BTW, earn your APR

In honor of APR Month in April, we asked PRSA Hoosier Chapter member Elizabeth Friedland to share her APR experience. 

By Elizabeth Friedland, APR

Elizabeth Friedland, APR

On Friday, March 20 around 11 a.m., I was dancing around the room of the Prometric Testing Center on Indianapolis’s north side. While it might be an unusual place to break out into joyful movement, I couldn’t help myself. After almost a year of formal study and a decade of working in the PR industry, I’d finally earned those sought after initials: APR. (That’s the Accreditation in Public Relations from the Public Relations Society of America [PRSA], for those of you not in the loop.)

As the Hoosier PRSA’s newest APR, it’s my duty to sing the praises of the accreditation process – and that’s an easy task. The APR holds so much value for both the individual professional and the industry as a whole. 

It’s not easy.

I’ll admit when I first heard about the APR as a new professional, I thought it would be something I could easily check off my “to do” list during the course of a week. Surely I just wrote a check and took the quiz, right? I was so, so wrong.

First, I accumulated more than a decade’s worth of professional experience before I felt I was far enough along in my career to best benefit from the APR. Then I enrolled in the 10-week APR study course – a must for any professional looking to become certified. Next, I compiled my portfolio review, which is a massive undertaking unto itself. (If you’re interested, you can borrow my 200 plus page portfolio for a light little reading over a glass of wine.) After passing my intense panel review, I was finally able to take the little “quiz” – the final step in the APR process. Even with 10 years of experience, countless flashcards, endless hours of formal and informal test prep and the wisdom other APRs passed down to me, it was a challenge.

It’s exclusive.

APRs aren’t just passed out to anyone who feels they deserve it. According to the PRSA, just about 5,000 professionals across the country have earned their APR – a rather elite club considering the size of the industry. Of course, it would be great to see those numbers grow – we welcome as many professionals are possible to demonstrate their competence! – but APR candidates can rest assured that the rigorous process maintains a high level of certification integrity.

It pays off.

Putting those initials after my name was empowering. “Elizabeth Friedland, APR” tells my clients that they’re in the capable hands of a vetted professional that adheres to the highest standards of best practices and ethical guidelines. It communicates to my colleagues that I’m a leader, mentor, and expert resource who takes my role as a PR professional seriously. It tells future employers that I possess the executive-level communication skills and abilities to lead teams via high-profile, senior roles. But you don’t have to toot your own horn – the PRSA will do it for you. APRs can access tools such as the “Why Smart Companies Hire Accredited Public Relations Professionals” presentation (pass that along to the hiring manager!) to further explain why the APR is such a big deal. 

It’s meaningful.

Earning your APR isn’t an exercise in paperwork. From better understanding the historical roots of the industry to further developing my core competencies at a higher level, I have no doubt that I’m a stronger, more capable PR professional than I was when I began the official process nearly a year ago. The journey to my APR has not only taught me so much about my field, but also introduced me to so many wonderful industry peers; obtaining my APR makes me feel like an important part of the PRSA community.

If you’re interested in learning more about the process, contact to get going. Pretty soon you’ll be hosting your own dance party of one at the glamorous Prometric Testing Center.