APR – Worth the Effort

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By Mary Bray Gallagher, APR
Principal, Calliope Communications
Accreditation Chair, Capital Region PRSA

As the Capital Region Chapter’s Accreditation Chair, I would like to tell you why I would encourage you to learn about accreditation and add APR to your signature. 

The APR is hard work and there are no shortcuts.  But when you complete the process, you’ve not only improved your knowledge and skills in every area of public relations and business communications, but also demonstrated that you are committed to the profession, lifelong learning, and practicing public relations to the best of your ability.

I believe preparation for the APR is especially helpful to those working in our industry who do not have formal education in public relations since it requires studying the fundamental components. 

A lot of people have asked me if a Master’s degree is more worthwhile than the APR – that’s a hard question to answer and my response it that you have to decide for yourself.   I earned my APR after my MBA so I didn’t choose one over the other.  Recently, I’ve met several people who have pursued both at the same time so they maximize their study time and take the APR exam while the material is fresh – this makes a lot of sense to me.  Certainly the APR is cheaper (several hundred dollars compared to thousands), and takes less time (up to a year compared to several years of grad school), but is not as universally known as a Master’s degree.

I won’t kid you that most employers, CEOs or clients know what APR means, but it does open doors for you to talk about your experience and knowledge base and it may set you apart as you search for a new job or sell yourself to a new client.  I believe it says something about you as a person when you take on voluntary certification and commit yourself to continuing education which is required once you earn the APR.

The biggest deterrent to earning the APR is life – we’re all busy and there always seems to be something else we need to take care of – family, kids, marriage, new job, new clients, big project, moving, etc.  Trust me, there’s never going to be a good time – you need to commit to the process and go for it now because the time is going to pass anyway. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to end 2011 with APR after your signature?

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