Why I Chose the APR Journey (and why you may as well)

[ This is the first post in the APR Journey Series exploring the Accreditation in Public Relations credential and the journey to getting it. ]

Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) is the communication industry’s only post-graduate certification. It’s a designation that tests and proves one’s knowledge of the core tenants of our profession, especially a business-objective-centered and ethical approach.

To earn your APR, you need a recommended minimum five years experience and to go through a multi-phased process (which I’ll discuss more in coming posts).

I won’t lie to you—it’s a significant investment of time. When I entered the APR process in early 2016, I was up to my waist in empty coffee cups, putting in 80-plus hours a week. So why in my right mind would I add such a commitment into my life?

Here’s why I chose the APR journey and why you may, too:

Lifelong Learning

A key theme to APR is lifelong learning.

As you go through your career, it can be difficult to consistently interact with every niche of the industry. Through the APR journey, you study and are tested on a broad spectrum of communications knowledge. This spans everything from the Four-Step Process to history to ethics to communications law to business acumen.

In some areas, this is knowledge you wield on a daily basis. For others—like the full history of the profession—it’s a refresher. And others still, you gain a new understanding and framework for thinking.

Credibility and Distinction

APR is the only postgraduate industry designation that has lasted the test of time.

The credential is a written testament to one’s expertise, principles, values and professionalism. It really speaks for itself.

PRSA says it best, “With so thorough a process, the APR credential is both a professional and personal achievement—a revelation of drive, capabilities, and dedication. Receiving this Universal Accreditation Board (UAB)-administered recognition demonstrates your proficiency and alignment with the industry, positioning you as a leader in the field.”

Access to Exclusive Benefits (like progress towards a Master’s Degree)

APR comes with a growing and sweet trove of benefits.

First and foremost, you get connected to the APR community, which includes professionals spanning age, tenure, industry and location.

You can also receive advanced standing credit towards Northern University’s Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication. APRs complete the program in 12 courses rather than 15, which is savings of 20% in tuition.


Do one or all of these sound appealing? The APR journey might be for you, too. If you have any questions, get in touch with me. I’m happy to be your sherpa.


Ben Butler, APR, is the client services director for Top Hat, an award-winning marketing communications firm in Pittsburgh, and the Accreditation Director for PRSA Pittsburgh. In his past life, he served as a public relations guy for a motorsports complex, director of inbound partnerships for an inbound marketing agency and head of communications for a software startup. He’s been named a Top Under 40 Communicator and is Accredited in Public Relations (APR)—a distinction held by less than 20-percent of all practitioners.

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