Be an Industry Leader: Earn Your APR
You’ve been thinking about earning your Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and now is a great time for you. Pursuing the APR accreditation gives you direct access to top public relations leaders and provides the tools you need to distinguish yourself as a top practitioner in the public relations field.
In Maine, APR members guide you through the process to help you achieve accreditation. The Maine Public Relations Council is proud to be part of the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), which oversees the APR designation.
So what steps do you need to take to get started? How much is the whole process going to cost? How much of a time commitment is this going to consume? The bottom line up front is that if you are starting your APR journey then you are looking at a year-long process with an associated cost of less than $700 total. For some the process may be shorter or longer as well as the cost might not be as much. While the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) provides a list of steps and resources to follow, we created a guide of recommended steps for our members in Maine based on the kind of questions we receive.
Here are 7 steps to begin your APR journey in Maine
STEP 1: Join a PR Organization. Your first step is to join a public relations organization affiliated with the UAB (Universal Accreditation Board). You can’t apply for accreditation unless you are a member of one of the organizations affiliated with the UAB. In Maine, there is the Yankee Chapter of the PRSA (based in Concord, NH) for about $300 annually or the Maine Public Relations Council for about $90 annually. Become a member of the Maine Public Relations Council
STEP 2: Study. Once you have a membership established, you need to get studying. While there is a free APR Study Guide available, don’t rely on just that alone. I would recommend that you sign up to start the online APR prep course. A major benefit of the APR Prep course is that it prepares you for both the panel presentation as well as the exam. This course is conducted over 10 weeks in a Fall and Spring cohort sessions. There is a Tuesday Zoom session where APRs facilitate a discussion on one of the KSAs (Knowledge Skills Abilities) you will be tested on in the exam. You can work at your own pace done at your own pace and will improve your chances of passing the panel review and exams. Cost is $195. There is an open house to learn more – check the site to learn when the next open house is scheduled. Learn more about APR Prep, the Online Study Course for Public Relations Accreditation
STEP 3: Submit Application. Once you’ve completed the online course and you feel confident with your panel presentation material and your knowledge for the exam, then it’s time to submit your application. The reason I would not recommend submitting an application before the other steps is because once you apply the clock starts ticking. You have one year to complete the accreditation process once your application is approved. If your time expires but you haven’t completed the exam, you don’t need to reapply – just pay for another year. The cost for the application is $385. Complete the APR Application online
STEP 4: Schedule Panel. Once I get notification that your application has been received and approved (This usually takes not more than 14 days after you submit the application), I will start the process of putting your panelists together and schedule a date for your panel presentation. We will work on finding a date that works best for you, the host, and the panelists. Download the Panel Presentation Instructions for APR Candidates (PDF)
STEP 5: Complete Questionnaire. Before your panel presentation you will have a written questionnaire you will need to complete. 30 days before your panel presentation is scheduled, you will need to submit your responses to the questionnaire, along with your presentation. Download the APR Candidate Questionnaire (Word Doc)
STEP 6: Deliver Presentation. Your panel presentation is your chance to demonstrate your grasp of the KSAs. After your presentation, your panelists will vote whether you advance or not advance to the examination. You will get a notification by mail within 14 days.
- If you are not advanced, then you will needto re-do your panel presentation after 90 days from the notification.
- If you advance, then we’ll help you find the nearest Prometric testing center so you canschedule your exam within 1 year of the date you submitted your application. Find a Prometric Testing Center Near You
STEP 7: Take Exam. After you complete the computer-based exam, you will receive a notification from the UAB on passing.
If you have any questions about the APR process, please feel free to reach out and ask me.
Shane Perry, APR
Accreditation Chair, Maine Public Relations Council