By Kara Winton, APR, CPRC

Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes at an FPRA meeting with me knows I am a big proponent of earning one’s Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) credentials. I can run through a list of benefits a mile long. However, if you had asked me a year ago if I’d be a grad student today and those initials would help me get into select courses, I would have laughed at you longer than an APR study session. Laugh’s on me … because it’s true.

Last spring, I decided to combine my dream of being a full-time mom with a passion for continuing education and teaching. I pulled out the GRE study manual and applied to grad school. This August, I began work as a part-time grad student, pursuing a master’s degree in adult education through a distance education program at Indiana University (my Alma mater).

In addition to the litany of adult education courses, the program requires a chunk of credit hours in a “professional focus area.” Surprise, surprise … mine is public relations. So I started searching for online public relations graduate courses, and found just the classes I needed. I also discovered I had to have advanced permission to take the classes.

So I emailed the head of the graduate PR program (after being disappointed when I read his bio and discovered no initials after his name), and provided my resume. I mentioned what classes I was interested in taking, and was pleased to get a very quick reply. Not only did he approve me for the classes I requested, but any and all courses the program offered. Included in his rationale, and I quote, “two well respected professional credentials (APR, CPRC).”

How cool is that?! Clearly the effort I put into studying for the APR and CPRC exams paid dividends. What’s even more remarkable is the professor’s experience lies all in Indiana, yet he recognized and respected the CPRC designation, which is specific to Florida. Sounds like the PR industry respects the work of Sunshine State PR professionals!

So if you’ve ever wondered what earning your APR and CPRC credentials could do for you, imagine the unimaginable. The laugh could be on you next!