Since graduating college and entering the public relations industry in 2008, obtaining my APR had been a career objective. As I approached my fifth year post graduation, the decision to go for the APR made sense. I figured it would be a great way to fine tune my public relations skills and demonstrate that I had the necessary knowledge and competencies to handle any type of public relations challenge to my industry peers, as well as my current and future employers.
After inquiring about the APR process with APR Chapter members, I researched the process on the www.prsa.org website. I also learned that my Chapter offered a six-week study course for $100. I was eager yet nervous about adding my name to the course and starting the process.
The study course turned out to be one of the best tools to prepare for the Readiness Review and the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. The small team of prospective APR students met each week for two hours under the guidance of our Chapter’s APR chairperson. Together we reviewed the APR study guide, listened to local industry experts, walked through case studies and most importantly, eased our concerned and anxious minds.
The first step of the process was preparing for the Readiness Review. I spent many hours scrutinizing over a comunications plan that I had prepared for work and intended to use for my Readiness Review presentation. With the new knowledge I had acquired through the study course, I constantly asked myself, “What could I have done differently in my plan?” and “Were my research methods and measurements sound?” The feedback my Readiness Review panel provided was very helpful. I learned what areas I needed to strengthen, as well as received reassurance of quality in other areas.
After the Readiness Review, I dived into the study material. I reread the APR study guide, reviewed all supporting materials and listened to several webinars about preparing for the Examination on the www.prsa.org website. In addition, I created flash cards of terms and processes that I needed to better familiarize myself with. Three months after the Readiness Review, I finally felt confident enough in my work experience and studies to take the computer-based Examination.
Passing the APR Examination offered me a great sense of accomplishment and confidence in my abilities. I recommend every public relations professional seriously consider obtaining Accreditation. It’s well worth it.
Brandy L. Jones, APR, is an award-winning public relations professional who serves as the customer and employee communications coordinator for the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority in Cincinnati, Ohio. She serves on the board of the Cincinnati PRSA Chapter. Find her on Twitter at @mrsbrandyjones.