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Earning the APR is More Than a Spring Affair

Spring FlowerAPR

April dictates lighter jackets, baseball and apple pie. It’s also APR month — not the financial term, but Accreditation in Public Relations.

This month, communications professionals across the country are aspiring to add this three-letter credential to their moniker. Perhaps they are seeking a promotion, a way to refresh a bachelor’s degree (my reason) or a check-marked box on their professional bucket list.

Whatever the reason, many seek to gain a deeper understanding of public relations around this time of year when Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) study groups abound in just about every major hub that has a PRSA chapter for those seeking to become accredited. An online study course also is offered for the digitally inclined DIY.

Nine years ago, I undertook the quest to improve my PR IQ. The experience was enlightening. I gained a greater understanding of the benefits PR can have in an organization as well as affirmation of a solid foundation and best practices for success in any industry. More importantly, earning my APR ingrained in me concrete skills and competencies to be a better communicator.

This month, several in Orange County, who have committed to taking the journey via a 10-week study session, are coming into the home stretch of completing the course. They will dissect such areas as research, program implementation, ethics and law, crisis communication, communications models and theories, relationship management and leading the PR Function — the module which I am proud to facilitate. From there, participants will move on to present a self-selected campaign during what’s called the “readiness review” by seasoned professionals to determine whether they are indeed ready to undergo the credentialing process. Once pass this step, they may sign up and take the four-hour computerized test.

Their success depends not only on knowledge gained during the study session and having at least five years of PR experience, but it hinges on their preparation, and how well they can apply their knowledge to a multitude of given scenarios and situations.

So, this April, with less outer wear and a can-do attitude, those seeking their quest for the APR hope to yield some terrific results to the tune of self development or career enhancement and beyond being simply a spring affair.

To learn more about the APR process, visit www.praccreditation.org. Locally, you may check out https://www.ocprsa.org/about-4/accreditation/ or contact the Orange County PRSA APR Chair: davidjcordero@gmail.com or 714-865-8292.

Angela Burrell, APR, is an independent practitioner and OCPRSA professional liaison for the Biola University PRSSA Chapter.

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