I’ve just completed my CPD for the second consecutive year (by the skin my teeth it might suggested) and accordingly, I have earned the right to declare myself an Accredited Practitioner from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
“Accredited Practitioner status is our hallmark of your commitment to your professional excellence. It is evidence that you are committed to keeping your professional skills and knowledge up-to-date and continually developing and broadening your horizons.”
This wasn’t easy, and I really think it’s important that it is understood and appreciated as this kind of mark really does help to set practitioners apart, and enables employers and clients to sort the ‘wheat from the chaff’.
As such, I thought it might also be useful to review some of the other credible qualifications out there, in case anyone is passing by and fancies checking them out.
In my humble experience, here’s a list of some of the most accessible for remote and international learners.
1. CIPR Chartered Practitioner
The CIPR’s Chartered Practitioner Scheme awards Chartered status on an individual basis to members who have completed a rigorous assessment of their professional expertise. It is not only a benchmark for those working at a senior level, but a ‘gold standard’ to which all PR practitioners should strive to reach.
In reality, it is very hard. I tried to do it last year and thought I had a good chance… but sadly I failed at the second stage – the essay writing part. I’m now ready to try again and will hopefully be successful in 2013.
There are three parts to the certificate. The first is you have to apply and put the case forward that you are suitable of being considered. And even here you have a pretty good chance of being turned away.
Then you have to write a thesis which is novel and contributes to the continuous development of the industry. Mine was a study about the similarities in standards and ethical principles from the global PR consultancies.
It is the basis for MEPRA’s new code of conduct and you can find my articles in the earlier part of my blog. I also published it in a small book which you can find here.
I am going to develop my thesis this year with a greater focus on sustainability issues and the GRI Media Sector Supplement, which is still quite fresh and should pass the bar (I hope!)
2. IABC Accredited Business Communicator (ABC)
IABC’s accreditation program is the global standard of professional achievement for business communicators. Accredited members practicing around the world apply the same strategic management process in all communication disciplines, across diverse cultures, and in for-profit and nonprofit organizations of all sizes.
This peer-reviewed program challenges candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of strategic communication planning, implementation, measurement and ethics.
This again is very difficult, and yes I have tried and failed in 2012.
Well, that’s not really true.
I started and have really deferred my submission for a year or so. The qualification requires a significant amount of case material, which includes impact analysis and sophisticated evaluation. One reason I attended MEPRA’s course on the Barcelona Declaration earlier in the year.
However, this was perhaps my last chance to complete this program, as in 2013 it has been suspended.
The PRCA Online Certificate (O CertPRCA) is aimed at intermediate level practitioners looking to progress their careers through a wide range of bite size courses. To complete the Online Certificate, delegates will need to complete 18 webinars including at least one from each of the 6 sections below to amass a total of 180 points.
The PRCA has a number of really good learning qualifications – including a diploma to rival the CIPR’s Chartered status. But sadly, these require a significant amount of classroom learning, making them inaccessible to us here outside the country. The Online Certificate looks pretty compelling though, and at GBP1,500 should have some rich content.
This is the one I am aiming for right now, partially because I like webinars, but also because it provides nice content for my blogging!
4. The PRSA’s Accredited in Public Relations (APR)
Established in 1964, the Accreditation Program measures a public relations practitioner’s fundamental knowledge of communications theory and its application; establishes advanced capabilities in research, strategic planning, implementation and evaluation; and demonstrates a commitment to professional excellence and ethical conduct. The skills acquired through the process are applicable to any industry or practice area. Currently, more than 5,000 professionals from the agency, corporate, association and education fields hold the APR mark, Harold Burson and Daniel J. Edelman notable among them.
Not a course I have seriously considered and I’m only including here for completeness. It is something certainly to consider if you are an American practitioner abroad, or if you have managed to achieve the other qualifications – to complete the set. One for my future perhaps!
Are there any others I should know about? Please do let me know!