2014 marks a landmark year for the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). The credential, the only nationally recognized certification of the public relations profession, celebrates 50 years in 2014. Currently, more than 5,000 professionals from the agency, corporate, association and education fields hold the APR mark.
Established in 1964, the Accreditation in Public Relations is the profession’s only national postgraduate certification program. It measures a public relations practitioner’s fundamental knowledge of communications theory and its application; establishes advanced capabilities in research, strategic planning, implementation and evaluation; and demonstrates a commitment to professional excellence and ethical conduct. The skills acquired through the process are applicable to any industry or practice area. Granting of the APR is overseen by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB).
Unlike other professional certifications, such as CPA, Accreditation in Public Relations is a voluntary demonstration of competency; as such, it reflects a strong commitment to the profession. Earning Accreditation also provides a distinction that can set individuals apart and open doors to career advancement and higher compensation. Through their high professional and ethical standards, Accredited professionals contribute to greater understanding of public relations as a vital management function, and undermine those who would refer to our craft as spin, our professionals as flacks, and our currency as misrepresentation and disinformation.
Universal Accreditation Board (UAB)
The UAB oversees the APR program and provides a balanced blend of backgrounds in a number of public relations specialties, with representatives from each public relations participating organization. The UAB grants Accreditation, develops the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations and policies, and reviews appeal cases. The public relations organizations that are members of the Universal Accreditation Board include the Agricultural Relations Council, Florida Public Relations Association, Maine Public Relations Council, National School Public Relations Association, Public Relations Society of America, Religion Communicators Council, Southern Public Relations Federation, and Asociación de Relacionistas Profesionales de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Public Relations Association).