Accreditation

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Professional Achievement

Accreditation is widely recognized as a measure of professional achievement and competence in public relations. Increasingly, the terms of reference for public relations positions in the private and public sectors specify accreditation as a preferred qualification.

Thinking of Doing Your Accreditation In Public Relations (APR)?  Need More Information? Read on. You can then reach out to our CPRS Hamilton Accreditation Chair, Heather Pullen, APR, MCM.

We can help you take the next step. Taking that next step may seem daunting, but the experience and outcome of earning your APR is time and effort well invested. Your dedication to the program combined with the resources and assistance offered by CPRS Hamilton and CPRS National can help you navigate through this process. So, why not consider adding this to your list of goals for next year?

Contact us to find out more.
Heather Pullen, CPRS Hamilton Accreditation Chair, at hjpullen@gmail.com

CPRS National Office, at accreditation@cprs.ca

Accreditation Handbook
Download this PDF handbook to read more detailed information about the APR process and application requirements.

What does APR mean?

The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation is an internationally respected measure of professional experience in the field of public relations. The APR designation demonstrates professionalism and is tangible evidence to the public and our industry that you have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skills and abilities in the area of public relations.

How many professionals have earned their APR?

Over 30% of CPRS members across Canada are accredited members of CPRS.  CPRS Hamilton has the largest percentage of accredited members among all CPRS local societies, with 46% of our members having earned their APR, demonstrating their ongoing commitment to the profession.

Accredited members of CPRS across Canada.

Accredited members of CPRS Hamilton.

What are the benefits of earning my APR?

Top Ten Reasons to Seek Accreditation

  1. Accreditation improves career opportunities and advancement
  2. Accreditation prepares you for greater on-the-job-responsibilities
  3. Accreditation improves earnings potential
  4. Accreditation demonstrates your commitment to the profession
  5. Accreditation improves skills and knowledge
  6. Accreditation reflects achievement
  7. Accreditation builds self-esteem
  8. Accreditation enhances the professional image
  9. Accreditation establishes professional credentials
  10. Accreditation offers greater professional recognition from peers

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the CPRS accreditation process, you must satisfy the following requirements:

• Be a member in good standing of the Canadian Public Relations Society;
• Be employed full-time in a public relations position for at least five years;*
• Spend at least half your professional time involved with specific public relations activities.

*Equivalent work credit (up to six months) may be awarded for a public relations practicum or co-operative education experience successfully completed while attending a recognized college or university.

What is required?

Eligible candidates must complete an application form and submit it prior to the December 1 deadline. After being approved by the National Council on Accreditation, candidates will participate in a three part process consisting of:

  • a review of a work sample;
  • a written examination; and,
  • an oral examination.

Application (.docx)
Application (PDF)

What is the timing of the process?

The CPRS accreditation program runs on an annual cycle, with the following important dates:

December 1: Application due

December 30: Work sample overview due

October (3rd Friday and/or Saturday): Oral and written exams

What can I expect?

Preparing for the APR may be challenging but it certainly has its rewards. Although the examinations are designed to test breadth and depth of public relations experience and ability, consistent with a minimum of five years full-time public relations experience, candidates are highly encouraged to prepare thoroughly through formal and informal means.

CPRS Hamilton offers support to members seeking accreditation so you won’t have to navigate this process alone. The Accreditation Chair is available to help guide candidates through the process and may schedule pre-accreditation sessions that include peer support.

Candidates should be committed to the preparation process and ensure that they are able to set aside time to prepare. Your dedication combined with practical support offered to candidates through CPRS Hamilton will assist you through this process.

CPRS National’s website contains resources and information for members seeking Accreditation including the Accreditation Handbook, practice examinations, and a Top 10 suggested reading list that will help you prepare.

How are examinations conducted?

Accreditation examinations are held annually across Canada. By careful scheduling year after year, the National Council on Accreditation endeavours to ensure equitable access, taking into account variations in size of Member Societies. Examinations are conducted in both English and French.

Work samples and exams are graded by a panel of three senior accredited members who have been trained as graders and they are guided to a consensus grade result by the Regional Examiner. The Chief Examiner is responsible to ensure consistent grading standards at applied across Canada in all regions and supervises the entire grading process. In case of an appeal, the Deputy Presiding Officer for Appeals convenes and appeal panel of qualified graders.

When will I be notified of the results?

Candidates are notified of their results by the end of January each year.

When can I begin using the APR designation?

Upon notification of success, candidates can begin to use the APR designation.

Is the APR designation valid indefinitely?

Candidates in good standing who remain members of CPRS are able to use the APR designation. However, accredited members are encouraged to participate in voluntary the CPRS Accreditation Maintenance program. New APRs are considered maintained until their five-year anniversary.

What is required to maintain my APR?

Maintaining your APR designation is a milestone on the road of continuous personal growth and credentials. A minimum of 15 units are required every 5 years to maintain your APR. Maintenance of accreditation units can be earned in three categories:

  • Training (minimum 5 units)
  • Professional Activities
  • Community Service

For further information on APR maintenance, please login to the CPRS National website using your designated username and password. Accredited members can learn more about the program, use the online maintenance system to keep track of and submit qualifying maintenance activities and check their status.

Newly designated APRs are considered maintained until their 5th year anniversary.

How can I take the next step?

The CPRS National Accreditation Council has prepared a self-assessment tool and written a detailed handbook to help you decided if you are ready for the CPRS accreditation process.

If you have any questions, we encourage you to reach out to:
Lorianne Weston, Director of Accreditation and Education at CPRS National

Heather Pullen, CPRS Hamilton Accreditation Chair

Rob Gray, ABC, APR /Lead Strategic Corporate Communications, Alliance Pipeline, who completed accreditation in 2013, has this to say about his experience:

“After more than a decade in the profession, my accreditation journey began as a quest to ‘get the letters’. However, I quickly discovered that the accreditation process is a challenging and worthwhile experience that provides an opportunity to hone one’s craft, in alignment with recognized best practices. Accreditation has made me a better communicator, reinvigorated my passion for the profession, and has sparked a keen interest to advance on a path of continual learning.
It was also a tremendous opportunity to connect with some great practitioners.”