Accreditation in Public Relations


April 2021 is APR Month and marks the 57th birthday of the APR distinction. We're joining PRSA in celebrating and elevating Accreditation in Public Relations. Learn more in April on SCPRSA social channels.

The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential demonstrates a practitioner’s expertise and competency in the field of public relations. Accredited practitioners have a deep understanding of ethical standards and are proficient in communications principles. The APR distinction elevates a practitioner’s credibility and reflects sound professional judgement in the practice of public relations.

It is recommended that APR candidates have at least five years of professional experience practicing public relations. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (e.g. public relations, mass communications) or have equivalent work experience. To explore the accreditation process and review resources, visit

If you’re ready to achieve this distinguished credential in public relations, contact Ashley M. Dusenbury, APR, SCPRSA Accreditation chair, at [email protected]

SCPRSA Accreditation chair, Ashley M. Dusenbury, APR, recently connected with our newest accredited member, Tamara M. King, APR, to learn more about her APR journey.

The APR credential is considered the gold standard for public relations practitioners. It’s a mark of distinction in our field of work. Why were you interested in earning your accreditation?

I have been in the communications field for more than two decades, and my career has had many lives. I have been a news reporter, radio DJ, public relations coordinator, communications manager, speech writer, presenter and now a community relations director. Each job has taught me something different about the essential role communication plays in creating and shaping the culture of an organization. When done properly, communication and relating to the public, can turn a scandal into an opportunity, and can change an enemy into your biggest cheerleader. There is power in public relations. The old saying is true: He who controls the microphone, controls the message. As my career has evolved, I wanted to have a deeper understanding of the mechanics of public relations. While I knew the how, I wanted a broader, and deeper understanding of the why. And obtaining my APR would help me name the whys. In my office and presentations, I often talk about the seven C’s of communications. Now through my experience of attaining my APR, I am able to go further than the basics of public relations. With 20 years now firmly under my belt, having my APR gives me more confidence to not only do the work, but also share my knowledge in succinct way and with shared public relations language. 

Achieving accreditation is an invaluable investment in a practitioner’s career, and many feel it’s personally rewarding. What is your most valuable takeaway from your APR journey?

From the time I signed up to get my APR my life was sent into high gear. During the process, my work load increased, I took the lead on several successful projects, conducted presentations locally and nationally, and not to mention a raging, health pandemic that forced an entire world to quarantine. It was a whirlwind, and I had to carve out time with intentionality to complete my certification. Was it daunting? Yes! Challenging? For sure! However, I learned so much about myself throughout this process and am thankful for this opportunity. I learned how to be more strategic and thoughtful in my work. I also gained access to additional tools in my public relations wheelhouse. Moreover, I have increased confidence in my ability to handle any scandal. And most importantly, I learned the power of public relations.

The process of earning the APR distinction takes commitment, time and immersion in public relations fundamentals and principles. 
What advice would you share with members who are interested in exploring the process but are not quite sure they’re ready?

My advice to anyone exploring the idea of attaining their APR is to go for it!  When you have completed this process and receive your certification, you will have a deeper sense of who you are as a public relations professional. And most importantly you will be able to articulate your vision and your strategies more comprehensively and effectively. 

Tamara M. King, APR is Community Relations director for Richland Library. In her role, she develops, directs and implements communications strategies to key stakeholders and audiences of Richland Library. Tamara also supervises the Office of Development, which supports the Richland Library Friends and Foundation along with the library volunteer program. Tamara is an award-winning public relations professional with more than two decades of experience in broadcast television, public relations, marketing, strategic communications, media and crisis communication training and program management.

We're proud of our members who have achieved the APR distinction and have been inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows.

Denise Blackburn-Gay, APR, Fellow PRSA
Laura Blank, APR
Anne M. Booker, APR
William Lee Bussell, APR
Mary Anne Byrd, APR
Amy T. Coward, APR, Fellow PRSA
Ted Creech, APR
Joan Damico, APR
Kelly J. Davis, APR, Fellow PRSA
Lois Lovelace Duke, APR
Ashley M. Dusenbury, APR
Mary E. Eaddy, APR, Fellow PRSA
Angela Parker English, APR
Adrienne R. Fairwell, APR
Thomas E. Gardo, APR
Sarah George-Moniz, APR
Keela Glover, APR
Jo A. Halmes, APR
Alice Grey Harrison, APR
Sharmin Barnes Hill, APR
Julie J. Horton, APR
George L. Johnson, APR, Fellow PRSA
Shawn McGee Kahle, APR
Kimberly Ann Keelor, APR
Jacqueline Keisler, APR
Tamara M. King, APR
Adrienne Beth Lee, APR
Annie S. Mitchell, APR
Padgett Singleton Mozingo, APR
Kristine E. Neal, APR
Tonita R. Perry, APR
Keith Pierce, APR
Karen Potter, APR
Marcia Purday, APR
Robert L. Reeves, APR
Libby Roerig, APR
Leonard M. Schodowski, APR, Fellow PRSA
Andrea Simrell, APR
Elizabeth J. Thomason, APR
Brett Allen Turner, APR
Erin Smith Watson, APR
Kim Wellman, APR
Jennifer Lynne Williams, APR
athleen Burke Williams, APR