Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
December 10, 2013

Doubt Your Doubts to Achieve Accreditation

As the public relations and marketing manager of PKE Marketing & PR Solutions, I recently achieved my Accreditation in public relations, and since then many of my peers have been asking for advice about the APR process. I’ve been asked whether I think getting Accredited would benefit their careers, what my study methods were and tips I have for passing. I thought this blog would be the perfect place to share what worked for me.

1. Wanting It

The first time I discovered what an APR was, I was still in grad school. Although I realized I was going to need to wait until I’d gained some real-world experience before beginning the process, it’s been in the back of my mind since then. I WANTED this. And I kept my focus on that goal.

2. Timing and Dedication

The Accreditation process for me consisted of attending free study classes provided by the Florida Public Relations Association, writing my Readiness Review paper, presenting my Readiness Review to my panel, studying and sitting for the multiple choice Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. Instead of going home each night and relaxing on the couch, I was reviewing notes, reading chapters, meeting for study sessions, practicing flash cards, etc. All of this took place over a period of seven months. Before you start, consider your level of motivation and evaluate how much time you have to give. If you’re not dedicated, don’t start.

3. Experience

Rather than your years of experience, evaluate the scope of work you’ve done. For me, the benefit of working on the agency side of public relations and handling a variety of clients allowed me to develop a broader knowledge of public relations and inevitably helped me to pass the Examination. I think the APR can be a more difficult process if you’ve only worked for one company that conducts business in one industry AND you’ve only had a few years of experience. But, you’re the best judge of what you’re capable of. So, if you think you’re ready, go for it!

4. Get Zen With It

Maybe it’s the yogi in me, but this worked and I’m swearing by it. The week of the Examination I decided to only study lightly and attempt (operative word) to not stress too much. Instead of grueling morning workouts, I chose to take calming yoga classes and I visualized myself passing the Examination. In my head, I walked through each step of taking the multiple-choice Examination, even imagining the overall, passing score I would get. Result? I passed and I got the exact score that I visualized. Powerful.

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