The Accreditation process is one of the most rewarding accomplishments I have undertaken as a professor of public relations. I work as an assistant professor at Mississippi State University, and was encouraged to pursue my APR by our department chair. My initial thoughts on the matter were that I would go through a few examinations to earn a title that would better our standing as a public relations department. What I did not realize, and would soon find out, is that the APR process is a long journey that requires study, preparation, self-assessment and subject knowledge that vastly improved my ability to transfer theoretical concepts from research into professional practice, helped me to relay concepts to students with greater ease, and gave me a more precise ethical framework to evaluate public relations practices.
APR: Accredited in Public Relations's archives
As a career public affairs specialist, I remain committed to the foundations of public relations — Research, Planning, Implementation and Execution, or RPIE — and my journey to achieving Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) was no different. The APR quest for me was first a personal, then a professional accomplishment. A member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) since 1995, I earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in the late 1990s, started a family and worked on. I always had the burning desire to achieve the APR, but it was after a yearlong leadership journey in 2011 that pushed me to turn desire into action.
Tags: APR: Accredited in Public Relations, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Government Relations & Military Communications, public affairs
There’s no time like the present. That is my best advice for anyone considering pursuing their Accreditation. For me, the journey was largely personal. I had been working for the same organization for nine years, and had settled into a comfortable role. There was no external pressure to achieve the APR, but it was something I had always considered, and thought would be a valuable learning process.
I finally decided to take the plunge at a rather unlikely stage in my life. With two young children at home — and a new baby due in February 2014 — I knew it was “now or never,” and I decided to fill out the paperwork to apply. Once I received my acceptance letter in September 2013, I nearly got cold feet. How in the world would I manage to do this at such a chaotic time? But I also had the new baby on the way, creating a tangible deadline. So I set a five-month window to complete the process and got to work.
Here are my top five tips from my experience:
I set out to achieve my Accreditation in Public Relations with a goal of learning public relations best practices and what it would take for me to be the best practitioner I could be. Most importantly, so I thought, I wanted to prove to myself that I could accomplish an aggressive personal goal.
As I glance at my APR certificate on the bookshelf in my office, I realize the process helped me learn a little more about myself than I initially bargained for:
- Meeting a personal goal within my allotted time frame. Check.
- Studying best practices and gaining knowledge and skills to become a better practitioner. Check.
- Feeling more confident in what I’ve already accomplished in my career and a sense of pride in what I’m capable of accomplishing in this wonderful field. Double check!
If you’re anything like me, earning your Accreditation in Public Relations is something you’ve long thought about and intended to do. Whether it’s April and National APR month or any month, let this be the time you stop thinking about it and intending to do it, and instead apply and pursue it.
2013 was the year for me. What began as a journey of personal and professional growth, soon turned into a renewed commitment and contribution to advancing the public relations profession.
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