In this session, Jeff Nall, APR, CPRC, FPRA’s VP of accreditation and certification, discussed how to stay competitive in today’s marketplace with a nationally recognized standard of competence in public relations, APR.
There are a ton of resources to help you earn your APR—the contents of the exam and the process should never be a mystery.
Accreditation is a voluntary program of the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB). It’s the only universally accepted certification for PR professionals. It’s a lifelong designation that requires maintenance. Accreditation reveals a certain level of knowledge, skills and abilities for public relations professionals and often means more money and credibility on the job.
- Completion of your application and submit the fee. You have one year to complete the process from the time your application is processed by UAB.
- Preparation through chapter study groups, online resources, reference texts, etc.
- Portfolio for your readiness review. Toward the end of your preparation, you complete a questionnaire discussing what you do in your job and a portfolio regarding a program or project you have worked on.
- Readiness Review. In this conversation with 3 accredited PR professionals, you will walk through the PR project you were involved in (your portfolio), including what you did, what you would have done with more money, etc. They will help determine whether you are ready and help you prioritize the remainder of your time studying as well.
- The computer based exam.
FPRA offers a $100 rebate if you sit for the computer based exam within 30 days of your readiness review. Many chapters also offer a $100 rebate.
There is a $195 online study course ($295 if you’re not a member of FPRA). Once enrolled, you have access to it for 12 months. There are Fall and Spring cohort groups—people who are doing it altogether.
There are 10 KSA’s on the exam. To balance your studying, review the percentages of the test each consumes and with the areas you feel you need the most improvement. Some questions ask you to take basic PR concepts and apply them to a case study. Others ask you to choose the best 2 out of 5. Approximately 160 questions are on the exam. 69 percent is required to pass. The computer based exam began in 2002.
Online resource 1: (www.praccreditation.org) The APR section on the Universal Accreditation Board website. You’ll find an online demonstration of the exam, FAQs, reference list, podcasts, and more. Twenty sample questions—either recently retired from a past exam or beta questions—are provided.
Online resource 2: FPRA website (www.fpra.org). Under professional development, you’ll find a study guide and a study session syllabus.
How much experience should an entry level professional have to take the exam? Prior to 2002, you were required to have 5 years experience practicing public relations before you could sit for your exam. There is no required amount of time in the field now. However, a little real world experience is beneficial.
This year, Jeff has worked to create access to more tools the way you want them, when you want them. Working with groups such as the Society for Human Resources to elevate and raise the status of APRs will be a goal for the coming year. He welcomes you to contact him with any questions about APR, or for any support you need. The VP of accreditation on your local chapter’s board will also be a resource for you.