I am here to tell you, if you pursue becoming Accredited in Public Relations (APR), you won’t regret it, not one bit! Maybe myFPRA accreditation story will inspire those of you “on the fence” about this important accreditation.
Let me begin by being honest. I am not a fan of school, not a fan of studying, and not a fan of reading text books! When I graduated from Iowa State University (Go Cyclones!) with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications, I thought, “whew, I’m done with school, done with studying, let my life begin!” Oh, how naïve I was back then!
When I moved to Florida and started working in the community relations and public relations fields, I realized I had a lot to learn. I started attending Central West Coast FPRA Chapter meetings, professional development sessions and soaking in as many tips as I could to help me become a better practitioner. Then I noticed several of my mentors, whom I greatly admired, had letters behind their name. Three little letters: APR. I wanted to know more!
First, a little about the APR. FPRA is a participating organization of the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB). The UAB is a diverse group of educators, military public affairs personnel and public relations professionals who oversee the Accreditation program. There are nine participating organizations including names I’m sure you’ll recognize: FPRA, PRSA, National Association of Government Communicators and Southern Public Relations Federation. Since the Accreditation program is universal, you can take it with you anywhere, as long as you remain a member of a UAB participating organization. Another great reason to renew your FPRA membership!
As much as I thought I would never want to take another test or read a text book, I was inspired to be like my professional peers and further my career by taking the exam! Preparing for the APR helps you build on areas you may not be as familiar with. For instance, if one of your main responsibilities is media relations, you probably do not know much about investor relations. Studying for the exam helped me gain knowledge about public relations, things I didn’t learn in journalism school. The APR process also keeps you current on today’s best practices and applications in the ever-evolving communications world. Our industry changes and changes quickly. We need to constantly brush up on our skills and keep learning! Thankfully, FPRA provides some great resources to do just that!
So, take it from me, if I can learn to study again and find value in a textbook, so can you! The UAB is promoting awareness of the APR process through its ItTakesAPRo campaign. FPRA will be promoting this campaign as well. Our VP of Accreditation and Certification, Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC will be sharing more in the coming months about this campaign. In the meantime, attend an information session about the process or connect with your Chapter’s Accreditation chair to find out more about this process. It’s worth the effort!
-Terri Behling, APR, CPRC