April is APR Month at PRSA. Learn more about the Accreditation in Public Relations process here.
As a PR professional in an ever-changing world, we must continue to stay relevant and resourceful. Earning my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) continues to help me do this each day.
When I began the APR process, I was just shy of the five-year requirement but confident in all that I had been working on in my professional career. I had also just started as an adjunct professor at New Jersey City University (NJCU).
As I put together my materials, made flashcards and printed the APR Study Guide, I quickly discovered that the exam and the entire process was going to change my life for the better — both professionally and personally. (Pro tip: Do not submit the application until you are ready. The clock starts ticking then!)
Once I submitted the application, I prepared my Readiness Review panel materials. I found that it was easier than I had anticipated. Most of what I had been working on in the profession was already strategic and integrated in nature.
After the Readiness Review, I moved on to studying for the written examination. I am not the best test taker, and the thought of going to the exam center alone was daunting. I relied on the APR study guide, free boot camps and workshops, and the advice of many people who had previously taken the exam.
A sense of pride
The APR process continues to reinforce a sense of pride in and commitment to my profession, and to my own development as a practitioner.
Preparing for the exam reiterated the integrated marketing communication practices I teach in the classroom and fine-tuned my strategic planning capabilities.
Being Accredited gives me a cutting edge; in fact, NJCU requires that adjuncts who are teaching public relations are Accredited in Public Relations. It continues to give me credibility and inspiration as I have a seat at the table in discussing strategy and tactics. The APR demonstrates to everyone, from your boss to your students, that you have reached an even higher level of professionalism.
The APR credential not only certifies your ethical and strategic credentials as a PR practitioner, but it also shows that you have the drive that sets you apart from the rest.
Earning the APR helped me set a higher standard of excellence for myself and remain a testament to my broad experience and commitment to ethically practice as a professional and as a professor.
Now that I am on the other side, I enjoy serving on the panels or talking to candidates who are considering taking the next step toward their APR. My advice: Do it now!
Ashley Manz, APR, is the senior social media manager at Panasonic North America. She also teaches integrated marketing communications, social media marketing, and PR measurement to undergraduate and graduate students at New Jersey City University and Rutgers University.
Photo credit: Porrot