The Accreditation program originated in 1964 and was administered by PRSA until 1998, when the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) was formed to administer the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. There are nine public relations organizations that are members of the UAB.
To become Accredited and use the APR designation, PRSA members must advance from a Readiness Review and pass a computer-based Examination. Accredited members carry the designation "Accredited in Public Relations" (APR), signifying a high professional level of experience and competence.
Before you begin the process, be sure to review the Candidate's Process Chart to understand the steps and time commitment involved.
What is the APR examination process?
The UAB re-engineered the APR examination in 2003 after working with more than 150 Accredited public relations professionals to develop a 300-question, multiple-choice computer-based Examination and introduce the practice of the Readiness Review.
The Accreditation process tests 10 groupings of competencies referred to as knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) that were identified through the UAB's landmark 2000 Practice Analysis. The examination is organized around these 10 categories of KSAs.
The first step is to complete the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations Application, which is available at www.praccreditation.org. You will receive notification of your eligibility from the UAB within four weeks. You have one year from the date you receive UAB authorization to advance to complete the Readiness Review and take the computer-based Examination.
The Readiness Review aspect of the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations is designed to help ensure that you are sufficiently experienced and as fully prepared as possible for the computer-based Examination. You may complete The Readiness Review Questionnaire at your own discretion, but please be aware that you will need to submit four copies of the questionnaire to your local APR Chair a minimum of 15 business days before your scheduled Review. Your local Chair will schedule the Readiness Review for you.
A major element of the Readiness Review is the presentation of your portfolio to a panel of three Accredited professionals. Your portfolio should provide tangible evidence of your readiness for the examination process by complementing and supplementing information you provide in your Readiness Review Questionnaire. The review lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.
Once you advance from the Readiness Review, you will receive notice from the UAB, along with a personal ID that you will use to schedule the computer-based Examination. The exam can be taken at any Prometric testing center.
The computer-based Examination is comprised entirely of multiple-choice questions. Candidates have up to three hours and forty-five minutes to complete the examination, which is administered by Prometric. Results are usually mailed to the candidate within two-to-three weeks of completing the computer-based examination.
Who is eligible to become Accredited?
It is recommended that candidates have at least five years’ experience in the full-time practice or teaching of public relations and either a bachelor’s degree in a communication-specific field or equivalent work experience. Membership in one of the participating organizations of the UAB is a requirement.
How much does Accreditation cost?
PRSA members have two payment options to consider when applying:
First option - $385: Single payment covering the full computer-based Examination fee; due at time of application. If you choose this option, the $25 application fee will be waived.
Second option: $410: Two payments of $205 covering the full examination fee and $25 application fee; one due at time of application and the remainder due when Readiness Review is complete and candidate is authorized for the computer-based Examination.
PRSA offers its members a rebate for a portion of the computer-based Examination fee as a member benefit. IMPORTANT: You have one year from the date you receive UAB authorization to advance to complete the Readiness Review and take the computer-based Examination.
How do I prepare to become Accredited?
The First Edition APR Study Guide is a key tool in preparation for Accreditation in Public Relations and a tremendous resource for all APR candidates. Produced by the UAB, the Guide is the product of many hours of research and evaluation. It contains exercises, case studies and insight into modern public relations practices. And, it’s available at no cost to those pursuing Accreditation.
The Accreditation in Public Relations Online Study Course is designed to help candidates prepare for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. A one-year subscription is $195 for members of UAB participating organizations and $295 for non-members. A discount is provided for groups of five or more who enroll at the same time.
The UAB recommends that candidates review selected contents of at least one general text from the Short Bookshelf of Texts Recommended for Preparation and one or more specialized texts that provide in-depth material on KSA-related subjects such as planning, research or law.
Accreditation is good for life - with fulfillment of Maintenance of Accreditation requirements and continued membership in a participating organization. Every three years, PRSA members Accredited after January 1, 1993, 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.