At first, the idea of someone with four decades of experience in PR practice and teaching taking the online course to prepare for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations seemed like overkill. Fortunately, despite my qualms, my mentor convinced me to complete the APR Online Study Course and I am grateful, for a couple of reasons.
But first I had to adjust my attitude toward the Examination and the Course. I came to the understanding that the Examination shouldn’t be thought of just as an obstacle that’s keeping you from putting APR after your name. It’s your chance to demonstrate to yourself and others in the field that you can stand with the best of them. If you can pass the Examination, others will know that you have a comprehensive grasp of the vast field of PR.
For me, the APR Online Study Course was an excellent way to systematically review the various elements of PR, and gave me the opportunity to test myself on understanding and application. The approach helped me recognize areas that needed updating, especially those that I don’t face on a regular basis. By completing every exercise in every course module, I quickly got myself up to the level I thought was necessary. It was an excellent way of going through everything I’ve learned in my long career, and refreshing my memory and experiences.
I appreciated the way the Course and the Examination challenges the participant to perform at the highest level of professionalism. Whatever the situation, there is an optimal way to proceed as a practitioner in a decision-making position, and it is incumbent on us to act ethically and follow the best practices. That’s the lesson I’ll carry with me.
I studied hard for several months, did lots of scenario testing, reflected on the role of the higher echelon PR practitioner and passed the Examination comfortably on the first attempt. It was satisfying, but I think the journey was every bit as important as the result.