What is the purpose of the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) exam?
Universal Accreditation is a voluntary program that allows you to demonstrate your proficiency in public relations through a standardized written exam following advancement from an oral readiness review. Successful completion of the exam validates a PR professional’s commitment to the field and level of knowledge in public relations practice. (

The purpose is to unify and advance the profession by identifying those who have demonstrated broad knowledge, experience and professional judgment in the field. The program seeks to improve public relations practice. The designation APR signifies a high professional level of experience and competence.

Who administers the exam?
The Universal Accreditation Program was formed in January 1998. Nine public relations organizations now participate in the universal program, including the Agricultural Relations Council, Florida Public Relations Association, Maine Public Relations Council, National School Public Relations Association, Public Relations Society of American, Religion Communicators Council, Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, Southern Public Relations Federation and the Texas Public Relations Association.

Who governs the process?
The Universal Accreditation Board – comprised of one chair and representatives from each partner organization dedicated to three-year terms – oversees the program. Providing a balanced blend of backgrounds in a number of public relations specialties, this group of senior-level Accredited members meets four times a year. Responsibilities of the Universal Accreditation Board include the following:

  • Develops and implements policy for the program
  • Develops and maintains the Accreditation Exam
  • Oversees the development of Exam questions, answer keys, and ensures content is based on the Body of Knowledge
  • Reviews appeal cases
  • Grants Accreditation

How is the new exam for Accreditation in Public Relations different?
The Readiness Review is organized by the local chapter and is a one- to two-hour interview and portfolio presentation that determines whether a candidate can advance to the written examination. With the successful completion of the Readiness Review, a candidate may then register for the written examination at the nearest Sylvan Learning Center. The written portion of the new exam for Accreditation in Public Relations is in a multiple-choice question format and takes 3 hours to complete. It will test what public relations professionals do in the 21st century while maintaining the same high level of quality embodied in the previous exam. This new, enhanced exam for Accreditation in Public Relations is credible and relevant to today’s practitioner and employs current best practices in professional certification testing.

What happens when I pass the APR exam?
Congratulations! You are now one of more than 5,000 accredited PR professionals. You are entitled to use the APR initials after your name, on business cards, etc. (Note: individuals are accredited, not firms)

Is Accreditation good for life?
Yes, with fulfillment of Maintenance of Accreditation requirements. Every three years, professionals accredited after January 1, 1998 must accumulate the required number of points in continuing education, professionalism or service categories as part of the Maintenance of Accreditation Program. This further strengthens the value of the APR credential and keeps professionals actively involved in the currents of the public relations profession.

What about the CPRC program?
The credential of Certified Public Relations Counselor is the second tier credential offered by the Florida Public Relations Association. The certification process was developed to recognize professional growth and achievement of senior members who have already earned the APR designation.

Candidates for CPRC must be a member of the Florida Public Relations Association and have a minimum of 10 years of professional practice in public relations.

The exam, which is administered throughout the year, consists of a written section, comprised of case studies, and an oral component, which requires the candidate to make a presentation to a panel of certified evaluators.

For the oral portion of the exam, candidates are encouraged to use an actual presentation they have made to an employer, a client or the media. The goal of the 30-minute presentation is to “sell” an idea or a course of action, rather than to demonstrate extemporaneous speaking skills.

The cost of the CPRC exam is $150. To take the CPRC exam, request an application from the State Association Office of FPRA, 40 Sarasota Center Blvd., Ste. 107, Sarasota, FL 34240 or call 941-365-2135.

For More Information:
Amy McLaughlin, APR, CPRC
Accreditation Chair


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