Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)

APR: Your PRofessional Credential

WHO is eligible?

The APR exam is designed to test the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) of public relations professionals with a bachelor’s degree in communications and/or 5-7 years’ experience, although the five-year minimum experience requirement for sitting for the exam is no longer mandatory.

WHY should I take the exam?

Benjamin Franklin said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

With that in mind, the number one reason for taking the exam is personal growth and development. The process of studying and challenging yourself to stretch your professional understanding can be exhausting—but the rewards are exhilarating!

The exam preparation process stimulates a new appreciation for the profession and sharpens the tools of the skilled practitioner.

WHEN can I take the exam?

The exam process provides much more flexibility than the previous format. In general, the time between the Readiness Review and the written exam is determined by the readiness of the candidate, but must take place within one year of the application and fee being submitted.

HOW much does it cost?

For PRSA members, the total cost is $385 (if you pay the full fee, the $25 application fee is waived). Or you can break the cost into two payments of $205 + $25 application fee (total cost $410).

WHAT is the process?

After submitting the application to National, with the $25 fee, eligibility is determined. Once eligible, our chapter Accreditation Chair (Debra Bethard-Caplick) is notified. A “Readiness Review Panel” is assembled (consisting of three accredited members). The purpose of the Readiness Review is to not only determine whether a member has the skills and experience to sit for the accreditation exam, but to identify areas the candidate needs to focus on, and what help is needed from the coaches.

The candidate must submit a Readiness Review Questionnaire to the panel before the Readiness Review is scheduled. After the Review, panelists vote to advance/not advance the candidate to written examination. The candidate is counseled on additional study preparation. If the candidate is not advanced, a follow up Readiness Review is scheduled at least 90 days later, and the chapter’s APR coaches work with the candidates.

If the candidate is advanced, he/she will receive a unique ID# to schedule a seat to take the exam at a Prometric testing center (there are four in the Chicagoland area). After taking the exam, PRSA National will notify the candidate of pass/fail within 4-8 weeks.

WHAT is the Readiness Review?

During the Readiness Review, you will present your portfolio and respond to interview questions. Accredited panelists will score your knowledge, skills and abilities in 16 areas, and help you to assess and direct your written exam study preparation needed.

WHAT study materials are recommended for the APR exam?

The examination is designed to test mastery of 60 specific competencies that are required of successful public relations practitioners. On the PRSA National Web site, there is a “bookshelf” of recommended texts, along with the specific knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) covered in each. The Accreditation website also contains FAQ and links to the application and the online study course.

WHAT resources will PRSA Suburban Chicago chapter provide?

Since the new process is “on-demand” and not limited to specific test dates, the Accreditation Committee will respond to the need for coaching, mentoring and support services, whether it be one-on-one coaching or an actual study group.