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Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps when you are ready to earn your accreditation in public relations (APR).

  1. Make a plan.

  2. Review and complete the application.
    • Complete and submit the online Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations Application which includes an application fee ($25) and a testing fee ($385). You must be a member of one of the nine participating organizations. If you are earning your APR as a member of NSPRA, you must be a professional-level association member.
    • The UAB will notify you whether your application is accepted. NSPRA also will be notified if you indicated on your application to UAB that you applied as an NSPRA member. 
    • Once your application is approved, you have one year to complete the process.

  3. Download and fill out the Candidate Questionnaire.
    • You can start working on the Candidate Questionnaire before you apply, but it must be submitted to the APR chair arranging your Panel Presentation no fewer than 15 business days prior to the scheduled Panel Presentation. 
    • The questionnaire will be reviewed by the panelists for your Panel Presentation. 

  4. Schedule and participate in a Panel Presentation.
    • If your state SPRA chapter has an APR chair, contact your local APR chair to schedule your Panel Presentation.
    • If your state does not have a chapter or your chapter does not have an APR chair, complete the APR Panel Presentation Request Form to notify NSPRA's Accreditation Committee of your desire to schedule a panel presentation. The committee chair and your regional representative will work together to support you.
    • The Panel Presentation will take place during a time and place mutually agreed upon between candidate and APR chair.
      • Panel Presentations may be held online or in person, but online panels are encouraged due to the greater scheduling flexibility and convenience for both candidates and panelists. The APR chair arranges the virtual or in-person meeting location.
      • During the Panel Presentation, present your portfolio and respond to interview questions. Panelists' feedback will help you to assess and direct your study preparation for the Computer-Based Examination.
    • UAB will give you official notification if you have advanced/not advanced to the Computer-Based Examination. If not advanced, you may repeat the Panel Presentation after 90 days. (Current APRs, want to help set up a candidate's panel presentation? Read Setting Up Panel Presentations.)

  5. Request coaching, mentoring, support services.

  6. Schedule your Computer-Based Examination.
    • If advanced through the Panel Presentation, you will receive a unique identification number to be used to schedule the Computer-Based Examination. (Find links to view an exam demo and questions.) Keep in mind your deadline of one calendar year from the date of your application approval.
    • Test your skills with a scored APR practice exam. NSPRA members can get a discount code to purchase 14-day access to the online exam for $35 (normally $145).
    • As of January 2024, there will no longer be in-person test centers and all UAB examinations for accreditation will be offered remotely by Certification Management Services (CMS). When accreditation candidates advance from a panel presentation, UAB will provide them with instructions on how to register for and take the APR exam. For more details, find the document "FAQs new examination vendor" on the UAB website or direct additional questions to the UAB at

  7. Take the examination.
    • Upon completion of the exam, you will receive immediate feedback from Prometric on the strengths and weaknesses in tested knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) and unofficial notification of a pass or fail. You will receive official notice from UAB of a pass or fail within a few weeks
    • If you pass, the UAB grants accreditation. NSPRA also will be notified if you indicated on your application to UAB that you applied as an NSPRA member. NSPRA will invite you to participate in an APR pinning ceremony, using the APR pin mailed to you by UAB, during the Annual Meeting and Celebration of Achievement on Sunday afternoon at the next NSPRA National Seminar.
    • If you do not pass, repeat steps five and six within one calendar year from the date of your application approval.

  8.  Receive reimbursement from NSPRA for a portion of the exam fee.
    • If you went through the accreditation as an NSPRA member, NSPRA will reimburse you $110 upon notification from UAB of your successful completion of the Computer-Based Exam. Reimbursement will be issued by NSPRA automatically following NSPRA's receipt of notification from UAB.