The CPRC is a unique certification available exclusively through the Florida Public Relations Association, to distinguish senior-level PR professionals who possess the expertise to manage crisis scenarios and high-stakes public relations challenges adeptly. This credential is a testament to their ability to think swiftly and offer strategic PR guidance. To be eligible for the CPRC exam, PR practitioners need a minimum of 10 years of experience, active membership in good standing with FPRA, and the attainment of an APR certification. Once achieved, the CPRC certification remains valid as long as the individual maintains their FPRA membership.

The Value of Earning Certification

Earning the Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) designation signifies a high level of proficiency in the field of public relations. CPRCs are given the opportunity to become part of FPRA’s most prestigious networking and professional development community, known as the Counselors’ Network. As a bonus, newly certified counselors receive complimentary membership in the Counselors’ Network for their first year. This group holds regular virtual meetings for informal networking, and annually hosts the CN Winter Symposium—a one-of-a-kind event featuring renowned national speakers and exclusive experiences.

About the Exam

In 1974, FPRA introduced the CPRC certification to acknowledge the advanced professional growth and accomplishments of senior-level PR professionals. The CPRC exam is a subjective assessment that calls upon candidates to tap into their extensive experience in public relations planning and counseling, applying the Research-Planning-Implementation-Evaluation (RPIE) method to solve problems and offer solutions.

To be eligible to take the CPRC exam, candidates must meet the following criteria:
• Maintain active membership in FPRA with a good standing status.
• Possess a minimum of 10 years of professional experience in the field of public relations.
• Have previously earned the APR designation.

The examination comprises two sections: a written essay exam and an oral exam. Candidates have the flexibility to choose the order in which they complete these sections. Successful candidates exhibit persuasive counseling abilities in scenarios commonly encountered by government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and public relations firms.

Although each candidates’ answers on the CPRC exams will be unique, effective answers will consistently employ a strategic RPIE approach and address the key elements presented within each scenario.

Written Exam

The written exam consists of 14 case studies. Each question has an assigned length of time for answering ranging from 15 to 60 minutes. The time allotted for each question also represents the number of points possible for that question. For example: A 15-minute question is worth 15 points.

The written exam takes six hours in total to complete. This includes 2.5 hours for the first half of the exam, a required 1-hour lunch break, and 2.5 hours for the second half of the exam.

The total number of points possible on the written exam is 300. To pass, a candidate must score 210 points, which is equal to 70%.

The CPRC exam is peer-evaluated. Exams are graded by FPRA professionals across the state who have earned the CPRC credential. Two CPRCs grade each exam. If both pass the candidate, the CPRC is awarded. If the graders disagree, the exam is sent to a third CPRC for grading. If the result is not a passing grade, the candidate will be asked to retake the written exam. Candidates are identified by a number, not their name, to protect their privacy. Graders are also kept confidential.

Oral Exam

For the oral exam, the candidate must give a 20-minute presentation to a panel of certified evaluators, to be followed by a 10-minute question and answer session.

Seven days before the scheduled presentation, the candidate will receive three fictitious scenarios that pose a PR challenge for a company or organization. The candidate will choose a scenario and then make their presentation, approximately 20-minutes in length, as if presenting a recommendation to the company/organization leadership as specified in the scenario.

Candidates are evaluated based on their verbal communication skills, NOT on presentation materials. Presentation materials such as PowerPoint/Prezi/etc. are not required but may be used if desired.

A panel of three FPRA professionals in Southwest Florida who have earned the CPRC credential will evaluate the presentation. Items evaluated include the specific steps of RPIE, whether the candidate was persuasive and effective and the overall impression of the judges. Each item is scored between one and five for a total of 50 points. A candidate must score 35 points (70%) or more to pass.

Application & Fees

The current cost for the CPRC exam in 2024 is $350. Candidates will be invoiced after their application is submitted to the state office and accepted. We highly recommend that you connect with one of the chapter’s credentialing chairs prior to applying for the CPRC. Once your application is accepted by the state office, you only have one year from that date to complete the credentialing process.

FPRA offers candidates a $75 rebate following the passing of the oral and written portion of the exam. The Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA is proud to match this on the local level and offer its candidates an additional $75 rebate.

Candidate Exam Readiness

When deciding whether to pursue CPRC certification, it’s critical to assess the current stage of your career and the role you play within your organization or while working with clients. The CPRC exam evaluates your expertise, competencies, and capabilities as a public relations counselor. You can click on the link below to assess your readiness for taking the CPRC exam.

Next Steps

The Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA has three Credentialing Chairs that can provide additional information and support to members as they prepare for the CPRC process. For the 2024 Chapter year, Trish Robertson, APR, CPRC will be the main point of contact for Southwest Florida chapter members who are looking to work towards their CPRC.

We look forward to helping you plan your credentialing journey and set a success path to becoming a Certified Public Relations Counselor.

VIDEO: Demystifying the CPRC Process by Lisa Murray, APR, CPRC