I was surprised but intrigued to see this post from PR Squared. Basically, Todd says that while he respects those with APR accreditation, 1) it could stifle PR pros in their practice, and 2) mandatory accreditation could discourage young hopefuls from trying to enter the field of PR.
I typically agree with Todd’s points and think that he has some great insight into the direction of our field. However, this time I tend to side with the pro-APR team.
A while ago I read the original post by Kami Huyse that Todd referenced and found it inspiring. You should give it a read if you haven’t already. I had always assumed that someday I would work towards my APR, and despite the points Todd makes I think it will remain a personal goal of mine. Even if the PRSA’s methodology is somewhat outdated, getting your APR establishes the core principles of PR and also forms good planning habits for campaigns. As Kami has said, it changes your thinking when approaching PR problems, which I can only see as a good thing.
I agree with Todd that mandatory APR would make some balk at entering the profession, but perhaps we want them to. I’d prefer that our profession be viewed as more difficult to enter than too easy. At this point you don’t even need a degree to do PR in some areas of the profession.
That said, I know that those without APR can still do a killer job at PR. As Todd pointed out, his own agency is a testimony to this. But not everyone can work at an agency that commits itself to nurturing an employee’s skill in the field. In fact, I would say many PR people work at companies that don’t care how they execute public relations plans, as long as they get plenty of coverage and make the Big Boss happy. APR certification could help practitioners obtain guidance that they may not have at work.
Plus, if APR can make a great professional even better, I’m definitely interested.
I doubt that when I get my APR someday that my freedom as a practitioner will be stifled in any way. I’m a little too free spirited to define myself by three small letters. I think of PRSA accreditation much in the same way Captain Barbossa views the Pirate’s Code: “the Code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.” 🙂
If you’re still unconvinced, Stuart Bruce got in on the discussion with some great points on the APR dilemma and why it is still important to consider getting accredited.
Don’t jump the APR ship yet, mateys!