR agency or at a company. Agencies tend to pay a bit less than companies for entry-level PR roles, but I am a big advocate for starting out at an agency (see my case for agency here: http://huttle.co/posts/J7BW2QATuJR7vjAqx/thinking-about-a-career-in-pr-should-i-start-at-an-agency-or). Through my own experience I have reason to believe a candidate's long-term earning potential is higher if they have agency experience.

For a role like account coordinator of assistant account executive, you're looking at around a $40,000 annual salary to start. This can be higher or lower depending on where you live. Payscale offers some good intel on entry PR salaries: http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Public_Relations_(PR)_Specialist/Salary/6082444e/Entry-Level

My starting salary was $32,000/year in at a top global agency in San Francisco in 2009.