• Yolanda King Stephen

Why Obtaining Your APR is a Big Deal for the PR Professional

Updated: Feb 20, 2020


You keep hearing your colleagues talk about obtaining your Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), right? They have made such a big deal about it that you may seriously consider it, right? Or you are at a point in your career where you need a little lift to keep you interested in your work, right? No worries, starting the APR process may be for you.

I had all of these emotions over a three-year span. I knew there was more to accomplish. I just didn’t know what that ‘more’ was. Enter a professional learning on strategic communications at both the National School Public Relations Association and Georgia School Public Relations Association. One of the presenters, Lesley Bruinton, APR, spent the first five minutes of her presentation encouraging the attendees to obtain their APR. She spoke so highly of the process that I jumped in feet first. I ordered the book, joined the online class, and started studying.

After about five study sessions, I began to realize why the accreditation process is important and why it’s a big deal. Here is what I found out:


Being Bold! I challenged myself to take a selfie and post it during an online training.

1. It changed the way I work. I didn’t notice it right away, but my colleagues began discussing the fact that my work had…changed. They weren’t able to pinpoint it, but I sure could. During the process, I began to:


a. Use business language differently.

b. Challenge ideas for understanding.

c. Ask questions outside of the scope of public relations.

d. Seek more outcomes instead of outputs from myself and my colleagues.

e. Create standard operating procedures that made my work day more efficient.


If this happens to you (which it should!) don’t worry, it’s for the better and you will appreciate the process.

“Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. - Nido Qubein

2. It changed the way I value relationship building. Learning the RPIE process (Research, Planning, Implementation, Evaluation) not only amped up the way I worked, it also helped me understand why relationships are important. It game me the tools I needed to request materials or data in a way that built respect among my peers and superiors. RPIE was also my compass as I navigated some political terrain that surely benefited me, my organization, and the organization I was seeking to build a mutual relationship.


3. It changed the way I value my personal KSA’s. The APR process provides insight into others but it also provides a deeper insight into you as a person, your understanding of the profession, and your understanding of what you bring to the table. During my studies, my Knowledge, Skills and Abilities rose to the top like cream and some of them sank to the bottom like a weighted rock. In any event, I am better prepared in knowing where I excel, what personal landmines are there, and how much it is all worth. It continues to build confidence in me that was sitting dormant. And that’s a good thing!


The Mad Hatter on a Royal Caribbean cruise

After earning your APR, you won’t be content with ordering just the appetizer. You will want the full meal. You won’t be content with pressing ‘send’ on a social media post or writing a press release that shows no inherent tie to the mission and vision of your organization.


It is an outstanding accomplishment. Only two percent of PR professionals have earned the distinction. It is one that others may not fully appreciate unless you explain it to them or they have been through the process themselves. Either way, in the words of The Mad Hatter on Alice in Wonderland – it will make you much…muchier! Good luck in your studies and trust the RPIE process!

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