Is it Time to Earn Your APR?
While summer is still in full swing, there are a few signs that it’s time to get back to school and we want you to think about PR school!
If you’ve thought about being accredited in public relations—it’s the perfect time to get back to jump in! If you have five years of full-time experience in the field—you’re probably a great candidate and WMPRSA wants to help you reach the goal of APR.
There are five steps to achieving your APR.
First: You Need to Commit to Becoming an APR
If you are interested in taking the exam—we want to hear from you. We are planning a program of some sort for the fall months. It could be a weekend immersive, or we might do it over a few weeks—we want to hear from you about your interest and schedule. Our plan is to offer the program only if we have a group of people that are highly-motivated and committed to taking the exam—preferably in 2019. If you know this is something you want to do, or think it is, please contact Roberta F. King, APR. firstname.lastname@example.org
Second: You Must Apply!
The four-page application requests career information with years of experience, current and prior positions, functions you’ve performed in these roles. Submit your completed application to the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) along with a one-time $385 fee. You’ll have one calendar year after your application is approved to complete the required panel presentation and computer-based Examination for Accreditation in
Third: You Must Apply Yourself.
There are study resources are on the UAB website and WMPRSA will be organizing a FREE prep program and creating a learning support group in Grand Rapids and there are also webinars to help you prepare for the Examination.
Fourth: The Panel Presentation
The Panel Presentation is an assessment by a three-member panel of Accredited professionals who evaluate your knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) in 12 specific areas that cannot be effectively judged by the computer based examination. Candidates typically take eight to 10 hours to complete their questionnaire. It includes a variety of questions related to your experience and methods of PR planning.
Candidates will prepare a portfolio of materials to show in a 30- to 60-minute presentation. The three APR panelists will ask questions based on both the submitted questionnaire and presentation you make — the entire session lasts about two hours. The panelists then evaluate you to determine if you’re ready to be advanced to the computer-based examination.
Fifth: The Examination
When ready, the candidate schedules the computer-based examination at a testing center near you on a day that fits your schedule. The examination typically takes about 3 1/2 hours. A testing administrator will inform you of your unofficial results before you leave the testing center. If you pass, the UAB grants Accreditation. If not, you’ll need to repeat your panel presentation and exam. Don’t be discouraged if it takes more than one try, the exam is challenging.
Accreditation is for life, but it requires you to demonstrate ongoing professional development, leadership and/or public service in the profession. A simple form allows you to report the required number of hours and activities to certify maintenance of your Accreditation every three years. Most professionals find the requirements to be easy yet valuable as a consistent reminder of the distinction of an APR.
Ever wonder why people seek accreditation?
A few WMPRSA APR gave us their why.
Tom Hanley, APR
“Early in my path from journalist to public relations practitioner, I realized I did not know what I did not know. Participation in PRSA helped open my eyes to PR as a "profession." As soon as I had five years of experience I pursued accreditation as if it was a graduate school course of study. I gained a body of knowledge that transformed my career, added value to what I was able to deliver to my employer, and opened many doors. It even enabled me to teach a senior capstone course "Public Relations Campaigns" in college for the past five years as an adjunct faculty member. Be one of the ‘5 percent’ of PR practitioners who achieve APR status. It is the best career investment I ever made.”
Amanda St. Pierre, APR
“For me, going through the APR process has added depth and more meaning to my PRSA membership. Being accredited keeps me active in our chapter and focused on the growth of this profession. I also like that it demonstrates my knowledge of public relations and commitment to PRSA's code of ethics. A mentor once told me that accountants become CPAs, so we become APRs. I completed the process during a time in which I was ready for a professional challenge, and I'm glad I saw it through. Plus, I earned a pin, which is pretty neat.”
Roberta F. King, APR
“I’m always up for a challenge and achieving APR was all of that! I was working in healthcare at the time of my accreditation and in that field, a quality credential was held in regard and I wanted to be more equal to some of my co-workers. By nature, I’m a terrible test taker and this forced me to learn, memorize, study and practice the principles of our profession and I relate the material to the work I do every day. I’m proud to have APR after my name.”
Kim Skeltis, APR
“Earning my APR was an incredible point of pride and a highlight of my career. I appreciated the rigorous, disciplined preparation process that helped me sharpen my approach to the profession. The entire journey of pursuing your APR is as important as the accreditation itself—even if you decide not to take the exam, it’s a wonderful refresher course on the fundamentals of public relations planning.”