The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) is one of the highest distinctions a PR professional can earn today. My path to becoming an APR started when I was a senior studying public relations at Florida State University.
FSU was one of the first universities to offer coursework that prepares PR students to take the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations exam. The Certificate in Principles of Public Relations is an entry-level credential designed to demonstrate a fundamental level of knowledge for graduates as they enter the communications profession and related fields. The Certificate in Principles of Public Relations process is overseen by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB).
During my senior year at FSU, I was among the first to take the Certificate Examination, which allowed me to demonstrate my understanding of the core elements of strategic communications and the real-world application of important PR concepts. Earning the Certificate gave me a unique head start when I entered the job market. Upon graduation, I was offered a position at one of Florida’s most prominent firms, Sachs Media Group, where I now serve as the deputy director of public affairs.
Besides setting me up for success in the job market, the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations also gave me a boost on my path to earning the APR credential. The foundational materials we covered during Certificate preparation turned out to be complementary to what I later studied for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. This is why I was honored to learn that I was the first PR professional in the country to earn both the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations and then the APR, a path I encourage other senior communications students to follow.
I highly recommend that any student interested in getting a running start in the job market begin with the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations. To be eligible for the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations, undergraduate students must be within six months of graduation (either before or after), have majored in public relations or a related field, and have completed an on-campus study course or the Certificate Online Study Course. Nearly 40 colleges and universities have already participated in the Certificate program since it launched in 2014. If your university doesn’t currently offer the program, you can still participate. Check out the website for details, http://www.praccreditation.org/teach/educators/.
The Certificate in Principles of Public Relations is a beneficial way to get your public relations career off to a solid beginning, just as receiving the APR designation is an outstanding way for practitioners to distinguish themselves as they advance through their professional career. To learn more about the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations program or about getting your APR, visit www.praccreditation.org.
Drew Piers, APR, is the deputy director of public affairs at Sachs Media Group and focuses on the firm’s public affairs and crisis communications clients. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife Rebecca. @DrewPiers.