APR Frequently Asked Questions

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation in Public Relations is a voluntary certification program for public relations professionals.

What is the purpose of Accreditation?

The purpose is to unify and advance the public relations 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 earn Accreditation?

Accreditation distinguishes public relations professionals from other practitioners. APRs have proven their expertise and experience in a written exam and before a panel of Accredited public relations professionals. The APR is used as a screening criterion for hiring and professional advancement and research has shown accredited practitioners earn more money than their unaccredited counterparts.  

Many public relations professionals pursue accreditation for professional growth or personal satisfaction because it sharpens their knowledge and reflects their commitment to lifelong learning, professional ethics and best practices

Who administers the Accreditation program?

The Accreditation program is administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), a consortium of nine leading public relations organizations, including:

The UAB includes representatives from each public relations participating organization and a chair.

What are the Universal Accreditation Board’s responsibilities?

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. UAB responsibilities include:

  • Develops and implements policy for the program
  • Oversees ongoing research on the knowledge, skills and abilities to be assessed in the Accreditation process
  • Develops and maintains the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations
  • Reviews appeal cases
  • Grants Accreditation 

How old is the Accreditation Program?

The program originated in 1964 and was administered by PRSA until 1998. The Universal Accreditation Board was formed in 1998, after a group of public relations organizations came together to unite several certification and examination programs under one program, the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations.

Who is eligible?

Practitioners 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 are eligible to seek Accreditation. Nonmembers are also welcome to apply. 

Military and armed forces civilian public affairs practitioners also are eligible to pursue the APR+M credential. To earn the APR+M, practitioners must meet the APR standards and additional requirements that demonstrate knowledge, skills and experience unique to military public affairs. 

The UAB recommends candidates have at least five years of professional experience in public relations before pursuing Accreditation

What is the fee to take the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations?
  • Members of UAB participating organizations pay $385.  Nonmembers pay $745.
  • Several UAB member organizations offer their members a partial rebate for the Examination fee. Check with your organization for rebate details.

Examination fees are non-refundable or transferable. Examination fees will be forfeit if a candidate does not cancel or reschedule their examination appointment by noon at least two (2) business days prior to the appointment date. If a candidate misses the appointment, the candidate 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?

APRs must meet Accreditation renewal requirements every three years. To renew Accreditation, practitioners must accumulate the required number of CEUs through continuing education and professional development, ethics, professionalism or service categories. This strengthens the value of the credential and keeps professionals active, up to date and involved in the profession. Note: Nonmember APRs must also meet Accreditation renewal requirements at a nonmember rate.





Have your own APR story to tell?  Email accred@prsa.org.