We all know there are PR imposters. These imposters go around and throw mud on the industry's name. It is hard to show a reporter, client or boss that you are not one of those imposters, especially if they were burned in the past.
"Professionals have credentials and others merely have titles, such as vice president," says Jeffrey Geibel, APR, principal of Geibel Marketing and Public Relations. "An APR is a transportable credential such as an MBA. It goes with you, unlike a title."
The accreditation in public relations (APR) is a hit or miss topic for PR pros. Some say it is essential, and others want a raise and promotion to come along with the hard work that it takes to be accredited.
Here are 10 reasons—straight from accredited PR pros—why you should consider earning your APR:
1. "It provides a higher level of professional credibility and distinction. It sets you apart from the crowd at work and in the job market." — Gretchen E. Fri, APR, InfoCision Management Corporation
2. "It familiarizes you with current public relations standards, updates and processes." — Ed McMasters, APR, Flottman Company
3. "The APR preparation process itself is an eye-opener to the breadth and depth of public relations, as well as the important aspects of public relations as a management function." — Christel Hall, APR, PRowrite Public Relations
4. "APR accreditation means the practitioner acts competently and ethically in dealings with clients, news media, customers, community members and others. It gives our profession credibility—the only currency that really matters." — Chuck Williams, APR, Providence Health & Services
5. "The APR process increases your strategic thinking for research, planning, implementation, measurement and evaluation for projects small and large, making you a more efficient and valued PR professional." — Rodric Bradford, APR, CAN National Warranty Corporation
6. "Differentiation—only 2 percent of public relations practitioners are accredited, so it sets you apart." — Jeffrey Geibel, APR, LEED-AP (BD+C), Geibel Marketing and Public Relations
7. "It comes with a fantastic network that enables you to pick up the phone and find out how to do something or get help in a far-away place." — Doug Fenichel, APR, In-House Public Relations
8. "It opens up opportunities for speaking, teaching and other experiences that might not be available without the credentials." — Stacey Doss, APR, SDDPR
9. "Accreditation shows you are serious enough about your job to seek and obtain a higher professional standard." — Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Publix Northwest PR
10. "Experience the incredible satisfaction of receiving an envelope with APR after your name, and know you're joining a group of professionals committed to ongoing professional excellence." — Heather Morgan, APR, Children's Home Society of Florida
No PR pro has extra time to take on what is essentially a college course. But sometimes it takes motivation from within to want to achieve the industry standard for excellence as determined by a rigorous vetting process of other PR professionals.
"Obtaining your APR is a personal achievement," added Geibel. "When it is all said and done it is a badge of accomplishment. No excuses."
Do you have what it takes to stand out?
Linzy Roussel Cotaya is a New Orleans based public relations professional. A version of this article originally ran on PR Breakfast Club.