Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
February 8, 2012

Think — Don’t Overthink: Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)

Participate in PRSA’s online training session, “Getting Ready for the Readiness Review,” on Feb. 14, 2012 3–4 p.m. EST. This public relations accreditation training sesssion is free to PRSA members.

Like many would-be APRs, I was a bit intimidated at the process — all through college, my professors all held APRs, and it seemed like some kind of distinction for the “select, chosen few.” But after completing the application process and the questionnaire successfully, the intimidation factor certainly diminished.

Being able to focus in on my area of expertise in the Readiness Review allowed me to feel as though I was the part of the “chosen few.” I focused on university relations, having completed a project and study for a university a few years earlier. Using materials from the project, which was overseen by an APR holder, gave me the confidence to present and speak on the topic.

The Readiness Review was more of a discussion than presentation — a simple sit down with the members and a relaxed conversation about the process — no grilling. Actually, I found I did way more work than necessary by providing volumes of plans and data, when in reality, the panel members were more interested in narrative discussion of the plan and its outcomes — both successful and not. They seemed more interested in what I learned during the process than regurgitating some theories and models.

As for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations — granted, a lot of questions, but the APR study guide enabled me to focus on my weakest areas. Although, admittedly, teaching and studying public relations as a profession gave me the confidence to take on the Examination without a lot of stress. The Examination is mostly about analyzing and rationalizing the scenarios and providing sensible answers — no trick questions, no real dates to memorize and, thankfully, no heavy math.

Take it one step at a time and rely on your chairperson as your guide who is there to take you successfully through the process. He/she is a resource not to be underestimated.

Joseph Harasta, APR, is the assistant professor of public relations at Kutztown University.

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