To APR or not to APR?

aprI’ve been struggling lately with whether I should advance my education with a formal training program — either by going for a master’s degree or earning an APR (Accredited in Public Relations).

The master’s is very far out of reach, as I see it, based on the cost and the time commitment involved.  The APR, however, is much closer. In the past I just haven’t been convinced that I need it. The accreditation standard seems to mean a lot to people in the profession, but I’m not sure how much it means to clients and employers outside the profession.

That discrepancy aside, I can see where there is value to the APR initials after your name. However, one of the reasons I’ve shied away from trying for my APR  is that I’ve been rebelling against those trying to tell me I need it. I’ve been turned away by some of the attitudes involved. Sometimes I get the feeling that people with an APR are looking down their noses at those of us who haven’t got it. They tend to make new grads think that without their APR, their college education in the PR field is a nice start but doesn’t really amount to much. And they tend to ignore the idea that accreditation through the School of Hard Knocks and the experience a person can gain after doing the job for nearly 15 years (in my case) just doesn’t hold any real value.

I’m sure I’ve just been too sensitive sometimes, but when it comes to the APR, those who want to promote it could use a bit of PR for themselves and those fancy initials after their name.

I attended the Public Relations Society of America International Conference in San Diego recently, where I finally — finally! — heard a good explanation of why a person should consider getting their APR. It was given at a meeting being led by Mary Barber, a PR pro from Alaska. After hearing her explanation, I actually felt like I had a solid reason to get my APR. The way Mary explains it, earning your APR looks good to others, but she primarily did it for herself.

I recorded Mary giving the explanation again so I could share it here with you. I thought it was good enough that I couldn’t do it justice trying to put it into words. So, below is Mary, explaining her position. After you watch the video, I’m betting you’ll want to check out what it takes to actually earn your APR. You can do that at this link.

I’ll see you there.