What I learned at the PRSA Detroit Accreditation Prep Session

By: Megan Peterson


On March 11, 2016, PRSA Detroit conducted an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) prep session at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library South Branch. The session gave an overview of the APR process and the various topics that those pursuing APR should be knowledgeable in. Here’s what I learned about the process:

  • A fairly straight-forward application and cost… Either a one-time $385 payment (which waves a $25 application fee), or two payments of $205 (includes the $25 application fee).
  • Readiness Review Questionnaire includes sixteen questions that are extensive about your current role and organization, your experience and your assessment of your readiness for the computer-based examination. If accepted, you’ll be notified by PRSA National.
  • Readiness Review is a presentation that you’ll assemble based on a campaign that you either led or had heavy role in. The following components will guide your presentation: mission statement, situation analysis, problem statement, goal(s), publics, objectives, strategies, tactics/tools, activities, evaluation, materials, budget and timetable. A panel of three Detrot-area APR pros will be your audience and they will determine if you “advance” or “do not advance” to move on to the test. (No worries you can retry again in 90 days if you “do not advance.”)
  • Multiple Choice Test – a 3.75 hour test (with an optional break of 10-15 minutes) at a Prometric Testing facility. This encompasses 177 total questions that are largely scenario-based, of which 147 will be graded. You must get a 67% to pass. Below is a visual representation of the test content breakdown.

APR blog graphic

You must complete the readiness review and the computer exam within one year of submitting your application otherwise you’ll have to start over and pay again.

Many thanks to the various speakers throughout the session:

  • Law – Brian Wassom, Honigman Law
  • Theories – Lolita Carson-Cummings, Eastern Michigan University
  • Crisis Communications/Media Relations/Social Media – Jamie Ward, Eastern Michigan University
  • Research – Linda Hagan, APR, Walsh College
  • Ethics – Shelly Najor, Wayne State University
  • Programming – Melanie Davis, APR AdCraft Detroit

Find more information about APR through Detroit PRSA on the Web: http://www.prsadetroit.org/accreditation/. Be sure to start studying the moment you want to pursue accreditation.  PRSA offers a free study guide and there are many other books you can check out too. PRSA Detroit can also pair you with a APR mentor if you’d like!

I truly enjoyed participating in this prep session and would recommend anyone interested in taking their PR career to the next level to check it out and consider getting accredited.


Megan Peterson is a Communications Executive at MCCI (Mort Crim Communications, Inc.), a Detroit Economic Club Young Leader member, a national/Detroit chapter member of PRSA and a PR volunteer for The Lake House in St. Clair Shores