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Are You Missing Out By Not Being Accredited in Public Relations?
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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If you hang around the water cooler in the PR break room for any amount of time, you will probably hear the same arguments being bandied about: 
  • Why don't clients just trust us?
  • Does that chick really think she's getting away with kissing all that behind?
  • And speaking of behinds, the Kardashian booty has to be implants...amirite? 
And there's one more: "Is getting APR certified worth the money these days?" For 50 years, the prestigious Public Relations Society of America has seemed to think so.

Every year, more and more PR pros sign up to take the test and earn those three highfalutin letters after their name on a business card (you know, without lying about it). 

It is very expensive. It is a risk if you don't pass. It is nice to show off at parties. But is it really worth it? I saw a blog post on TopRankBlog.com that really got me thinking about this seemingly age-old question. The great Lee Odden (CEO of TopRank) opines about this very thing, wondering if full memberships are worth it. Obviously, most PR types want to belong in the industry, so they consider investing in PRSA, IABC, AMA, SMC, and several other abbreivated social gatherings. 

Few of them offer a distinction as shiny as the APR seal. Yet one thing is clear in this industry: And? 

Ever met someone with an APR? Many of them are really skilled at this thing, but there are some who paid for a degree on SearchForItHereAndBuyItCheap.net. You can tell because they suck out loud at public relations, but because they have those three letters, they get the first try at anything. 

Likewise, surely you know someone in this industry without an APR certificate. Yeah, some of them can "PR" circles around those fools. Then again, some of them missed their calling arguing for who closes on weekends at the local drive-thru because they are ham-handed at this thing, too. Does APR mean you are smarter than someone who isn't fortunate to be "accredited?" Does the fact that you had some set aside for continuing education mean that you are any better than...say...me, who has been doing this thing for two decades? 

The answer is all in the discovery. Only, do the rest of us peons a favor. Don't forget where you came from, because we know what you were like before you called the PRSA. Not much different than you are now. We see you. Just sayin'. 

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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