Accreditation in Public Relations

APR – The Beginning of a Lifelong Journey

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My APR journey began when I attended an informational meeting following a Nebraska PRSA regional conference. The APR chair explained the process of applying, preparing and presenting your Readiness Review questionnaire and Readiness Review portfolio to a panel of APRs, and finally sitting for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. I’d been in public relations for more than 20 years, so it was time for me to validate my career with Accreditation.


I dug in and prepared my Readiness Review questionnaire, which was a case study involving a recently completed client project. Preparing my case study made me realize how much I hadn’t considered when originally working on the project. After submitting my questionnaire, I sat before a Readiness Review panel and presented my portfolio (case study). Within a few weeks, I received a letter informing me that I had been Advanced to the computer-based Examination. I studied for the Examination with a friend who also was in process. Every week we discussed selected chapters of Cutlip and Center’s “Effective Public Relations.”

I found the Examination to be challenging, fair and comprehensive.  I did not pass on my first attempt, however. I came to the realization that in order to pass the Examination, I had to focus more attention on the APR Study Guide. By doing so, I learned to dissect scenarios, select my target audiences and decide upon the best objectives and tactics for each.

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Jim Bush receives his official APR pin at the June 2016 Nebraska PRSA meeting.

Although I had bouts of self-doubt and failure along the way, I never gave up, focused on my goal, consulted mentors, persisted and finally passed the Examination! Earning my APR ranks among my highest lifetime achievements. I had earned my APR, but thought, what is next? I’ve decided that earning my APR is not an end, but the beginning of a lifelong journey of teaching and mentoring others. This is what the APR designation represents. Each generation passes knowledge to the next and adds to the body of knowledge, emerging tools, technologies and techniques used by public relations practitioners to help the organizations they represent better relate to the publics they serve.

My advice is to earn your APR and enjoy the process, as it represents a mastery of knowledge in our profession and is an educational journey that doesn’t end the day you earn it. I would encourage candidates who have questions regarding Accreditation to contact me, as I’m willing to help in any capacity.

Jim Bush, APR, Owner, Jim Bush PR, a full-service public relations firm located in Omaha, Nebraska.


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Jim Bush, APR

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