Accreditation in Public Relations: the mark of distinction for public relations professionals
In 1964, the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential was established to recognize practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. More than 50 years later, the APR remains the recognized gold standard for the profession.
Earning the APR credential proves that you have successfully demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities to practice public relations effectively in today’s complex communications environment.
Accreditation in four steps
The Accreditation process can be summarized in four steps. It is important to review resources available for all four steps, starting with the process chart, before pursuing APR.
- Review and complete the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations Application.
- Prepare and sit for a Readiness Review.
- Study for and complete the computer-based examination.
- Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning through maintenance.
Professional development to support you in your journey
Local training: Join the PRSA Oregon APR cohort program
PRSA Oregon Chapter is recognized nationally for its commitment to the APR. The chapter provides a preparation course for member candidates at no charge. Each cohort, facilitated by past presidents Patti Atkins, APR, Mara Woloshin, APR, Fellow PRSA, Chuck Williams, APR and Kathy Madison, APR (Eugene area) generally begins in late January or early February, are held on Saturdays and run approximately eight weeks. Participation is voluntary and confidential.
Self-paced and individual learning
Individual members who wish to study for the APR examination on their own may request to be matched with an Accredited Chapter member who will serve as a mentor and coach. Please contact our Accreditation team at firstname.lastname@example.org for support.
Additional resources to support self-paced professional development:
In their words: what the APR means to members
Learn more from your fellow PRSA Oregon members about how getting their APR has impacted their careers and discover what they like about being part of PRSA.
Jean Kempe-Ware, APR
What did the APR mean to you before you started the process?
Jean: I viewed APR as the “stamp of approval” for our profession … a bit like CPA for accounting or AIA for architecture. To me, it signified the highest level of professional experience, knowledge, skills, ethics and accomplishment.
What did you learn about yourself as a professional during the APR process?
Jean: I learned that …
- I’m a “learning junkie.” I get excited when I learn something new or when I can apply a past experience to a new concept or model. It’s so much fun. For example, I found myself going around the office enthusiastically drawing Lang Lang’s model of Public Opinion Process to show colleagues how their work fit the model perfectly.
- Integrity is paramount.
- I love research.
- My brain still works. Even though it’s been many years since I attended college, I can still learn and memorize new material. I can still pass a test.
What should anyone interested in earning their APR keep in mind before starting the process?
Jean: The process takes thought, and it takes time. You can’t just “wing it.” You need to set aside study-time. But the process is well worth the time. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to meet our bright, multi-talented PRSA colleagues.
Taken from the January 14, 2014 PRSA newsletter; interview conducted by Mark Mohammadpour, APR.
Tim Strickland, APR is the Director, System Communications at PeaceHealth in Vancouver, Wash. and is in charge of driving its system communications strategic plan. A “Recovering Journalist,” Tim joined the region last year, following Health Care PR roles in Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Tim, you have been a member of PRSA since 2000. How has PRSA impacted you as a professional?
PRSA affirms my crazy ideas and gives me the courage to implement them! It’s given me exposure to the PRSA Health Academy. I’m a part of its Executive Committee and it’s great exposure to great thinkers in the Health Care PR field.
You have been in the Health Care field for more than 15 years. Talk about some of the key changes you’ve seen in PR and where we as a profession need to go.
In the past, Health Care lagged behind in PR innovation, but today I’m happy to report that health care is catching up. It’s been fascinating to see the decline of efficacy in traditional advertising. It’s less effective than ever and now we’re seeing that it’s imperative to work together in building a truly integrated marketing/PR program. Everything we do has to have a synergetic approach and a strong cross-promotional strategy between advertising and PR.
In our world, providing meaningful and reliable digital interactions will be important to our patients. We’ll see a greater emphasis on personalized portals for individuals, with greater demand for transparency related to quality, safety, available procedures and services, and pricing. Health care PR professionals have to be prepared for these present and future realities.
Ultimately, though, everything we do has to be about the audience and not about the organization.
You’ve been in Clark County for a few months now. What’s your perception of the area so far?
What I’ve learned is that Clark County is a vibrant, fast growing community that is richly prepared for innovation. I expect that PR will have a growing role to play in Clark County as time rolls forward. [Ed Note: We couldn’t agree more!]
When Meeting Tim at Future Events, Ask Him About…:
… life as a Mormon! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a great PR approach and a sense of humor. When the decidedly irreverent “Book of Mormon” musical hit Broadway, the Church took it all in stride. In fact, theatre patrons saw ads in their programs that read, “You’ve seen the play, now read the book!”