APR Process & Requirements

Who is eligible?

If you are a member of CPRS in good standing with five years of full-time public relations work experience, you are eligible to apply.

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. Our 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.

An APR wordmark designating the professional status for public relations practitioners was established in 2007. The wordmark is available for accredited members to use on business cards, letterhead or websites. To get a high resolution image for your use, please contact the CPRS National Office at 416-239-7034.

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 Services

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.

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.

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

Janet Wile, APR, FCPRS, Director, Internal Communications, Barrick Gold Corporation completed accreditation in 1991. She has this to say about her experience:

“The APR is a credential I can point to when presenting myself to clients, potential employers, or others in the profession. It is proof you meet a certain standard of knowledge and good practice. Being successful in the Accreditation process helps build your confidence.”