Corporate Community Relations Directors


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take English and creative writing courses to strengthen your writing talents. Also, you can begin to hone your public speaking skills by taking classes in communication and speech, or join your high school debate team. If your high school offers classes or clubs in mass media, consider participating in them. Outlets such as your campus radio or cable television station, or even the school newspaper, can offer a wealth of experience in dealing with the press.

Postsecondary Training

A minimum of a four-year degree is the norm in this field, with majors in public relations, communications, marketing, or journalism the typical educational path. It is possible to enter public relations with other degrees—for example, a liberal arts degree—but taking some course work in public relations or communications will certainly be useful.

Some colleges also offer undergraduate concentrations or certificates in corporate community relations and related subjects. Advanced course work in corporate public relations is also available at some colleges and universities.


The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) offers a certificate in principles of public relations to students who are enrolled at one of more than 35 participating colleges and universities. Visit http://www.praccreditation.org/apply/certificate for more information. 

Other Education or Training

The PRSA offers a variety of online and in-person continuing education opportunities. Recent webinars included Writing Skills to Increase PR Reach and Results; Advanced PR Writing: Apply Creativity, Style and Voice for Greater Impact; and 10 Future Trends Corporate Communicators Need to Know NOW. The International Association of Business Communicators also provides professional development workshops and webinars. Contact these organizations for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There is no specific certification available for corporate community relations directors, but the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators accredit public relations workers who have at least five years of experience in the field and pass a comprehensive examination. The Canadian Public Relations Society also provides certification. Such accreditation is a sign of competence in this field, although it is not a requirement for employment.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

After earning a bachelor's degree, beginning public relations professionals typically receive on-the-job training that may continue for a year or longer before moving into the role of writing press releases, speeches, news or magazine articles, planning programs, and other duties. Most corporate communications directors have a minimum of five years' experience before moving into that role.

Being a people person is one of the most important qualifications for this job. As a corporate community relations director, you will need to interact effectively with company executives, colleagues, civic leaders, representatives from various charities and educational and cultural groups, and the public. The public relations department often works as a team in order to complete a project, exhibit, or charity event. It is also important to be a quick thinker, organized, and outgoing—almost to the point of being aggressive. This might not be the right career for those who are shy.

The ability to communicate well is key. You will frequently be asked to write speeches, press releases, or brochures documenting your company's latest philanthropic project. Your verbal skills will also be tested when giving presentations, interviews, or presiding over a press conference.

A love of volunteering and commitment to others are other helpful traits to have in this career.