PRSA has designated April as Accreditation Month. Members can learn more about APR through many special events, including:
- On Demand Webinars: Getting Ready for the Readiness Review, Getting Ready for the APR Computer-Based Examination, Accreditation Power Play
- Using the “Invite-a-Peer” tool to help spread the word about APR
- 50th Anniversary of APR Historical Milestones in Accreditation
- White Paper: Accreditation in Public Relations
Earning my APR was a marathon. I could not have done it without time, training and my fan club.
I started in spring 2010 by declaring my goal to my PRSSAers at UW–Eau Claire. With 20-plus years’ public relations experience, did I need the APR? No. But they would. How could I support them if I had not done it myself?
Next, I attended Minnesota PRSA’s APR PREP weekend class for three years: 2010, 2011 and 2012. Not even a white-knuckle snowstorm drive stopped me at first. Patty Hoffman, APR and Lisa Hiebert, APR, Minnesota Accreditation co-chairs, and their team acquainted me with the APR Study Guide, a key resource.
2013 arrived. I realized I would have the time. I met with Patty in March for the portfolio review and landed on my plan — the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund.
Next, I enrolled in the APR Online Course, which helped me reach the finish line. Michael Henry, facilitator and fellow Badger, became one of my greatest fans … along with my Wisconsin Study Buddy Group: Annie, Emily, and Saige from Milwaukee. Two public relations mentors from my former “lives,” Helen Schubert and Dr. Martha Fay, as well as APR Online Course mentors Michael Daily, APR, from San Diego, and Sheila Storm, APR, from Tucson, reviewed drafts. I did a practice Readiness Review online.
Once my application was approved, my Readiness Review panel was scheduled for Sept. 14, 2013, at the Better Business Bureau in Burnsville. I practiced my “presentation” again in front of two classes. Saturday morning arrived, and I got there despite a closed highway. I presented successfully. And my panel cheered me on as I was Advanced.
Last stop was the computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations on Dec. 4 , my saint’s day, at the Prometric Testing Center in Bloomington, Minn. APR Online classmate Gina Blume, APR, from New Jersey was my “running” partner now. Bad snowstorm forecast. Prophetic. I drove up the day before, and P-A-S-S never looked so good.
I had reached the finish line, which I realized is the start of my APR journey. Minn. PRSA President Tracy Carlson, APR, sent me a congratulatory letter. Judy Katzel, APR, from Portland, Maine, and on the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), called, too. After the snow melts, I’ll head to Minnesota again, for my APR pin. And the next marathon begins, with 5,000 APRs by my side.
Barbara E. Arnold, APR, is the professional adviser to the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire PRSSA Chapter.