Blogger: Sarah Coulson, Gainesville Chapter
Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC, started out the session with an overview of the history of Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). The Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) administers the Examination for APR and coordinates all activities related to the APR designation. The UAB was established in 1998 by a coalition of public relations professional organizations including various organizations, including the Florida Public Relations Association, and the Public Relations Society of America. Each organization contributes resources and senior-level volunteer members representing all segments of the public relations profession.
If you are thinking about pursuing your APR, here’s what you need to know:
- Any member of good standing
- There used to be a requirement of at least five years of experience in public relations, but now this is strongly recommended (average is seven to eight years of experience)
- Once you receive the notification from the UAB that you are eligible to take the APR, you have one year to complete
- Panel Presentation
- $385, can be split into payments
- FPRA has a $100 rebate and many chapters offer additional rebates
Five Steps to Earning your APR:
- Submit Application: This step pretty much says it all. Byrnes gave some great advice by suggesting to make sure to submit your application after you have studied and also after you have fully prepared for your panel presentation. The application can be found here: http://www.praccreditation.org/resources/documents/APR-Application.pdf.
- Study: There is a 161-page study guide available here: http://www.praccreditation.org/resources/documents/apr-study-guide.pdf. Byrnes discussed the importance of the guide as well as the study sessions, “Chapter study session are invaluable.” She added that if your chapter doesn’t offer study sessions to contact FPRA State and they will connect you to another chapter who is holding study sessions. She added, “The theme is “No Excuses.’” Byrnes also suggested to find a study buddy, “especially someone who has an APR – use them as a sounding board.”
- Panel Presentation: This presentation includes 12 areas of competency that cannot be measured on the exam. The panel wants to know if you have a solid understanding of public relations principles using the four-step public relations process — Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation (RPIE). Preparation material can be found here: http://www.praccreditation.org/resources/documents/apr-RR-Panel-Instructions.pdf.
- Exam: This exam is scheduled 30 days in advance, and includes 140 questions, with a majority of the questions focused on RPIE. Each question can be traced back to the study guide. Byrnes said, “This exam is a very strong representation of your skill and your ability – a lot of it is about strategy, they are asking you for your best approach.” Other exam tips Byrnes provided were to dress comfortably, arrive early and even do a dry run to see how long it takes to get to the examination location, be sure to mark any questions you want to return to before completion, and be aware that you will receive the results right after you hit submit. “The exam will even give you a breakdown of how well you did in each category,” said Byrnes.
- Maintenance: Need to submit 10 points over three years, including at least 5 points in continuing education and development (http://www.praccreditation.org/resources/documents/apr-maintenance-application.doc). Byrnes warned to not let this lapse. If you do, you will need to start the entire APR process over again. Byrnes also reminded everyone to be sure to inform the UAB if you change jobs.
There are two FPRA members that serve on the UAB Board of Directors:
- Kathleen M. Giery, APR, CPRC
Director, Donor Program Development
LifeQuest Organ Recovery Service
- Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC
Hart & Associates
For study tools and information on both the APR and CPRC, please visit: https://www.fpra.org/accreditation-certification/accredited-in-public-relations/.
Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
FPRA VP of Accreditation and Certification
Ocala, Florida Area