Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
June 22, 2012

APR: More Than a Title

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When I began my pursuit of Accreditation in Public Relations, I was focused mainly on adding more letters to my name. Little did I realize that achieving the status of APR would bring much more than a title…it would completely change how I approached the profession of public relations.

Many people will tell you about the rigorous nature of preparing (and completing) the APR process. My own journey entailed quite a bit of reading from the “short shelf” of recommended texts, participating in my local chapter’s APR preparation course, being involved with PRSA’s online study group, and countless hours of preparation for the oral and written exam. For anyone deciding to pursue an APR, time and energy is definitely an important component. And, after pouring your life into this, receiving the letter from the Universal Accreditation Board verifying your status is definitely an event to celebrate.

I confess, I was one of “those.” Once I received my letter, my Linked-In profile was immediately updated, I sent out Facebook and Twitter updates and yes, I immediately emailed my boss. Once the initial excitement passed, however, I realized that something far bigger than simply adding letters behind my name had happened. Because of the APR process, I understood public relations in a deeper and more robust way than ever before.

If there’s one thing I would tell anyone considering an APR, it would be “remember that it’s about the journey…not just the destination.” Yes, that sounds so cliché, but it’s absolutely true. Your APR journey will refine your understanding of the role and process of public relations within organizations. You’ll find yourself able to objectively analyze and solve PR questions from industries across the board — not just your own specialization. And, you’ll walk away confident that you’re employing the best PR practices possible to provide the greatest benefits to your clients and the public. It changes your career.

Carolyn Mae Kim, APR, is with the public relations and corporate communications faculty at Biola University in the Department of Journalism and Integrated Media. An Accredited Public Relations professional (APR), she is also an author and speaker for social media and SEO.

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