Universal Accreditation Board
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What is the UAB?

The Universal Accreditation Board oversees the Accreditation program and provides a balanced blend of backgrounds in a number of public relations specialties. This group of senior-level Accredited members meets several times a year. Want to learn more about the professionals that comprise UAB? click here

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation in Public Relations is a voluntary certification program for public relations professionals, administered by the Universal Accreditation Board.

What is the purpose of Accreditation?

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 Accredited in Public Relations (APR) signifies a high professional level of experience and competence.

Why become Accredited?

Some job listings are specifying APR preferred. Senior public relations professionals have been outspoken in support of Accreditation. "APR is a symbol of professionalism. It demonstrates that individuals have the knowledge, ethics and experience that set them apart. It also demonstrates that they care about their own profession and that they are dedicated to enhancing their own personal abilities." Joe S. Epley, APR, Fellow PRSA, Epley Consulting, Tryon, N.C.

How is Accreditation Promoted?

The UAB, along with all participating organizations, is responsible for marketing Accreditation.

How old is the Accreditation Program?

The program originated in 1964 and was administered by PRSA until 1998, when the Universal Accreditation Board was formed to administer the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. 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 (PRSA), Religion Communicators Council, Southern Public Relations Federation, and Asociación de Relacionistas Profesionales de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Public Relations Association).

About the Universal Accreditation Board

The Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) comprises one chair and representatives from each public relations participating organization.  The UAB oversees the Accreditation program and provides a balanced blend of backgrounds in a number of public relations specialties. This group of senior-level Accredited members meets several times a year. Day-to-day operations are administered at PRSA Headquarters. Responsibilities of the Universal Accreditation Board include the following:

  • Develops and implements policy for the program
  • Develops and maintains the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations
  • Reviews appeal cases
  • Grants Accreditation

"Let's be blunt about the issue of accreditation. Who of us hasn't heard colleagues be sarcastic about it? I have heard everything from tongue-in-cheek comments to direct criticism of the imprimatur. But does that sarcasm or criticism ever come from one who holds the APR designation? Never. On the contrary, I believe there is a strong positive recognition of the APR designation, especially by other APRs. As an agency person, I am meeting new people every day. When a prospect or anyone has an APR after their name, I know they share two values with me: 1) Discipline — they had the discipline to go through the process and get accredited; and 2) respect/recognition — they use their APR knowing that especially fellow colleagues will see it and recognize it. It's recognition of an accomplishment and the only designation our profession has."

— Susan Prather, APR Principal Prather PR

Board members:

Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR

Elizabeth McMillan, APR

Susan G. Barnes, APR, Fellow PRSA

Public Relations Society of America
Douglas Farber Cannon, APR+M
Brook DeWalt, MA, APR+M, Fellow PRSA
John Forde, APR, Fellow PRSA
Ann P. Knabe, APR+M
Mitchell E. Marovitz, Ph.D., APR
Mark Newman, APR
Kim Marie Sporrer, APR
Kaye D. Sweetser, Ph.D., APR+M

PRSA National Board Liaison
Susan Walton, APR

Agricultural Relations Council

Robert O. Giblin, APR

Asociación de Relacionistas Profesionales de Puerto Rico

Carlos M. Rivera-Cuesta, APR

Florida Public Relations Association
Kathleen M. Giery, APR, CPRC
Jay D. Rayburn, Ph.D., APR, CPRC, Fellow PRSA

Maine Public Relations Council
Judy Katzel, APR

National School Public Relations Association

Janet Swiecichowski, APR

Religion Communicators Council

Philip Poole, APR

Southern Public Relations Federation

Sherry Harlow, APR
Melissa LaBorde, APR

PRSA Staff Contacts
Judy Voss, APR
Kathy C. Mulvihill

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© 2002-12 Universal Accreditation Board
Administered by the Public Relations Society of America
33 Maiden Lane, 11 Floor, New York, NY 10038-5150