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 professionalism in our field.

Earning the APR credential affirms that you have successfully demonstrated mastery of the public relations body of knowledge and professional ethics needed to practice public relations effectively in today’s complex communications environment.

PRSA Portland Accredited members celebrate the 50th anniversary of the APR credential

Accredited members from throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington celebrate the 50th anniversary of the APR credential at the 2014 Spotlight Awards Ceremony

Accreditation in six steps

The professional accreditation process, found here on the PRSA website, can be summarized in the following steps. It is important to review resources available for each of these steps before pursuing the APR credential.

  1. Read the overview of the process, download APR Study Guide (free) and order a copy of the textbook, Effective Public Relations (11th edition or later).
  2. Review and complete the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations Application.
  3. Register for and complete the optional 8-week course offered by our chapter, “Preparing for the APR Examination.” (It’s free, and usually begins in mid-February.)
  4. Prepare and sit for a Panel Presentation.
  5. Study for and successfully complete the computer-based examination.
  6. 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

The 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, coached by seasoned APRs and PRSA Fellows, generally begins in mid-February, is held on Saturday mornings and runs 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 [email protected] 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

Jean Kempe-Ware, APR

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 …

  1. 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.
  2. Integrity is paramount.
  3. I love research.
  4. 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.

Jacque Coe, APR

According to Jacque Coe, APR, of the Puget Sound Chapter, the APR is one of the best investments you can make in your career. Here’s her perspective on Why the APR has a Great ROI.