In 2009 Annual Conference, Tuesday

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CPRC eligible and interested members gathered to hear a presentation by Jeff Nall, APR, CPRC, FPRA’s Vice President of Accreditation and Certification talk about what it takes to earn Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) credentials. The CPRC designation is the second-tier credential, offered exclusively to FPRA members and further validates public relations professionals as sound counselors of public relations and leaders in our profession.

Nall stands as an excellent example before his peers in this area, as he earned his APR in 2006 and his CPRC in 2007. Additionally, he earned his CPRC in the same year that he won Chapter President of the Year. Talk about your bustling and rewarding times! In 2008, he began serving the state board as VP of Accreditation and Certification, and during which time two videos were created and posted on the FPRA Web site to help potential candidates learn about how to gain their credentials.  Check them out here.

The CPRC process is very straightforward. If you already have your APR and ten years of public relations experience, simply download this application, apply ($150 fee) and receive letter of acceptance, schedule your written and oral exams and pass them within a year. If you need to retake either the written or oral part, you can do that for a reduced cost within your 12-month period.

Maybe you wouldn’t think for very long about spending $150 on a new suit or wardrobe items for your job, but those things must be replaced at some point. Alternatively, you could spend $150 on CPRC credentials that set you apart, help you shine and last a lifetime. The great news is that there are no maintenance requirements or fees to keep the CPRC designation once you earn it!

CPRC offers a tremendous value, especially in today’s economic environment. Having these types of credentials can either help support your worth within your company when it comes time for cuts or to give you a leg up if you strike out on your own.

Another benefit to becoming a CPRC is to be a part of the Counselors’ Network (CN).  As of November 2009, CPRC credentials will be a requirement to join the CN, and all CN members must be CPRC as of 2011.

CPRC written and oral tests allow you to show a thorough thought process and approach to public relations situations. There may be many answers to a given scenario, and you have the opportunity to be original and show your abilities. To prepare, Nall says it may be helpful to review your personal body of work and look for ways to flesh out your experience. Learn from friends and colleagues who work in different sectors of Public Relations. This is a test for all public relations practitioners, so it is good to look at things from a broad perspective, industry-wise.

Bullet points and outlines are perfectly acceptable on the written exam, helping candidates to streamline their thoughts and finish the test within the time parameters. The written portion is six hours long (including lunch!). Each question offers a time recommendation (15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes), that is designed to let test takers know the weight of each question for grading and to help candidates plan their time and progress through the test.

The oral portion of the process is a presentation where you present your recommendation and persuade a public relations course of action to a panel. “The presentation is a vehicle by which panelists can evaluate your presentations skills and measures your ability to persuade someone.

The order in which the written and the oral tests are taken usually depends on scheduling availability, so candidates can take them in either order. Further, candidates who may need to retake either portion can do so for a reduced cost within your 12-month period.

In the coming year, Nall will be striving to organize coordinated testing days for candidates from all across the state, so stay tuned for more details!

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