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.
How many PR professionals do you know with a lot of extra time on their hands? It seems that in this profession you become quite adept at spinning multiple plates and juggling unrelenting deadlines, while trying to keep your personal life afloat. It can be maddening and exhilarating all at once. The on-call nature of PR, coupled with ever-changing deadlines, is enough to make anyone question how they could possibly squeeze one more activity into a jam-packed day. But somehow, I, like many APR candidates who have gone before me, managed to do just that.
My background is in journalism, and post-college I fancied the idea of being a magazine editor. Writing always has been my passion, but as new career opportunities unfolded, PR became a natural fit. The one hitch was that I didn’t know the history of PR or have the formal education and training of it as a discipline. That was the impetus for me to pursue my APR.
By all accounts, my path to the APR was not ideal. Shortly after my mini jump-start, my study group fell apart and I ended up studying solo; I also started a master’s program in the middle of the APR process. After a few detours, I mustered up enough determination to finish the process and just get it over with! All told, from first inquiry to passing the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, it took me about a year-and-a-half.
The single most helpful thing for me was the mini jump-start. You receive a robust study guide highlighting the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), along with reading recommendations and topic notes. It also is the place where you can find study groups/partners and learn more about the Readiness Review process. Online resources abound, so take advantage of sample tests and pre-made flashcards.
There always will be reasons not to pursue your APR, but all you need is one reason to do it. The process can be daunting, but your perseverance will pay off.
Courtney Malengo, APR, has spent 12 years in the nonprofit sector in a variety of communication, public relations and marketing capacities. She currently works as the director of communications for National Lutheran Communities & Services.
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