National Capital Chapter

The APR – A Mark of Distinction

By Kelly Frushour, APR+M

What distinguishes a profession from a job? Is it a specialized education and body of knowledge, an established code of ethics and a community to hold each other accountable?

We recognize doctors, lawyers and accountants as practicing a profession rather than doing a job. They follow established educational paths and are recognized as providing a particular service. They must be licensed to practice their profession, and can lose that license if they don’t uphold the standards of their professional community.

So if licenses and specific education are what sets them apart, is public relations a profession?

Absolutely…with a caveat. There isn’t a licensing process for public relations practitioners—and for a good reason. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech to all, establishing a mandatory license—given by individual states—to allow only a particular people to communicate on a particular topic unconstitutional.

So, if you can’t be licensed, how can you distinguish yourself as a public relations professional? You can become accredited! Unlike licenses, accreditation is voluntary and is given by professional organizations like PRSA.

Accreditation is the hallmark of a professional. Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) is the community endorsement that you have studied the body of knowledge surrounding public relations and understand how to apply that knowledge. It also reflects your promise to uphold the ethical standards of the profession.

The process for earning your APR ensures you have the tools to properly navigate challenging responsibilities, the vision to execute a larger strategy, and the expertise to be a thought-leader. It’s not a one-and-done process, though. Once accredited, you have to actively practice and renew your accreditation through professional development, mentoring, and a host of other opportunities that demonstrate your commitment to the profession. The APR shows personal drive, professional acumen, a commitment to ethics and dedication to lifelong learning—all marks of a professional.

Are you ready to set yourself apart? Become an APR today!

Kelly Frushour is a colonel in the United States Marine Corps currently serving as the Deputy Director, Communication Directorate, Headquarters Marine Corps. Her primary occupation in the Marine Corps has been as a Public Affairs Officer and later as a Communication Strategy and Operations Officer. In this capacity, she has served in the operating forces and the supporting establishment, in the United States and overseas, in combat and in garrison. She has served at every level of the Marine Corps’ formations from Marine Expeditionary Unit to Marine Expeditionary Force.

Outside of her primary occupation, she has served as a speechwriter, an instructor, and a commanding officer. Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Oklahoma (1998); a Master of Arts in Communication from San Diego State University (2011); and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University (2018). Additionally, she was a Fellow, Seminar XXI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2012-2013.

She earned her professional accreditation in public relations and military communication (APR+M) through the Public Relations Society of America in 2010.