APR – Accreditation in Public Relations – is a mark of distinction in PR; a credential defined by PRSA as certifying your drive, professionalism, and principles, setting you apart from your peers and positioning you as a leader and mentor in the competitive public relations field.
At the April 26th program An Introduction to APR, Josh Gitelson, PRSA Boston APR Chair, walked attendees through the preparation and steps to achieve APR. He also gave a personal perspective on how APR helps you learn about industry practices and high standards and become a leader in the profession.
Josh, came to PR after being a journalism major and, after several years working as a PR professional, found the APR process “incredibly rewarding.” He felt the best part was studying for the exam. “I felt like I was earning a mini-MBA, and after practicing PR for a number of years, I could step back and get new perspectives and understandings.”
He explained that the APR preparation and exam focus on six major areas of PR. They include Research & Planning; Leading the PR Function; Managing Relationships; Ethics and Law; Managing Issues and Crisis Communication; and Understanding Communication Models, Theories and PR History.
He added that while you have an entire year to complete the APR process, preparation can typically take three or four months—and some people move through the study period even more quickly. “However, you can really do the preparation at your own pace.”
Five Steps to APR Success
- Any member in good standing of PRSA or its partner organizations may take on the challenge of earning accreditation. At least five years of professional experience in PR is recommended, but not required.
- Submit a one-page application found at the PRSA national website. Once the application is approved, candidates have one year to take the online Certification Exam.
- Even before applying, you can download a free, 160+ page APR study guide from the PRSA national website. It contains information, exercises, case studies, and more. It also lists recommended texts, such as Effective Public Relations by Cutlip & Center. PRSA national also offers an online study course for a fee.
- When you feel ready, contact Josh, and apply to participate in a Panel Presentation with three APRs. At the session, you will be invited to talk about your professional experience and background and present a PR program/case study from your work.
- If the panel agrees that you’re ready to take the Accreditation Exam, you can then make arrangements to take the multiple-choice exam shortly thereafter. Upon completion, the results are available in minutes.
Josh is available at JOSHG1068@gmail.com. He is happy to discuss the APR program in more detail, connect candidates with local PRSA accreditation study groups and answer any questions.