PR professionals who do not have their APR are often as passionate arguing against it as those who have attained Accreditation argue for it. These are not new positions in our profession. When I decided to get my Accreditation way back in 1995, such arguments were raging around me. Twenty-two years later, though, I am as pleased with my decision to earn the credential as I was the day I passed the tests.
One can be successful in our profession without an APR, or a master’s degree, or even a degree in the academic disciplines most associated with the practice of public relations. I suppose there can be equally strong arguments for and against getting those credentials, but I didn’t pay attention to either argument. I consider myself a lifelong learner because I want to be the best I can be in my profession. Any opportunity to enhance my skillset interests me, whether or not I can definitively prove a pocketbook ROI for my time and money.
APR is not simply another professional development workshop or a one-time training program. An APR is a commitment to our profession — different from many other one-time learning opportunities because once the credential is earned, it must be maintained. I also wanted a competitive differentiator to give potential employers a tipping point to pick me over another candidate.
As with many learning experiences, I found the journey toward obtaining my APR a worthwhile ride. My study group was supportive (I am still in touch with many of them) and our professional adviser was encouraging. The Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations was challenging, but with the proper preparation I found no surprises and passed on my first attempt. Had I not passed, I knew the supportive network that helped me prepare would be available if I wanted to attempt it again.
As a passionate member of PRSA, I’ve found the credential helpful as I’ve ascended into various leadership roles in Chapters, a District and national posts. I am proud of my APR and encourage anyone considering earning the credential to go for it.
For more information about the Accreditation in Public Relations process, visit www.praccreditation.org.
Richard J. Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA, has been practicing public relations for 30 years in Fortune 500, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. He is a member of PRSA’s Board of Directors and an adjunct professor in Kent State University’s Master of Public Relations program.