Frequently Asked Questions - Accreditation
Here are the answers to the most-asked questions about the Universal Accreditation Program:
What is Accreditation?
Accreditation in Public Relations is a voluntary certification program for public relations professionals, administered by the Universal Accreditation Board.
Who administers the Accreditation program?
The Accreditation program is administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), a consortium of 9 leading industry organizations, including PRSA.
What is the Universal Accreditation Board?
The Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) comprises one chair and representatives from each public relations participating organization. Each member serves a three-year term. 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
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 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 FederationSouthern Public Relations Federation, Texas Public Relations Association and Asociación de Relacionistas Profesionales de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Public Relations Association).
Who is eligible?
Members of participating organizations who are involved in the professional practice of public relations, or in the teaching or administration of public relations courses in an accredited college or university.
What is the fee to take the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations?
The fee is $385. Several of UAB’s participating organizations offer their members a rebate for a portion of the Examination fee as a member benefit.
- FPRA offers a $100 rebate to candidates as long as they take the computer-based Examination within 30 days of completing their Readiness Review or with 30 days of completing their chapter study sessions.
- NSPRA offers a $110 rebate upon successful completion of the computer-based Examination (limited to the first 20 candidates each year due to budget considerations)
- PRSA offers a $110 rebate upon completion of the computer-based Examination.
- SPRF offers a $100 rebate upon completion of the computer-based Examination.
- RCC offers a $100 rebate to candidates upon successful completion of the computer-based Examination if they paid for the process personally.
Check with your organization for details on the rebate.
Please note that examination fees are non-refundable or transferable. Examination fees will be forfeit if a candidate does not cancel or reschedule his/her computer-based examination appointment by noon at least two (2) business days prior to the appointment date. If a candidate misses his/her appointment, he/she will not be rescheduled and will forfeit all fees paid.
Candidates with disabilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the UAB staff for details about paperwork that needs to be filed.
Is Accreditation good for life?
Yes, with fulfillment of Maintenance of Accreditation requirements and continued membership in a participating organization. Every three years, PRSA members Accredited after January 1, 1993 and participating organization members Accredited after January 1, 1998, 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.