Staying Ahead in the Ever-Changing World of Public Relations: The Crucial Role of Accreditation

April is APR Month at PRSA. Learn how becoming Accredited in Public Relations can help advance your career by visiting

I admittedly didn’t know if I wanted to pursue my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).

By 2019, the year I received my APR, I was up to my eyeballs in responsibilities, including my first child being under the age of two, a new PR job in the tech and telecommunications industry that was a big learning curve from my experience, co-parenting my then stepson (now forever bonus son) who was hitting the teenage years and serving as President-elect of the Orange County chapter of PRSA (OCPRSA). I had a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA already. I thought, “Did I need an APR? Did I have time?”

I reverted to what my grandparents and parents always told me growing up: No one can ever take away your education. As the incoming first Black president of PRSA’s Orange County Chapter, I knew I wanted to set the stage for the importance of being an Accredited professional and not have anyone doubt that I deserved the honor of leading a Chapter.

So, I signed up for the OCPRSA APR preparation program, a weekly meeting in the evening for several weeks where we learned about different elements of accreditation, discussed what campaign or project examples we would use for our panel presentations, worked on those presentations, practiced for them and the test. It was 100-percent key to me earning my APR. And I was fortunate to be in it alongside peers I admired.

Public relations is an ever-changing, and thus ever-competitive, profession. As I’ve moved through my career to where I am now, the fundamentals are rooted in the APR. I think about the fundamentals of good PR work and our ethical responsibility as practitioners.

Further, after serving on the OCPRSA board for seven years, knowing that I still need to contribute to PRSA and the next generation of leaders to maintain my Accreditation every year has held me accountable and kept me involved. I sit on PRSA’s Governance Committee and mentor locally. Maintaining my APR helps me stay informed via the various local, regional and national programs that PRSA offers.

Charla Batey, APR, MBA, is PR manager for Cox Communications’ Orange County, Palos Verdes and Santa Barbara markets. She also oversees Cox Business PR efforts for the of California. Batey has 16-plus years of experience in public relations, special events planning and marketing. 

[Illustration credit: cagkan]

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