Does PR Need Standardization?

Public Relations is a field that is slowly being recognized by more and more companies and professionals around the world. However, there is one question that the profession does face–whether it is completely legitimate or not. PR does not have standardized testing like medical and law degrees do. In the past I have had PR professors tell me that a degree is not needed to break into a career in our industry. This is a bit disheartening since this is what I have gone to school for, for the last 3 years! Though our industry doesn’t have standardization, there are different certificates that can be obtained like the ABC and APR. Do you think this is enough? Do you think companies looking to hire PR professionals need more to truly believe in what our industry can do for them? It would probably be a great task to form questions that could be answered by choosing A,B, C or D, to capture practices that the PR professionals use. Though I am not a fan of standardized testing, I would almost prefer some type of justifiable test for companies to see the value in what we do. Here is the link to a blog written by a PR professional that went through the accreditation process–see his views on accreditation and standardization.

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11 Responses to Does PR Need Standardization?

  1. drgilpin says:

    Where are the links to ongoing discussions, outside resources, etc.?

  2. marialinda17 says:

    I think this is an interesting discussion. It’s true that PR practitioners are not required accreditation and in many cases I don’t believe it is needed. Experience can be the greatest asset to professional growth. However, after reading this blog it seems that the process of preparing for certificates like the APR can be an invaluable learning experience. And anything that makes PR practitioners study ethics more in depth is welcome. I feel that this type of studying must have some positive effects. Although it may not boost a resume enough to earn a job, it certainly develops the skills and knowledge needed to become not only a PR practitioner, but a good one. And if such talent can be nurtured enough, then maybe it can change one’s opportunities. Perhaps I’ll look into it myself one day.

  3. erikanp2004 says:

    I do not this that PR needs an accreditation. You mentioned that medial and law degrees need one but I do not think those are comparable professions. Not only do they need to pass a standardized test they also go to school longer. You also said that a lot of PR professionals do not have a PR degree and that is true but I think getting a degree in PR is only an advantage. It gives a more experience and knowledge which is what is needed to get a job in the industry. Even though many practicing PR professionals did not go to school for PR I do not think that hinders us. Most people who want to hire a PR professional are looking for experience and/or knowledge.

  4. davemerenda says:

    There are many professions that don’t require accreditation and I feel fine about that. It’s PR, not brain surgery. I don not think that accreditation would benefit PR. erikanp2004 says it best in the comment above.

  5. lindsaylynch says:

    I agree with a few of the comments above. It is sad that you go to school for years just to focus on PR and then there are people in your industry who did not complete schooling. I don’t find it as bad when the person has completed schooling in general because atleast they have some background, but when people get put into positions with no school it is hard to deal with, but it is life. Tests and things like that should be left up to the employer rather than the industry because it is far from being like a law or medical field-where if you make a mistake that could be someone’s life.

  6. mekelly1 says:

    I think it is interesting to think about some sort of standardized test for PR professionals since I know people who are pursuing other degrees who plan to go into PR. However, for public relations it’s not about what you know for a test, it’s about what you can do in any given situation. Examples of work is what PR professionals need, not a high score on a test. I think the fact that I am taking PR classes opposed to pursuing another degree gives me an advantage against those who didn’t.

  7. trentonhorne says:

    I think the last thing PR needs is standardization. PR is valuable in my mind because of the innovation and “thinking outside of the box” approach that normally unfolds. Standardize it and a lot of that would be lost. Creativity and originality would be put on the backburner in order to pass a test.

  8. kakeane says:

    On one hand I find it a waste that someone without a PR degree can be hired for the same job, but on the other, I know that had I applied for that job at the same time, with my PR degree, I would most likely get it. Having the proper schooling is important, but in this industry, experience is what will really put you above and beyond the competition.

    I agree with Trenton that a standardized test would almost be an oxymoron to what PR really encourages, “out of the box” thinking. I don’t see any knowledge that could come from taking a test on PR that could not be better taught through actually having experience and clips on a resume.

  9. letsgoblogging says:

    I do not think that one needs to go through standardized testing before entering the PR industry. Law and the medical field are much more in depth and require more technical and precise schooling. PR also incorporates many different facets of academia so it would be tough to narrow it all down into one test and have that be suffice. PR is constantly changing as well so if there was a test PR professionals had to take, it would be one that would have to keep up with the times.

  10. bkranz says:

    This is a really interesting topic. Previous professors have always casually mentioned the accreditation exam, but never completely disclosed the benefits of taking it. Standardized testing is a topic that people either completely support or completely reject. Many of the tests are ones that decide “our entire life.” The MCAT, LSAT, even the SATs are tests that often frighten people and stress them out so much that they get psyched out of doing well. I don’t think that standardized testing in PR is the answer but I do think that some sort of proof of PR training is important to remain credible. I’ve often heard that having a degree is more important than what your degree is in, but if that is the case, what’s the point in choosing a major? After taking so many media and PR classes, we are far more prepared to enter the profession than someone who has majored in another topic.

  11. mara2009 says:

    I don’t think PR should require standardized testing. PR is not a standardized field and encompasses many skills. This, along with the relative newness of the industry, is why people without a degree in PR can easily enter this industry. Most of the people that I know who have been in this industry for at least 10 years have journalism or business degrees. I also think this newness is why people can advance in this industry without having a graduate degree.

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