APR Accreditation


APR 50th AnniversaryWhere your public relations career takes you is based on individual drive, determination and diligence. One next step all seasoned practitioners should consider is earning the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) designation. Earning the APR certification proves you have successfully demonstrated competency in the knowledge, skills and abilities required to practice public relations effectively in today's business arena. In 2014, APR turns 50!

What is APR Accreditation?

The APR Accreditation is the only professional certification program open to public relations professionals. It's also one of the oldest and most respected designations in the communications industry.

What is the purpose of Accreditation?

The purpose is to unify and advance the profession by identifying those who have demonstrated broad knowledge, experience and professional judgment in the field of public relations. The program seeks to improve public relations practice. The designation Accredited in Public Relations (APR) signifies a high professional level of experience and competence.

Who administers the Accreditation program?

The Accreditation program is administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), a consortium of 10 leading industry organizations, including PRSA.

Who can pursue the APR?

Any PRSA member in good standing can take on the challenge of earning Accreditation. However, it is recommended that candidates have at least five years' experience in the full-time practice or teaching of public relations and who have earned either a bachelor's degree in a communication-specific field (e.g., public relations, journalism, mass communication) or have equivalent work experience, which includes public relations principles, public relations writing, public relations campaigns, research, ethics and law and internship (practical experience under supervision).

What steps are involved?

The first step towards advancing your career begins by contacting our APR chair at APR@prsaie.org. You can also download and review the APR preparation guide. The goal is to get applicants through the process in less than six months. Here's is a rough outline:

  1. August: The Inland Empire chapter offers a guided APR process starting in August. All interested candidates are asked to complete the national application by August 1st and attend our information dinner August 5th (location to be determined).
  2. August: Start studying the suggested readings outlined in our easy study guide.
  3. August/September: Join two local APRs and help just a sister chapter's PR awards.
  4. September: Schedule Readiness Review.
  5. October: Review national guidelines for your Readiness Review Essays. Then, download the essay questions, write and submit Essays by 10/6.
  6. November: Prepare and present at the Readiness Review Panel (Saturday, November 8, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. – 3pm in Riverside).
  7. December/January: Upon acceptance from national and passing your Readiness Review, schedule and sit for the computer-based test.

What is the fee?

The application fee is $385. PRSA members receive a rebate of $110 upon completion of the computer-based Examination. Total cost for the process will change depending on the study techiques and resources you invest in.

When should I start the process?

It's best to begin seeking Accreditation when you can commit the time, energies and resources to completing the entire process. Applicants have ONE YEAR from the date of application to complete the process.

How long does the process take?

It varies based on the individual and the number of applicants in your area. Once your application is approved, you have one year to complete Readiness Review and take the computer-based Examination. Our guided process attempts to get the process complete in less than six months.

What's the Computer-based Examination process like?

The Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations is computer-based and administered at Thompson Prometric Testing Centers throughout the United States. There are Prometric centers in most major cities. You'll have three hours and forty-five minutes to complete the Examination. This time includes a 10-15 minute optional break for candidates. A few weeks after the Examination, you'll receive notification on your results.

How long does the APR last?

The APR designation is a lifetime accreditation. However, APRs must complete maintenance requirements every three years and remain an active member.