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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.
    • Take advantage of your NSPRA-member resources:
      • Watch the APR Prep: Get Ready for Universal Accreditation webinar hosted by the NSPRA Accreditation Committee.
      • Register for NSPRA's free APR Cohort Program offered three times a year to members only. Space is limited and the program is very popular, so plan ahead as you may not be able to get into your first choice cohort. 
      • Register for NSPRA’s APR Prep: Get Ready for Universal Accreditation pre-Seminar workshop in July. 
      • Join NSPRA’s free Mentor Match Program for members to request a mentor for the APR process and other professional areas.
      • Let NSPRA’s Accreditation Committee know where you are in the APR process and how we can help by completing NSPRA's APR Interest Survey.
    • Decide when you want to attain your APR. Set a date for your goal and create a study plan leading up to it.
    • Download the free APR Study Guide from the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB). 
    • Begin to study. NSPRA recommends you start studying before you submit your online Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations Application.
    • Contact your NSPRA state chapter to see if there are any local study groups or APR prep courses.

  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 with Prometric. (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.
    • Schedule your examination with Prometric, either virtually or in person at a testing center, using your unique identification number.

  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.