PR Accreditation

Many of us are graduating in the next few months and going to be looking for a job but is a bachelors degree enough? The job market is more competitive than ever because of the current economy and lay-offs. It seems that employers have a more qualified group of applicants to choose from. So what chance do recent graduates have to find a job?

I believe continuing your education and obtaining accreditation in your field is vital to obtaining a job and having a successful career. People who think their education ends when they receive their bachelors are mistaken. Education never stops and no matter how smart you are, not having more experience and accreditation could hurt your chances of securing a job. Having degrees, experience and accreditations is important in marketing yourself as a valuable employee.

Felicia W. Blow discusses the importance of obtaining accreditation for PR professionals in her blog post Your Best Bet For Success-Navigating The Accreditation Process. Blow is Accredited in Public Relations and believes it exemplifies her ability as a PR predictor and makes her a more valuable asset to her employer.

Obtaining any kind of degree and/or accreditation makes you a more valuable asset to an employer. That is why I plan to continue on to graduate school and pursue accreditation in my field. Being successful doesn’t require you to obtain accreditations or multiple degrees, but it will certainly put you one step ahead of others seeking the same job. Do you think having multiple degrees and accreditations is the only way to be successful? What is success anyway?

The APR is proof that you are knowledgeable and professional in PR, but it doesn’t make you successful. Blow is an advocate for the APR and believes PR professional should earn the credential. I completely agree. Being credible is important in every field and one way to do that is to obtain credentials. Do you plan to obtain accreditation in PR? Is it important to be members of professional programs, such as PRSA? Will being accredited help you be more successful?

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7 Responses to PR Accreditation

  1. Dawn Gilpin says:

    Great topic for a post! You need to fix your link to Felicia’s post, though–it should end before the period. I look forward to reading comments on this subject.

  2. ncano says:

    I personally thought being getting accreditation in PR was important, until I took JMC301 with a different professor than anyone else had. He basically explained to three of us that took the summer course in 2008 that it wasn’t important in doing that. He also said that most PR practitioners don’t go to get their masters in PR, most usually get their masters in journalism, business, marketing or advertising to help them make them more well rounded. I believe what he is saying; however if you want to be creditable that makes sense to – earning your credentials that is. I don’t really know if PR is for me so I don’t know if I want to exactly get my masters in it, however, you also can become credible just by simply doing your work and doing it well. You take the knowledge you have learn and apply it to your job, of course there can be mistakes along the way so does having your credentials or being accredited make you more knowledgeable, sure, but better? No. You need to practice your craft and actually apply what you are learning to do your job better. So was my professor right in the fact that it doesn’t make you any less credible if you don’t continue with being accredited in the PR realm? I don’t know. However, either way I think you can be successful with it and successful without it. It’s if you know how to practice what you learn from education and being in the work world.

  3. glindsay says:

    I think accreditation is a great way to further develop your skills as a PR professional. However, it also seems that many businesses are looking particularly at freshly graduated students as they can tend to work harder (although maybe not necessarily better in all cases) for less money. Also, it gives the organization an opportunity to “mold” the new hire within the company. I do believe that, as long as you are pursuing an even higher education for the right reasons (e.g: not just to stall until the job market improves) and you can maintain a drive and focus, that you will be in great shape when looking for a job if you get a graduate degree.

  4. ecain says:

    I think that it is very important to be accredited in the field that you work in. Having an accreditation means that you are truly good at what you do beyond recommendation letters from past employers. Like you said, a bachelors degree is quickly becoming as common as a high school diploma, so to set yourself apart from the rest, you must seek ways to stand out. I think that joining organizations within your field, such as PRSA, is very important especially for networking purposes. If for some reason you were to lose your PR job, you could use your accreditation and some of the resources that the PRSA offers in your search for a new job. I plan on hopefully attending graduate school in the near future and if after that I am still in the PR field I think that accreditation is something that would be very helpful over the course of my career.

  5. sferrer says:

    At a recent PRSSA meeting I attended, a guest speaker/PRSA member gave us great honest information about the PR agency life. The speaker is the vice president of a local PR agency and he said that having a master’s degree is a plus but he prefers a candidate with experience. He strongly believes having internships under your belt and real-world experience is more important than what we learn in the classroom.

    Being a PRSSA member myself, I absolutely believe that joining such organizations such as PRSA, SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists), etc. are very beneficial. Education is strongly important and I’m not trying to degrade a master’s degree but there is so much you can learn inside a classroom and PRSSA and my internships have opened my mind and expanded my knowledge of PR in a very vast manner. In the career searching I have done, I have seen the number of years in experience as a huge requirement.

  6. edean says:

    I agree with the above. Personally, I feel experience in your field is an invaluable and cannot be replicated in a classroom. I have also heard from employers that if you wish to pursue a graduate degree, to not to choose the same subject you received your bachelors in. This way, you become well-rounded and will expand your knowledge in a new direction. If I were an employer, I wouldn’t even consider a resume that did not mention fieldwork experience. I’ve seen a couple of my friends go through college without any job or internship. Needless to say, these are the people not finding jobs. You just become more valuable when you are able to reflect and learn from the real-life experiences that will come in the professional world.

  7. bihrig says:

    Natalie- I agree that you can become credible by getting experience and applying to your work. Building a good reputation at whatever job you do is important. I don’t think you have to be accredited in your field it just might help you build a positive reputation a little faster.

    Greg-That is a good point. People who just graduated may have a better chance at getting a job then someone with years of experience. I know I always hear about people getting turned down because they have too much experience for a job. In the economy today I’m sure businesses are looking for employees who are hard working, motivated and willing to work for less money, who better then a new graduate? I know I will not get accredited in PR, because it isn’t what I want to do. But, when I find the job field for me, I will pursue every accreditation and education opportunity available to me.

    Elizabeth- I agree. Accreditation does prove you are good at what you do. Also, joining professional organizations does help build relationships. Those relationships could certainly help you find a job if ever unemployed. I’m glad to hear you plan to further your education. The job market is very competitive and it is important to set yourself apart from other applicants.

    Stephanie- Valid point. I too agree that experience is more important then classroom time, but in this economic time I think continuing on with school is a good idea. A friend of mine graduation with her PR degree Dec 08’ and still hasn’t’ found a job. She regrets not going to graduate school because the last year has been wasted time. Most graduate programs only take 2 years, which is nothing compared to the rest of your life. Not to mention, graduate school usually requires intense internships, which often end in a job offer. Experience is important, but furthering your education validates you expertise and commandment to the fields.

    Emily- I agree with being well-rounded and pursing a degree in a different field. That is what I plan to do. Real-life experience is very important but you can get that while furthering your education. Many people work and attend graduate school. Being valuable to me means having experience but being highly educated making you more creditable.

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