APR is the accreditation program developed specifically for public relations practitioners by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), a consortium of nine professional organizations, including PRSA.
PRSA members pursue accreditation as a way to increase the depth of their theoretical knowledge and to sharpen their expertise for developing effective communications strategies and plans. APR designation signifies to employers a high degree of professionalism and provides an advantage over the competition. Accredited professionals earn approximately 20 percent more than their non-accredited colleagues.
Clients and employers have seen my APR accreditation as a sign of expertise in public relations, and as evidence of a commitment not only to my industry, but to theirs.
-Karen LaFlamme, APR
Public Relations Counsel
Puyallup Fair and Events Center
Any PRSA member in good standing can take on the challenge of earning accreditation. However, PRSA recommends that candidates have at least five years’ experience in the full-time practice or teaching of public relations and have earned either a bachelor’s degree in a communication-specific field or have equivalent work experience.
1. Apply: Submit a brief application and fee to the Universal
2. Prepare a written submission: Provide answers to the Readiness
Review Candidate Questionnaire to the chapter APR Chair, who
will schedule a Readiness Review panel.
3. Complete Readiness Review: A panel of three chapter APRs
meet with you in a one- to two-hour session to discuss your
written submission and review your portfolio. They will determine
if you are ready to advance to the computer-based exam.
4. Take the computer-based exam: Complete the multiple-choice
exam at a time convenient to you at a local Prometric testing
Candidates have one year to complete the APR process after their application is approved. With focused effort, and depending on a candidate’s prior education and experience, the process can be completed in as little as three to four months. Candidates needing time for more in-depth study and preparation, or who have high demands from other responsibilities, may require six to twelve months.
In addition, PRSA Puget Sound annually offers courses, taught by chapter APRs, to assist candidates in preparing for the Readiness Review and the computer-based exam. However, the accreditation resources available on the National website enable candidates to begin their independent study at any time.