Public Relations Tactics

Accreditation Milestones

April 1, 2014

These dates provide historical context for the 50th anniversary of the APR credential:


PRSA was formed. Its purpose was to provide professional development, set standards of excellence in the profession and uphold principles of ethics.


PRSA merged with the American Public Relations Association and started its own Accreditation program in 1962.


The APR designation and formal program were established.


The APR process was reviewed and updated with new Exam questions.


As the number of Accredited professionals grew, the PRSA Accreditation Board retained consulting firm Integrated Options to review the Exam and scoring process.


Integrated Options was selected as PRSA’s new Exam scoring firm. It recruited and trained professionals with advanced degrees to score the Exams.


PRSA joined with four other professional associations to unify credentialing programs, with a goal of enhancing credibility and value for organizations and people who hire and retain PR practitioners. Unification paved the way for the formation of the UAB as the administering body for the process.


The UAB retained a firm that had conducted a practice analysis used to legitimize the CPA Exam process and commissioned it to conduct a KSA practice analysis in public relations to determine knowledge, skills and abilities that PR professionals need daily.


The UAB recognized the need to reengineer the Accreditation process in an effort to continuously improve and reflect the changing PR profession, and meet requirements that would allow the Exam to be required for either hiring or advancement.


The newly reengineered Exam for Accreditation was released.


The UAB and PRSA recognized a need for tailoring the credential to reflect the unique KSAs required of public affairs practitioners in the U.S. military. They established a plan for Accreditation that included special emphasis on military public affairs skills.


The UAB updated the landmark practice analysis to determine if the knowledge, skills and abilities tested within the Accreditation process have changed. 


Seeking to continuously improve the process and public recognition of APR, PRSA hired the consulting firm OPG to assess the state of the Accreditation program.


The Accreditation program recognizes the need for continuous change in order to reflect new dynamics within the maturing practice of public relations, and aims to further the efforts to create acceptance and value among managers responsible for hiring and developing practitioners in their organizations.

(Source: Universal Accreditation Board)



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