A Symbol of the Profession

    With many public relations professionals increasingly ambivalent about pursuing their professional accreditation (APR), the Public Relations Society of America is launching a public relations strategy aimed at increasing the profile and prestige of the designation as it approaches its 50-year anniversary.

    “Whether or not you personally support the mission and goals of the APR, it is one of PRSA’s most differentiating traits as an organization,” said PRSA 2013 Chair and CEO Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA. (And our November luncheon speaker)

    “We must value our own professional designation and do all we can to encourage public relations practitioners to value their own professionalism by seeking this designation. If APR is to receive more recognition and support — both from inside and outside of PRSA — then our actions must support that goal.”

    PRSA has retained the Organizational Performance Group (OPG), which will explore stakeholder perceptions on strengths and weaknesses of the current APR, pros and cons of maintaining the APR, desired services for APR holders, suggestions for improvements and strategies for supporting Accreditation and marketing it to PRSA Members and employers.

    Established in 1964, the APR is one of two national post-graduate certification programs for public relations professionals and other professional communicators — the other being the ABC Credential offered by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

    The APR involves completing a candidate qualifications questionnaire, advancing through a “readiness review” presentation/interview with three professional peers and passing a computer-based examination. The process is intended to measure a public relations practitioner’s fundamental knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) in 10 specific areas, including researching, planning, implementing and evaluating public relations programs; ethics and law; business literacy; and crisis communication.

    Currently, more than 3,800 PRSA members hold the APR Credential. Another 30 hold the Accredited in Public Relations + Military (APR+M) Credential.

    Meanwhile, back here in Hampton Roads, Courtney Anderson, APR, has agreed to chair our accreditation committee. She is our chapter’s most recent APR and is available to answer questions and guide you through the APR process. You can reach Courtney at [email protected]

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