The APR Designation – Do it for yourself!
If you have five or more years of experience, we strongly encourage you to consider the value and importance of achieving the Accredited in Public Relations (APR)® designation. The APR has been a respected measure of professional experience and competence in the field of public relations for more than 50 years. Once earned, it distinguishes you as being committed to the highest professional standards.
Accreditation is a voluntary certification program for public relations professionals that is administered by the Canadian Public Relations Society in Canada (PRSA through the Universal Accreditation Board in the U.S.). It recognizes practitioners who have depth of experience and competence in the professional practice of public relations.
Today, CPRS is a federation of 14 Member Societies based in major cities or organized province-wide. All Member Societies adhere to the constitution of the National and Member Society.
In cooperation with its regional Member Societies and with like-minded organizations in other countries, CPRS works to advance the professional stature of public relations and regulates its practice for the benefit and protection of the public interest.
What’s in it for me?
- Provides a higher level of professional credibility and distinction.
- Enhances your familiarization with current public relations standards, updates and processes.
- APR preparation is a real eye opener to the breadth and depth of the profession.
- APR accreditation means the practitioner demonstrates competent and ethical behaviour.
- APR increases your strategic thinking.
- Comes with a fantastic network.
- Opens up opportunities for speaking, teaching and mentoring – as well as grading and becoming a regional or chief examiner.
- Shows you are committed to seek and obtain a higher professional standard.
- Sets you apart.
- Know that you’ve joined a group of professionals committed to communication excellence.
Accreditation is a yearlong process that will test your proficiency in all areas of public relations and communications. It’s rigorous, but it is not insurmountable even if you are working full-time in your career. Here’s an outline of the major milestones during the year:
- Application and fee – due December 1, 2019
- Work sample overview and CV – due December 30, 2019
- Work sample – due April 1, 2020
- Written exam and oral exam – October 23, 2020
- Receive your results – by December 30, 2020
Am I ready?
You are ready for the APR process if:
- You have five years or more years of public relations experience
- You are a strategic thinker, problem solver and can analyze and think on your feet
- You know what RACE is – and you’ve used the formula in creating a communications plan
- You have checked out the self-assessment tool on the website and you are able to respond positively to all the statements
You’ve answered an enthusiastic “Yes” to all of the statements on the self-assessment tool. The next step is to apply and, for that, you’ll need to ensure you:
- Are a Full Member, in good standing, with the Canadian Public Relations Society
- Have been employed full-time in public relations for at least five years
- Have 3 references (including two current APRs)
- Provide an up-to-date CV clearly indicating the month and year of each public relations position
- Submit the CDN$495 APR application fee
CPRS Calgary is here to support you
CPRS Calgary supports its local APR candidates through the accreditation process by providing mentoring, workshops, and tips for completing each phase of the accreditation journey. CPRS Calgary Accreditation Chair, Kimberlee Jones, APR, is available as a resource to all candidates and will organize workshops and sessions throughout the year to help candidates prepare and complete each of the milestones. Below is an overview of what is required at each stage.
The Work Sample Overview – December 30, 2019
- By December 30th, 2019, submit your work sample overview
- It consists of 300-500 words to describe:
- Your leadership role in the project – clear ownership
- RACE formula analysis
- Project scope
- Organizational and PR goals
- Evaluation of your project
- Approximate date of completion
- Your eligibility will be confirmed in early January
The Work Sample – April 1, 2020
The work sample is a case study and analysis of your best single project, completed within the last three years. The structure should include:
- R A C E = Research Analysis Communications Evaluation
- Executive summary = 500 words
- Main body = 2500 words
Written Exam – October 23, 2020
Held at centres across Canada, the APR written exam is a 3.5-hour proctored exam that tests your knowledge and skills on:
- History of PR
- PR Theory
- Fundamentals of practice
- Professional ethics
- Professionalism (20%)
- Communications Planning (50%)
- Public Relations and Society (30%)
Resources available to you include:
- Exam preparation with local Accreditation Chairs
- Study materials available on the CPRS website
- Chief Examiner leads exam preparation webinar
Oral Exam – October 23, 2020
The oral exam is a 45-60 minute conversation with three examiners on:
- Current events
- Your work sample
- General Knowledge
- Poise and professionalism count!
Thinking about it? Need more information?
Contact your CPRS Calgary Accreditation Chair:
Kimberlee Jones, APR
or CPRS National Office: