As I neared the five-year mark in the public relations industry, it was a personal goal for me to obtain my APR designation. It was never a question of if I would go through the process, but when? I decided to pursue my APR early on, rather than wish I had already became Accredited ten years down the road.
I started putting together my Readiness Review in May 2009 with the goal of taking the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations when I returned from maternity leave in fall. (I figured I would have plenty of time to study on maternity leave — how naïve!) As it always does, life happens, and between a new baby and work responsibilities, 2009 came and went with me making little progress toward getting my APR.
A year later, I came back to my Readiness Review and really buckled down. I made it a priority to complete the process by December 2010. I was advanced through the Readiness Review in August with the goal of taking the Examination in October. Again, life and work got in the way and before I knew it, November was here.
I took the week after Thanksgiving off work and studied for 3-4 hours every day. I spent a lot of time on the online study course. Not only did I go through all of the modules, but I would get lost in the forums. It helped to see how others answered questions on certain issues. I read “Effective Public Relations,” which was also a textbook from one of my college public relations courses.
Since I majored in public relations, none of the material was new to me. Studying was more of a refresher. This gave me a huge advantage and I recommend that those with public relations degrees take the Examination as close to the five-year mark as possible, while you still recall some of what you learned in college!
Lauren Reed, APR, is a senior director at Peritus, where she manages communications and public affairs counsel for a variety of clients. Lauren is also responsible for day-to-day management of Peritus’ Tennessee office.