Accredited in Public Relations (APR) is a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate a commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice. To earn APR, practitioners must display broad knowledge, strategic perspective and sound professional judgment.
What is Accreditation?
Established in 1964, the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential is the public relations profession’s only national post-graduate certification program. The APR designation signifies a high level of skill and competency in the Public Relations field.
Who can pursue the APR?
Accreditation is recommended for candidates with at least five years of experience in full-time practice or teaching of public relations and who have earned either a bachelor’s degree in a communications-related field or have equivalent work experience. However, any PRSA member in good standing can take on the challenge of earning Accreditation.
What are the benefits of Accreditation?
- A Recognized Standard – The APR designation is widely known and respected and the only national post-graduate certification program.
- Enhanced Knowledge & Skills – The APR process refreshes and/or enhances your public relations knowledge and skills. No matter what college degree you may have earned or what practice area your career is focused on, with Accreditation, it is back to the basics! The process builds the fundamental knowledge critical to our field. This information can be applied to your practice of public relations, making you an even better practitioner.
- A Potential Edge in the Job Market – If you find yourself in the job market, the APR designation is a nice “stamp of approval,” per say, on your resume. It demonstrates that you have a high level of experience and competency in the field, and it’s a nice talking point for your interviews with potential employers.
- PR for PR – Overall, the APR designation helps move the public relations profession forward, which benefits all of us in this industry. As more of us become Accredited, the overall perception and respect for our industry improves.
- Personal Satisfaction – Earning Accreditation is a challenge, and something you’ll be very proud of when you have completed the process!
Benefits of Accreditation
- Signifies a high professional level of experience and competence.
- Enhances a practitioner’s approach to project planning as well as daily implementation skills.
- Broadens the knowledge of practitioners working in very specialized public relations fields.
- Demonstrates interest, determination and commitment to self-improvement.
- Elevates the profession in stature as the number of accredited public relations practitioners grows.
What is involved in earning Accreditation?
Earning Accreditation involves the following steps:
- Application to the Universal Accreditation Board – a formal application with payment
- Readiness Review Questionnaire – written examination
- Readiness Review Presentation – formal presentation to a panel of three local Accredited members of PRSA; the presentation includes a portfolio that highlights a comprehensive public relations program or initiative that you have completed during your career in a paid or volunteer position
- Computer Exam – multiple-choice examination
Detailed information about each of the steps to earning Accreditation can be found at PRSA.org.
How Long does it Take to Earn Accreditation?
Candidates have up to one year from the date of application approval to complete the testing process. While candidates typically complete the first several steps of Accreditation on a specific schedule set up by the PRSA Detroit Accreditation Committee, the computer-based exam is taken “on demand” at the candidate’s discretion.
Earning Accreditation requires preparation, reading and studying over the course of several months. Even seasoned professionals should be prepared to approach the Accreditation process as an academic exercise.
What material does the examination cover?
The Accreditation examination covers the following topics:
- History of and current issues in public relations
- Management skills & issues
- Business literacy
- Crisis communication management
- Ethics & Law
- Using information technology
- Communication models & theories
- Media relations
- Research, planning, implementing & evaluating communication programs
- Advanced communication skills
What should I do if I’m interested in Accreditation?
The PRSA Detroit Chapter hosts an annual preparation session each winter for professionals interested in pursuing Accreditation. During the two-day session, candidates receive a complete overview of the Accreditation process including the Readiness Review questionnaire, Readiness Review presentation, preparation resources and the multiple-choice computer exam. The prep session is an excellent way to kick off the Accreditation process and is strongly recommended for interested candidates.
I’m Already Accredited. What do I Need to do to Maintain my Accreditation?
To maintain your Accreditation, you must be a member of PRSA or another organization recognized by the Universal Accreditation Board. In addition, you must keep your PR knowledge and skills fresh by accumulating points in continuing education and professional development, professionalism or public service. You must submit documentation of these activities to PRSA National every three years, along with a $50 fee.
Visit PRSA.org for detailed information about maintaining Accreditation.
What if I have additional questions?
For more information about Accreditation, contact any of the following individuals:
Northwest Ohio PRSA Accreditation Chair:
PRSA National Manager of Accreditation: