According to what I read in Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics, I believe that it is most beneficial for a Public Relations Practitioner to begin their career by working in a  public relations department rather than a public relations firm. The difference between a public relations firm and a public relations department is directly related to what the company as a whole specializes in. A public relations firm is completely, 100% devoted to the field of public relations, since that is all they do. They work with many different clients, so they are not able to devote as much time to one client, as a smaller PR department would be able to do. PR firms are much more private than PR departments, and tend to be more resentful and hesitant to receive advice and counsel from outside sources. The staff feels this way because of a pre-conceived idea that they are unable to do the job well.

A PR department, however, is basically the public relations aspect within a already-standing company. This part of the company is much smaller and much less specialized than a stand-alone PR firm. PR departments usually tend to be less expensive, less prestigious, and more willing to take advice and counsel from outside sources. I think that it is best for a student who is just out of school with a degree in public relations to start off within a PR department of a company. This way, there is less pressure on them to be perfect in their work, and they are able to learn with real-life experience, and buld up greater skills to eventually work within a public relations firm.