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APR Certification

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 successful completion of these 3 steps:

  1. Readiness Review Questionnaire
  2. Presentation of a portfolio to a panel of 3 peers; and
  3. A computer-based exam.

How do you become an APR?

It is recommended that candidates have at least 5 years of experience in the full-time practice or teaching of public relations and have earned either a bachelor’s degree in a communication-specific field (e.g., public relations, journalism, mass communication) or have equivalent work experience, which includes public relations principles, public relations writing, public relations campaigns, research, ethics and law.

  1. Have 5 years of public relations experience (although you can begin studying before your 5-year mark).
  2. Contact our INSPRA APR Chair, Carla Erdey, to discuss your intent, your plan and timeline.
  3. Download the free APR Study Guide and get familiar with the Knowledge, Skills & Abilities tested on the computer-based exam.
  4. Check out the recommended textbooks.
  5. Consider participating in the Online APRPREP Study Course.
  6. Determine what project you will highlight for your panel presentation. Select a public relations plan that reflects your experience. For inspiration, visit the NSPRA Gold Medallion Award Winners website. Reconnect with Terri McHugh, who will assign you a mentor to help you with this process.
  7. Submit your Accreditation Application Form and a payment of $385 to the UAB (click the link to check this fee, as it may change). Once approved, you have one year to complete the process. You should receive notification of eligibilty within 4 weeks. Do not submit this application until you are confidant you can finish the process in one year.
  8. Fill out the Panel Presentation Questionnaire and submit to NSPRA 15 business days before your scheduled panel presentation. INSPRA APR Chair Terri McHugh will coordinate a practice panel with APR's from Illinois should you request it.
  9. Schedule your APR Panel. For assistance setting up your panel presentation, contact NSPRA Accreditation Committee Chair Naomi Hunter, APR, at [email protected] or NSPRA staff liaison Rebecca Shaw at [email protected]
  10. Panelists will use the APR Panel Guide and Scoring Form on this page to determine if you can advance to the exam.
  11. Receive notification if you can proceed to take the test. If you do not advance, you can repeat the panel presentation after 90 days.
  12. Take the Computer-based Test at a Prometric testing facility. You will receive immediate feedback on if you passed.
  13. Renew your APR status every 3 years through these APR Maintenance activities.

If you have questions about pursuing your APR, please contact INSPRA APR chair Carla Erdey, APR, community relations director in School District 54, at [email protected].

INSPRA members who have their APR are also valuable sources of information.