Editor’s Note: 2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and April sets the stage for APR Month. In recognition of those who have earned an APR designation since its inception in 1964, PRSA will be featuring articles written by Accredited professionals. Track the series and join the discussion by using the hashtag #APR50. To learn more about the APR, please visit the Universal Accreditation Board.
Obtaining my Accreditation in Public Relations was something that had always been in the back of my mind. In college, as a PRSSA member, one of my professors, Dr. Susan Gonders, APR encouraged us to join PRSA after graduation and subsequently seek an APR. At that time I wasn’t sure why this was important. Because I respected this professor, I took her advice seriously. After nearly seven years in the industry it was time to get serious about my APR goal.
In 2011, I began the process that would lead to taking the APR exam. I am fortunate enough to be a member of PRSA Tampa Bay Chapter, which has an APR Readiness program that has been recognized and commended for the support it offers to APR candidates. Accredited members unite to provide the candidates with mentoring, readiness review evaluation and course instruction.
Our chapter also sponsors a six-week APR course. During that time, you are able to hone your skills in research, planning, implementation, evaluation, crisis planning and more. You also become like a family with your fellow APR candidates. Everyone provides support for one another through the process and you form invaluable friendships and professional contacts. Several participants in my APR class have since sought leadership roles in our chapter.
You don’t realize how proud of yourself you will be until the computer screen flashes “passed.” It is then, that you will realize that your hard work, study and strategic thinking have paid off. For me, achieving the APR says that I am a capable communicator, strategist and evaluator of public relations campaigns. The APR reinforces the public relations skills you already have and reminds you of the foundations on which this industry was built. I would recommend it to anyone who has been in the public relations field for more than 4-5 years and would like to pursue a professional accreditation that instills pride in the profession.
Marissa Segundo, APR is Recycling Promotions Coordinator for the City of Largo, Florida. She is also accredited in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design as a Green Associate. She has been praticing public relations for ten years. Marissa is a member of PRSA’s Tampa Bay Chapter where she has served as Chair/Founder of Diversity Committee and current President-Elect.