Quantcast
8 Questions You Should Be Able to Answer Before Becoming a Public Information Officer | Fairygodboss
Mystery Woman
Tell us more for better jobs, advice
and connections
Don’t miss out on new opportunities.
YOUR TOPICS
Your feed isn’t personalized yet. Follow topics like career advice, lifestyle or health.
YOUR GROUPS
Discover and join groups with like-minded women who share your interests, profession, and lifestyle.
COMPANIES YOU FOLLOW
Get alerted when there are new employee reviews.
YOUR JOB ALERTS
Get notified when new jobs are posted.
be prepared
8 Questions You Should Be Able to Answer Before Becoming a Public Information Officer
motortion/AdobeStock
AnnaMarie Houlis
star-svg
3.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
1
Comment

Considering a career as a public information officer? Here's everything you need to know about public information officers, how to get a job as a public information officer and what you can expect while working as a public information officer.

1. What is public information officer (and what makes a good public information officer)?

What is the role of a public information officer, after all? Public information officers are in charge of disseminating government information; they enable the efficient and accurate communication between a government organization, media outlets and the general public. In shortl: A public information officer's job is essentially to ensure that any statements released to the press and the public are accurate, follow agency guidelines and adhere to official policies and laws.

That said, public information officers may also work outside of the government, instead with private organizations and companies. When they do, however, they're generally referred to as public relations specialists. So public relation officer vs public information officer: the former may work for a brand helping to get word out about a new product via press releases to the media who'll write about it for consumers, and the latter may work with the government helping to get word out about government news via the press who disseminates it to the mass public.

The job of a public information officer, therefore, typically requires the following duties;

  • Effectively communicate important information to the media and, ultimately, to the public
  • Write press releases and other information for media outlets to distribute
  • Write speeches for government officials
  • Arrange interviews for government officials
  • Help maintain a government official's or organization's overall image
  • Stand in to speak for and be the face of a government leader in their absence

2. Where do public information officers work?

Because public information officers typically work for the government, they do spend a lot of their time working in offices. That said, they also spend some time traveling, often attending press conferences, sitting in on meetings and sometimes even giving talks or speeches about government information.

3. How do you get hired as a public information officer? 

To get hired as a public information officer, you need to have a wealth of experience and an educational background that supports it. A public information officer typically has a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, for example. They may have degrees in relevant fields like communications, public relations, journalism, English or business.

Public information officers also may start out with internships in related fields like at public relations firms and for government agencies. Internship experience may be necessary in getting a full-time job as a public information officer for some agencies and firms — it's, at the very least, usually strongly preferred.

Some public information officers may go back to school after some time working in order to pursue higher degrees like an MBA or a masters's degree in journalism, for example. The more education they have gives me more credibility.

Fortunately, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for a public information officer is positive. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that, in general, public information officer jobs will grow at a rate of nine percent from 2016 through 2026. This is slightly faster than the seven percent average for all jobs during the year range.

The unfortunate news, however, is that the Bureau of Labor Statistics also warns that competition for this career is high.

4. Do you need a degree to be a public information officer?

Most government agencies and firms will look for candidates with at least a bachelor's degree in a related field like communications, public relations, journalism, English or business. Others will look for candidates with higher levels of education.

5. What experience do you need to be a public information officer?

Again, most public information officers start out with internships working in public relations or for a government firm. Other experience like journalism, writing and speaking experience can also be hugely beneficial in seeking a job as a public information officer.

6. How much do public information officers get paid?

The median average salary for a public information officer is $60,000 per year or $28.85 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

7. What are typical public information officer hours?

Public information officers usually work typical nine-to-five office hours or similar hours. This is because they work with the media a lot, who also tend to work typical business hours. That said, some public information officers will work later or odd hours in order to keep up with the 24/7 demand for communication.

For example, if there's a state, national or world crisis, a government emergency or some other kind of breaking news, public information officers will have to work longer and odder hours in order to stay abreast of their workload that will likely increase during this time. This means that they may need to work in the evening and on weekends sometimes, as well.

8. What benefits do public information officers get?

Your benefits as a public information officer will depend on your employer. Some employers will offer both part- and full-time public information officers benefits like paid time off, paid sick leave and paid parental leave, for example. Others may only offer these benefits to full-time employees. And others may not offer paid time off at all. It's important to ask questions about what benefits would be available to you if you were to take a job as a public information officer.

Don’t miss out on articles like these. Sign up!

--

AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

Don’t miss out on articles like these. Sign up!

--

AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

1
Comment
No Comments Yet

Looking for a new job?

Our employer partners are actively recruiting women! Update your profile today.

tag with leaves
girl-one-image
The Fairygodboss Feed
We're a community of women sharing advice and asking questions
background-svggirl-two-image
Start a Post
Share your thoughts (even anonymously)...