What is APR?
These three little letters after a public relations professional’s name pack a big punch. APR stands for Accreditation in Public Relations and is one of the highest marks of distinction that a public relations professional can acquire. It signifies a practitioner’s depth of knowledge, skills and abilities related to the field of public relations. APR is administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) and requires the successful completion of a portfolio review judged by peers, and a written examination.
APR candidates must demonstrate a high-level of proficiency in ten different facets of public relations and communications. It is not something that one can simply study for and memorize facts. To earn certification, a professional must demonstrate a strong understanding of communication theories, research, planning, ethics, laws, media relations, and crisis skills, and they must also be able to apply their knowledge to actions that achieve results.
Earning certification in public relations is a voluntary process. Unlike doctors, lawyers and teachers – to name a few – public relations professionals do not have to pass a final test in order to obtain a license to practice. By not requiring certification, anyone, regardless of experience or education, can call themselves public relations professionals. While this allows people with diverse backgrounds to practice, it also creates an inconsistency in expertise. One of the biggest benefits of a certification program is that is provides a standard for industry professionals and declares that an individual has the knowledge, skills and ability to function in public relations in any industry as the accreditation is universal. (It is similar to certified public accountants (CPAs) in that you can be a CPA or you can be an accountant without earning your CPA.) Furthermore, APR requires a commitment to continuous professional development and strict adherence to a code of ethics.
If you have questions about pursuing your APR, please contact INSPRA APR chair Terri McHugh, APR, community relations director in School District 54, at 847-357-5028 or TerriMcHugh@sd54.k12.il.us