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PRSA And UAB Seek Marketing, Promotion For APR

As 2015 Chair of the Universal Accreditation Board, I’m very excited to announce an opportunity for a consultant or firm to work with the Universal Accreditation Board APR-Est-1964(UAB) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) on marketing the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential.

Virtually everyone I’ve ever met in over 25 years who holds the APR is thankful to have earned the credential and understands the value of the PR Accredited for their career as a trusted communication advisor. The major consistent recommendation I’ve heard is that the APR should be promoted more so that it holds more weight in the field and additional professionals will be encouraged to earn the credential. Having more APRs would then in turn help the profession and provide more credibility to the profession. Various certifications in other diverse professions have been developed with great success. We’re all familiar with accounting, engineering, financial planning, insurance and other areas where they have embraced these important professional development programs, and I even recently saw a Certified Professional Hacker on a television news program!

I believe this year marks a major milestone for the APR. Never before have we had the  chance to capitalize on a significant anniversary (50th for the APR in 2014) and have two important committees work together to expand what the UAB and its eight participating organizations have been working on since 1998 when the UAB was formed. Since this spring, the UAB Marketing Communications Work Group and the PRSA APR Marketing Committee have met in person, held conference calls, and worked virtually to develop a long-range plan to market the APR to complement past accomplishments. We plan for this expanded effort to impact the APR very positively on a large scale.

The timing for further emphasizing the APR impact is prime. In addition to marketing the APR on a much larger scale next year, this year we also are completing a beta exam process after reviewing the computer-based Examination in its entirety. Study materials additionally are being updated during 2015, and in January 2016 the Examination will be relaunched.

We are currently soliciting RFPs for this opportunity, with an initial budget of $40,000 in the first year. These proposals are due on Friday, September 18 by 5:00 PM (ET). Interested parties can also see the FAQ’s further expanding on the purpose and goals of this endeavor. Thanks for your support of the APR and furthering public relations.

*Note: To access the APR Marketing RFP through the PRSA website, you must log in using a free MyPRSA account. Specific APR RFP questions should be directed to Kathy Mulvihill, senior manager of Accreditation at PRSA, at accred@prsa.org.


Dr. John E. Forde, APR, Fellow PRSA, serves as 2015 chair of the UAB and has been a member of PRSA since 1989. Dr. Forde is committed to lifelong learning and has been teaching at Mississippi State University in the Department of Communication since 1987. Dr. Forde became head of the department on July 1, 2004, and continues to teach Principles of Public Relations, both in person and online. The Mississippi State University Department of Communication of 600 majors and 28 faculty includes concentrations in public relations, broadcasting, journalism, theatre, and communication studies.

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