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Does Getting Your APR Really Matter?

Some of my own colleagues at BYU pooh pooh the APR.  What good does getting your accreditation do?  Will it get me that job I want or the pay raise I need.  Or, does it give me the expertise to further my career?  Most of them say no!

Well, here is some research that documents how you might get the above through the APR!!!  It was published in Public Relations Review by Dr. Bey- Ling Sha Od San Diego State University.

In a nutshell, accreditation matters in public relations practice today, for both professional competencies and public relations work categories. Even after controlling for the influence of age and years of experience in public relations, accreditation status yielded differences between APRs and non-APRs on seven work categories and five KSAs.

The affected work categories were:

  • Account/client management
  • Strategic planning
  • Public relations program planning
  • Project management
  • Stakeholder relations
  • Issues management, and
  • Crisis management.

The affected professional competencies were the four-step strategic

  • Planning process
  • Ethics and legal issues
  • Communication theory
  • Business literacy; and
  • Advanced communication skills.

So, is age and experience better than accreditation in public relations. That would be a resounding no!  If you are younger and want to get ahead in the field without waiting – become accredited.  Accreditation status yields differences in frequency of engagement in public relations work categories, as well as differences in frequency of usage of professional competencies, even when the influences of age and experience are controlled.

With these results, public relations practitioners and leaders in our field can no longer claim that accreditation does not matter. In fact, accreditation does matter for individual practitioners, and  accreditation matters for public relations practice.

Dr. Ken Plowman is the APR Commitee Chair for the Utah Valley PRSA Chapter. For more information on APR, including application, study guide, sample tests and more, visit prsa.org or contact the Dr. Ken Plowman at kenneth_plowman@byu.edu.

Dr. Ken Plowman is the APR Commitee Chair for the Utah Valley PRSA Chapter. For more information on APR, including application, study guide, sample tests and more, visit prsa.org or contact the Dr. Ken Plowman at kenneth_plowman@byu.edu.

About Ken Plowman: Specializing in strategic management and conflict resolution in public relations, Ken Plowman earned a doctorate in journalism from the University of Maryland and is now an associate professor of communications at BYU. Prior to Maryland, Plowman spent 15 years in the field of public relations. About half that time was spent on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. He then lobbied at the state, local and federal levels for a government affairs agency, specializing in environmental issues. Plowman’s career in public relations has followed a dual track, the other one being in the U.S. Army Reserve. He has served as a commander of two public affairs detachments.

He teaches courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including public relations writing, campaigns, persuasion, communication management, integrated communications, and negotiation. In addition to his doctorate, Plowman has a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University and a bachelor’s in communications from BYU. He is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America.

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