APR 101 – Everything You Need to Know to Take Your Career to the Next Level

In the PR world, APR are those three letters following the name of a distinguished practitioner, like M.D. after your doctor’s name or CPA after your accountant’s name. These individuals take the public relations profession seriously – not only are they passionate about advancing their career and continuing to grow as practitioners, but they have a great respect and appreciation for the PR field and work hard to ensure it evolves in a way that stays true to the profession; as the premier champions of PR Ethics and the PR process.

What is APR
Back up a minute, what is APR, exactly? APR, or the Accreditation in Public Relations designation, is a voluntary professional development program administered by the independent Universal Accreditation Board (UAB); signifying a high professional level of experience and competence. Essentially, it’s a mark of distinction for those who demonstrate their commitment to the profession, as well as broad knowledge, strategic perspective, and sound professional judgment.

Why APR
Those three letters identify a person who has achieved a higher level of expertise and commitment to the PR profession. A recent study by Baylor University* faculty revealed that Accredited PR practitioners possess more confidence in providing ethical counsel to senior leadership than their non-Accredited peers. This is because the APR process takes PR pros through exercises, case studies, discussions, and activities that inspire higher critical thinking of public relations ethics and strategy.

More than just flashy media coverage and publicity tactics, a seasoned public relations pro operates at the strategic level, focusing on target audiences and measurable effects-based results.

The Rewards
Achieving your APR is a satisfying personal and professional accomplishment that opens many doors. APR-preferred jobs are increasing nationwide, as the accreditation is a symbol of excellence and professionalism. Salary surveys also consistently show APRs earn up to 25 percent more than their non-accredited peers.

The Process
The APR process has three parts-application, Panel Presentation and Computer Based Exam (CBE). The process is rigorous, yet achievable. The PRSA San Diego/Imperial County Chapter conducts two training cycles per year Summer/Fall and Winter/Spring. Check the website for the detailed schedule. There are costs associated with the program, and Chapter scholarships are also available.

The Panel Presentation consists of a comprehensive interview/discussion with three local APR professionals who will assess a questionnaire you submit, your professional experience and portfolio. Oftentimes, those in the program create study groups, allowing for discussions and better learning of the materials. Guides, books, in-person PR boot camps, a robust On-line Course (APRREP ®), study cohorts and many other resources are available to learn from.

The final step is to take the Computer Based Exam, which can be done within one year after submitting your application. After you pass (because we know you will!), your APR accreditation is good for life with annual maintenance. After all, you’ll want to keep your PR skills fresh that you worked so hard to achieve, as well as share those skills with others.

Interested? Here are your next steps
Learn more by visiting the APR page on our website or reaching out to APR Chair Mike Daily. Today’s PR practitioners play a vital role in reputation management, image management, crisis communications and issues management and the APR accreditation makes you better equipped to lead organizations through strategic communications efforts.

8/22: Fall Online Prep Open House
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