Guest post: Accreditation is where it’s at

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Nov 3, 2008 in APR, Guest Post, National Conference |

2008 PRSSA National Conference

Guest post by: David Baker from St. John Fisher College, PRSSA Vice President, Vice President of Client Communications at PRIMA Connections (SJFC’s student-run firm).

Accreditation is where it’s at

One of the sessions from the PRSSA National Conference was a panel that discussed the importance of Accreditation in Public Relations. The panel included Gwyn Walcoff, APR, CCG Public Relations; Jennifer Flowers, APR, Senior Public Relations Officer, Henry Ford Health System; Lt. Commander Brook DeWalt, APR, New Media Directorate, United States Department of Defense and Ann Knabe, APR, Public Relations/Communications Instructor, University of Wisconsin Whitewater & U S Air Force Reserve.

Our panel taught us the following regarding accreditation:

1) The five years of experience rule is no more. Professionals should still have experience before they attempt to take the exam but there is no minimum required to earn the APR title.
2) The new professional should set earning their APR as a goal.
3) If you aren’t getting the strategic experience you need then volunteer.
4) Being an APR sets a professional apart as a strategic and ethical professional
5) Failing your first exam is not unusual; don’t be discouraged. Many professionals take more than one attempt to earn their APR.
6) Use the Web site and your local PRSA Chapter members.

I have met quite a few PR professionals in my short time in PRSSA and I have come to learn one thing about accreditation, there is something about the accredited professional. I think Holly Byars, APR; an assistant professor of Journalism at Arkansas State University has it right when she says, “accreditation assures that a certain standard of quality is met.” The accredited professionals that I have had the pleasure of meeting are some of the most impressive individuals I have met in the twenty years since I went out and got my first job.

Check out the Public Relations Society of America’s Web site for more information.

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