The Stages of APR

April was APR month – a time to highlight the Accreditation in Public Relations through the Public Relations Society of America. Two CGPR team members – Denise and Nina – have already earned their APR, and two more – Jenna and Maggie – are in the process of seeking it. As such, Maggie, Jenna and Nina authored a blog post on their APR journeys for the PRSA St. Louis website. Check out the full post below.

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April is APR month – a time to recognize the Accreditation in Public Relations.

This month, we are highlighting the APR journeys of three PR professionals: one who will start the accreditation process this year, one who is in the process of earning her APR and finally, one who earned her APR in 2013.  Find out why each is taking, or has taken, the steps to earn the APR or how the APR provides the tools to become successful in the PR field.

APR: Getting Started

Maggie Toigo, PRSA St. Louis Chief Ethics Officer

Attaining the APR credential has been a goal of mine since I first learned of it in 2015 when I joined the team at Common Ground PR, and I’m excited to finally begin the accreditation process later this year. To me, the APR will show my peers, clients and potential future employers that I’m dedicated to professional development, high standards and ethical principles. It will also set me apart as a leader in the field, elevating not only my personal career but also the public relations profession as a whole.

Graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism gave me an incredible educational foundation and the skills to launch my career, and I strongly believe I must keep building on that foundation each day. I consider myself a lifelong learner (that’s part of the reason why I love working at an agency, because I’m constantly learning about new industries, projects and clients). Both the process of attaining the APR, as well as the years of continued education required to maintain it, will help me become a more strategic thinker and will ensure that I will always continue learning – a must in the ever-evolving communications world.

APR: Finishing Up

Jenna Todoroff, PRSA St. Louis Secretary

I am currently in the process of attaining my Accreditation in Public Relations — it’s been an enlightening journey!

Knowing several practitioners who have earned Accreditation, I understand how invaluable it is in everyday practice. I am seeking Accreditation to enhance my career as a public relations professional and to continue to provide myself with the tools I need to serve as a trusted and well-rounded practitioner.

If you’re considering getting the APR, contact the PRSA St. Louis Chapter’s APR chair to let them know you’re interested. (I’m lucky enough it is my co-worker, Nina.) They’ll help you prepare for the two parts of the APR process: the computer-based examination and the panel presentation. Nina has guided me every step of the way — from coordinating study sessions with local APRs to helping me select my panel presentation topic and eventually, reviewing my presentation and providing me important feedback. I’m so grateful for her help.

Another tip: I highly recommend enrolling in Online2Learn.net‘s APRPREP online study course for the computer-based examination. In addition to participating in weekly webinars about the KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities), you’ll have access to so many resources and study tools.

Getting the APR isn’t easy — and it’s not supposed to be! Take your time. Read the recommended textbooks. Begin working on your panel presentation before submitting your application for the APR. (Because once you apply, you have exactly one year to complete the exam and presentation. So why not buy yourself some extra time to prepare?) Take advantage of the resources PRSA St. Louis provides. Organize study sessions with other hopeful APRs. And remember the APR is something that must be earned, and it doesn’t happen overnight.

APR: Reflecting

Nina Kult, APR, PRSA St. Louis APR Director

My journey toward earning the APR began in 2011, just three years into my career in public relations. It was at the urging of my boss Denise Bentele, APR, that I chose to seek the accreditation, and I can still remember her saying that it would change the way I’d view PR. I was extremely fascinated by that statement and jumped at the opportunity to expand my knowledge.

Having earned my degree in journalism and mass communications, I was eager to learn more about the principles and practice of public relations as well as what makes an effective public relations counselor. The process of reading, researching case studies and applying what I read into practice each day was eye-opening. I wasn’t just studying for an exam or preparing for my oral presentation … I was truly understanding the foundation of public relations and learning various approaches to elevate my level of strategic and critical thinking. To me, that was more valuable than getting the three letters after my name.

While it certainly wasn’t easy, obtaining the APR has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. I am able to look at situations with a more critical eye, serve as a strategic counselor for my clients by helping their organizations achieve effective communication goals and be an advocate for our industry by promoting the value of public relations through successful case studies and examples.

Has the APR changed the way I view PR? Yes, and I would encourage anyone else to see how it can change and enhance your perspective.

Learn more and apply to earn your APR today at www.praccreditation.org/apply/ or email the PRSA St. Louis APR Director.

*Photo courtesy of the Public Relations Society of America.

**This post originally appeared on the PRSA St. Louis website in April 2019.

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