Since I began my career in public relations more than a decade ago, it has always been a goal of mine to receive my APR. As the public information officer at a large government agency, I value a solid ethical, strategic and managerial approach to communications, and I knew that receiving my APR was the next step in my career.
The best part about my APR process was I embarked on it with a good friend and coworker. We were able to hold ourselves accountable for studying and provide encouragement during the process when needed. It was a great feeling when we both took the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations and passed.
For me, the most important takeaway from this entire process was not to give up. I didn’t pass the APR Examination the first time. In fact, I only missed it by a few points, but I was still extremely disappointed. I was committed to passing the second time around, though. I made sure to sharpen up on the areas I didn’t do as well on. That extra studying paid off — the second time I took the Examination, I passed! All of my scores on the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) increased, and I even received 100 percent on one section.
The APR certification is the gold standard for PR professionals and shows that you value and take the craft seriously. I immediately noticed an increase in my research, planning, implementation and evaluation skills after the test. Now, I am really looking forward to mentoring other PR professionals as they begin their APR journey.
Rachel McGuire, MBA, APR, works as the public information officer for Western Municipal Water District, which represents a population of nearly one million in one of California’s largest counties. She is a longtime PRSA member and also served on the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) board of directors since 2008 in the roles of immediate past president, president, vice president – awards, and vice president – conference. A leader in her field, she has received numerous awards for her public relations work from PRSA, CAPIO and the City-County Communications and Marketing Association.