Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
January 30, 2012

Make Time for Accreditation

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.

I had never been so nervous about clicking a mouse.

After spending nearly four hours taking my computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, I was about to learn the unofficial results and see if all the effort I had devoted to studying had paid off.

The process began nearly a year earlier when I mailed in my APR registration form. Although I’ve worked in public relations for more than 20 years, S&A Cherokee is the first company I’ve worked for that promotes the value of Accreditation and encouraged me to pursue it.

I never studied public relations in college, but was confident in my ability to learn and demonstrate my knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). The major obstacle for me was time.

As a public relations professional, husband, father and volunteer, my biggest challenge was in carving out the necessary time to absorb the study guide, take the online course, do the online exercises, read textbooks and prepare a case study for my panel review. Doing so required sacrificing some family and leisure time. I had to discipline myself to practice effective time management.

Being a night person, I often studied after my family had gone to bed. I also spaced out my studies so I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed at any given time, and could take a break for a week or two without feeling guilty.

I devoted countless hours to doing the exercises from the online course and noticed that the further I got into the modules, fewer of my cohorts were submitting answers and assignments. Perhaps they felt it was not the best use of their time, choosing instead only to read the materials and participate in the weekly online sessions. However, as time-consuming as they were, the exercises proved invaluable in terms of helping me prepare materials for my successful panel review.

As the Examination date drew nearer, I reverted to “final exam review” mode from college (the term “cramming” being frowned upon). I spent the final two days revisiting my study guide, handwritten notes and copy of Cutlip & Center’s Effective Public Relations.

I arrived at the Prometric testing center in plenty of time to sign forms, do the online orientation and then take the Examination. Oddly enough, the Examination itself seemed to fly by, and before I knew it, I was done.

Back to that fateful mouse click.

Click. Inhale. “Congratulations.” Exhale. It was all worth it.

Glenn Gillen, APR, is an account manager with S&A Cherokee in Cary, N.C. He is presently secretary of the North Carolina Chapter of PRSA and has been published in Public Relations Tactics and The Public Relations Strategist. Follow him at @ggpr on Twitter.

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