In May, PRSA announced plans to enhance the profile and prestige of the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) Credential in anticipation of next year’s 50th anniversary celebration. The first step in doing so was to hire a consulting firm to do a thorough review of the APR and make suggestions on how to improve the Credential.
PRSA retained Organizational Performance Group (OPG), an organizational development consulting firm based in Hamden, Conn. Using a variety of tools – including a review of best practices in professional credentialing, discussions with key volunteer and staff leaders, data analysis, surveys, interviews, and focus groups – OPG explored stakeholder perceptions on strengths and weaknesses of the APR, , suggestions for improvements and strategies for supporting Accreditation and marketing it to PRSA Members and employers.
After several months of research and analysis, OPG has issued their final report laying out their findings and recommendations. The report contains an in-depth analysis of the current state of the APR, how it compares to credentials in other professions and how it could be a more effective and useful tool for public relations professionals. Recommendations range from doing nothing and continuing down the declining path the Credential is currently on to completely overhauling the APR and making it more desirable, available and recognizable.
The PRSA Board of Directors, members of the Universal Accreditation Board and PRSA staff have all reviewed the findings and are now making them available to the public. The purpose of sharing the report is to engage those in the profession and garner additional thoughts and ideas surrounding the future of the APR Credential.
Over the next two months we will be considering the options available to us and would like input from the public relations community. PRSA invites you to review the OPG findings and share your thoughts, comments and ideas about the report as well as the future of the APR. PRSA will compile the feedback provided and incorporate it into the recommendation to be presented to the PRSA Board of Directors in early 2014.
The comment period will commence with this announcement and continue through Fri, Nov. 22. You may leave comments here or email them to the staff at futureofapr [at] prsa [dot] org. We look forward to hearing your feedback as we look to make the APR the credential of the public relations profession.
Finally, you may recall that when we announced this project, we stated “abandoning Accreditation is not an option PRSA is considering.” Our charge to the OPG consulting team, however, was open ended: they were charged with giving us their best advice and presentation with respect to the future of the APR, with no reservations. As you review their work, and provide your feedback, keep in mind that, as we stated earlier, “abandoning Accreditation is not an option.”