Becoming Accredited in Public Relations is not like climbing a cliff — a huge, seemly insurmountable wall. It sounds like a Herculean effort, but it really isn’t. Rather it’s like hiking a tall mountain. You can do it, but you have to be ready for a long walk.
In my own journey to earn APR status, I first reviewed the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) listed on the APR page of the PRSA Web site to make sure I could demonstrate my proficiency in each KSA area. Then I took a communications plan I had written and gathered documentation, samples, everything I could find to support the plan, and created a portfolio specifically for that plan. You’ll be surprised at how much you will have, even for a small plan. Also, I gathered other work samples, plans, etc., and built a second portfolio (sort of a “kitchen sink” portfolio) to provide additional evidence of KSA mastery.
While I was preparing the portfolios, I also participated in the APR online study course. The online study course has been invaluable in my journey toward APR status. It probably is the best way to prepare for the Readiness Review and Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations.
The Readiness Review itself is not like facing the “Spanish Inquisition,” as I liked to joke about it. It was informal. I gave my presentation of my communications plan, paying particular attention to elements of research, planning, implementation and evaluation, and then had a discussion with the panel afterward about the plan and/or anything else. This is where material from my big portfolio came in handy.
Working toward your APR isn’t a solo journey. You have lots of support from other APRs and candidates. Personally, I would like to thank my coach, Heidi Ketler, APR, for all her guidance.
By Chuck Lionberger, APR, specialist, community relations, Roanoke County Public Schools.