Is PRSA’s APR Credential Relevant Anymore?

With “only 904 Society members hav(ing) become APR in the past six years, which represents a decline of more than 50% in participation by members over the two previous six-year periods,” it would appear it is headed toward irrelevancy.

Those numbers don’t surprise me. National PRSA’s attempts to gin up relevancy for the APR by requiring it to serve on its board only serves to underscores the situation. I’m perfectly fine with a CPA-like certification that requires a rigorous path and a corresponding level of respect within the public relations and broader marketing communities. But the APR credential isn’t that, and the most dictatorial holders of the certification should stop acting as though it is.

I have no doubt that my 15 years of public relations experience working with and for some of the most recognizable companies in the world has given me the knowledge and expertise I need to become credentialed. And as a PRSA Colorado board member, I more than meet the various requirements to remain credentialed. But I am not an APR. And the only explanation that I can give is to explain that when someone asks me to go jump through hoops for no reason, I just smile politely and say, “No thanks.”

(Note: If Gina, Jeff, Sydney, Sarah, Jon, Jane or any other APRs would like equal time, I’m happy to post it).

6 thoughts on “Is PRSA’s APR Credential Relevant Anymore?

  1. I served a year on the PRSA Executive Section Committee and there was agreement the APR had no relevence. Put yourself in a potential employer/client’s chair. They’re looking for results, proof of performance, not three little letters. Your credentials have to pass the “So what?” test.

    All that said, PRSA should seize the opportunity and at least attempt to make the APR meaningful.

    But these days, it’s all about the track record.

  2. I learned a lot from the process of becoming accredited, especially since PR was not a part of my college curriculum. Professionally, I do have the experience and proven results to show my expertise. Personally, I wanted to further my education in PR and it was a goal I set for myself early on in my career.

    I believe APR is worthwhile(that is why I chose to be the APR committee chair for PRSA Colorado). It demonstrates a commitment to ethical and truly strategic work. In my opinion, to pursue APR is a question of where you are in your career and experience. There are many PR professionals I know who do not have their APR and most certainly do not need it to prove their expertise. At the same time, there are many who could use a refresher in ethics and some of the other finer points of communication strategy.

  3. I downloaded the free APR study guide and refer to it from time to time when I’m writing a plan or brushing up on important figures and events in public relations history. I feel like that earns me at least the “A.” in “A.P.R.”

  4. It is rather unfortunate to come across this post now, less than one month before I sit for the accreditation exam. Quite demoralizing. On the other hand, I have learned quite a lot from studying–no one person’s professional history can ever bring him or her face-to-face with all the KSAs, issues and challenges PR practitioners will face during their career. For that reason alone, I’m grateful for the gaps and holes I’ve been able to fill over the past several months by virtue of accumulated knowledge. I believe Edward Bernays recommended licensure for PR professionals; if even certification is now in question as a worthwhile pursuit, that would be a sad thought. Or is it simply certification as it now exists? Perhaps more insights from other commenters could add to the discussion about the value or lack thereof of APR certification.

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