National Capital Chapter

The Competitive Advantage of Earning Your APR

April 2023
by Marjorie Weisskohl, APR 2011
CEO, All Seasons PR, LLC

Congratulations! You are thinking about pursuing your national Accreditation in Public Relations, the APR. You are probably asking what value it will bring to you. You are doing well as a mid-career professional and already very busy. Is there a competitive advantage in having the APR?

I asked these questions as I debated making the commitment to earn the APR, and I want to highlight some of the benefits I’ve derived from having it. Even with related academic credentials and solid practical experience, being accredited has given me a level of credibility that I would not have otherwise had when sitting across the table from decision-makers and clients. This is especially true in crisis communications planning, but also for routine projects.

Obtaining your APR can equip you with a better understanding of strategic communications planning and how to implement it. An APR after your name conveys that you have a solid understanding of a wide range of communications knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) and real-world experience as a practitioner.

The APR process requires extra work and study. The APR curriculum provides a useful framework to help you evaluate a challenge, articulate what you want to accomplish, and develop a roadmap to achieve and measure the results.

During that process, you will make many new friends and expand your professional circle, including those you can turn to for advice.

The APR provides a structured framework to help you think and act strategically, prepare for and approach even the most challenging situations. The broad scope of KSAs tested in the exam covers six areas:

  • Researching, Planning, Implementing and Evaluating Programs.
    People often overlook research, but it is key to understanding your audiences. The APR process points the way to research options you can explore, depending on your budget, time available, and other factors to help you decide upon the most appropriate communications approach.
  • Applying Ethics and Law. In an era of fake news, misinformation, propaganda, distortion, libel, slander, privacy concerns, and the ever-changing social media and technology landscapes, upholding high standards is more important than ever.
  • Managing Issues and Crisis Communications.
  • Understanding Theories, Models and Concepts of Public Relations.
  • Leading the Public Relations Function, including skills such as business literacy and problem solving.
  • Managing Relationships, including stakeholders, news media, social media, and electronic networks.

To learn more about the scope of KSAs, visit the PRSA APR page. And if you are ready to begin your APR journey, attend the PRSA NCC April 21 APR Jump Start course. With your APR, the return on investment will help you, your organization and clients prepare for success.