The 7 Myths of Accreditation
Quick Read

By Elyse Hammett, APR

Title get your attention, eh? If your answer is, “yep,” then good. You see, more often than not, we hear these myths bandied about as reasons for why some of our public relations colleagues choose not to pursue Accreditation, repeated without any basis in fact. I want to share these seven myths that my PR friends have often been persuaded to believe and, most importantly, explain WHY they are not true.

Myth #1: It takes a full year out of your life.

No; it becomes your life. The practices, processes and communications architecture that you learn in the APR journey change your professional aptitude forever. Who cares if it takes a year to get it done, when it makes you a better communicator for the rest of your life.

Myth #2: The failure rate is higher than the success rate.

That’s not true either. It is true that a little over 30% have to take one or the other sections twice (I did the panel presentation twice), but these statistics are indices as if it was a competition. The APR is not a competition. It is a personal journey for your betterment.

Myth #3: You can’t do it alone.

Well, that depends on your learning style. My colleague on the APR Marketing Committee, @HeatherHuften, did it in two months, alone, in Texas, during COVID. OK — maybe she’s a superstar, but she is proof of one way. I did it with a study group of four, and it took me 11 months.

Myth #4. No one acknowledges what the APR is, so why bother?

Listen, when you truly command this knowledge…really learn these tenets…really use them every single day…everyone will want what you’ve got. When I owned my Atlanta marketing communications firm, we sold new business based on the APR practices and programs. It sold like hotcakes, because we were backed by a third-party, PRSA and the Universal Accreditation Board. Your clients will listen when you demonstrate mastery of the topic.

Myth #5: My boss won’t value it.

Yes — your boss WILL. Because the demonstrated mastery will make your boss loyal to you. The APR practices, processes and frameworks make it easier, faster and even financially safer to do because it’s proven. Plus, just like a CPA talks in their language or a cardiologist talks in theirs, the Accreditation principles, when used across an entire marketing communications team increases speed infinitely — increasing the pace and ROI of your work. What boss won’t value that?

Myth #6: No connections to marketing or advertising.

This myth doesn’t hold water. The APR is ubiquitous. It’s a method of thinking and processing complex problems. It applies across all communications challenges. In the 2000s, there was this wonderful megahit romantic comedy, “What Women Want.” In the movie, a marketing firm called Sloane Curtis was pursuing the female business division of Nike. They do it with a deep understanding of the target audience to win the account. Every element of the two-minute scene shows the principles of Accreditation at work. Watch it and then sign up to pursue yours.

Myth #7: There’s no direct line to my personal brand.

It becomes your brand. The value and the values of Accreditation elevate who you are because they demonstrate your knowledge, skills and abilities as the consummate communications professional. There is no greater alignment between you and the company you keep than this credential.

What myths have you heard? Let’s chat!

Elyse Hammett, APR, is an award-winning practitioner who currently serves as the vice-president of marketing and communications for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. The 2017 president of the nation’s second-largest chapter, PRSA Georgia, Elyse is co-chair of the Accreditation Marketing Committee of PRSA’s national board. Connect with her via email; Instagram @elysehammett, LinkedIn @elysehammett or Twitter @elysehammettPR.