By Lorne Kletke, APR, CPRS Manitoba Treasurer 2013-2015
As a member of CPRS, you have likely received encouragement from the national office and our own chapter to seek your Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). I would like to share my own perspectives, as a recently accredited member, on why now is the time for you to take the challenge. I’ve structured this blog around what I think may be perceived barriers for some members.
What’s in it for me?
I’ll get to the personal value of APR in a moment, but first consider what getting your APR does for the professional body. A strong, active accreditation system is vital to a profession, including public relations. We are not “spin doctors” – we have a code of ethics, history, theory, and practical approaches that make us uniquely suited to solve contemporary business and social issues. As members of this profession, we should want to contribute towards a positive public perception of PR.
As to what’s in it for you, here are just a few, as mentioned by other APRs:
- It uniquely qualifies you to work in PR. Some career postings list the APR as an asset.
- You (re)gain confidence in core skills.
- It demonstrates your ongoing professional commitment.
Is the “APR” designation that well-known outside of PR circles?
This may or may not be the case locally. Like any profession, it is up to members to make it work. APR is recognized nationally and internationally, with career listings including accreditation as a requirement or preference. You will be able to carry this designation anywhere you may go throughout your career – regardless of the industry or locale. Furthermore, having the designation may open a conversation among (potential) clients and employers as they ask what it stands for. What a great opportunity to sell your services!
Will the process be time-consuming?
CPRS has worked hard to make the accreditation process a positive experience that is both challenging yet respectful of your busy life. The work sample requires some thoughtful input, but is not burdensome and is in fact a great “debriefing” of a personal project that you will find professionally rewarding. The written and oral exams are conveniently held in Winnipeg, which eliminates the need for travel for most of us.
I already have education/life experience in PR – why do I need accreditation?
Simply put, you don’t know what you don’t know about PR until you go through the accreditation process. You may be surprised at what you have forgotten since taking your post-secondary education in PR. Studying for the exams is an excellent learning process, and CPRS has many resources available to help.
Isn’t accreditation for senior practitioners?
You must have practiced PR for at least 5 years. This does not make the APR a senior-level-only proposition. Think of it this way: the sooner you become accredited, the sooner you will receive its benefits and the longer you will enjoy those benefits throughout your career.
What will my peers think if I fail?
Everyone in the accreditation process, from local to national testers and judges, take confidentially seriously. Your application is confidential, and if you happen to fail a part of the process, this is also kept confidential. Further, you have an opportunity to continue your application the next year. Instead of thinking about the possibility of failing, consider what it means to take the challenge: you are placing yourself among the best in the industry – surely a noble aim!