Back around 2001, life was looking like it might take me beyond Knoxville, Tenn. I decided I needed a competitive advantage if I suddenly found myself in a larger job market, so I began the process of pursing my “APR.”
APR, which stands for accreditation in public relations, is administered by a Universal Accreditation Board that oversees the process and standards for nine professional organizations, including the Public Relations Society of America. Attaining your APR is not for the impatient, nor the faint of heart. It is a serious process involving study courses, submitting a portfolio of work, a presentation to a panel of APR peers, and a written exam. If you succeed, it is cause for major celebration, in my not-so-humble opinion.
Did it give me a competitive advantage when I found myself moving to the Washington, D.C. area in 2003? Yes. And it still does today.
Some equate attaining your APR to an accountant becoming a CPA or a lawyer passing the bar exam. It signifies a commitment to your profession and a high knowledge and skill level.
A fellow consultant based in my new hometown of Alpharetta, Ga., Amie Hornbaker, APR says accreditation opens doors for pr professionals and cements their dedication to the profession.
“The PR profession often attracts people from diverse educational backgrounds and career experiences,” says Hornbaker. “The APR distinction unites professionals and conveys a standard of communications knowledge and skill sets. When you speak with someone who’s accredited, you immediately know their caliber and commitment to the profession.”
So when you’re looking to hire a pr consultant and/or an agency, look for the APR after a pr pro’s name. Know that it instantly translates to credibility.