Editor’s note: This is the part of an ongoing series of articles from communicators who have earned their Accreditation in Public Relations, describing what led them to become accredited and what the accreditation experience was like for them.
There are a few public relations professionals out there who claim that the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) is no longer relevant to the modern practice of public relations. My response? These individuals have clearly not explored the process or fully understand what it takes to earn Accreditation or practice as an APR.
While there might be one or two things that always could be updated about the content of the study guide and the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations questions to better reflect current events, the foundation of strategic planning does not change.
The process itself, while achievable on your own time, is a commitment that still takes a lot of good old-fashioned work. The three components: the essay application, the Readiness Review presentation and the computer-based Examination test different skill sets, all applicable to practitioners on a daily basis. This testing is an opportunity for professionals to prove their proficiency in planning, ethics and strategic thinking based on both professional experience and extending learning. Candidates are challenged to reflect on how these concepts apply to both past and current campaigns.
The classes and study materials helped greatly throughout the process, but as with all things of value, the APR is an investment in time. And yes, it is designed to be intimidating. I printed my first APR study guide in 2010, but didn’t muster the courage to start the process until 2014!
Through obtaining my APR, I have been reminded that there is always more to be learned in this field, and why I’m so proud to be a part of it. The APR designation indicates that not only is a professional qualified to address the rigors of the public relations planning process, but that the practitioner also is committed to the profession.
True, there are many talented individuals who have succeeded without it, but the APR denotes someone with the grit to see the process through to the end. An APR has demonstrated commitment to the practice of public relations and has made the investment to pursue additional knowledge and challenges to better himself or herself professionally. Why wouldn’t you want to be among those ranks?
Allison A.B. Schroeder, APR, is a public relations and social media consultant based in Cincinnati, Ohio. She works with a variety of B2B and B2C clients on a regional and national basis. Follow her on twitter @abrinkman.