Spotlight on APR Accreditation
Thursday, March 8, 2018
Bio: Emily D. Schneider, APR
Emily Schneider is Director of Media & Communications at the ASPCA where she oversees media strategy for various anti-cruelty initiatives and integrated communication campaigns. Emily regularly utilizes both traditional and social media tactics to elevate PR plans and generate exposure and awareness on animal cruelty issues via traditional media, key influencers, and celebrities. Emily’s work has been featured in top-tier media outlets, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Associated Press, Reuters, NBC Nightly News, TODAY Show, FOX News, among others. Prior to joining the ASPCA, Emily worked at Rubenstein Communications where she managed various projects for consumer and lifestyle accounts, including managing a national fundraising program called BMW Ultimate Drive, a partnership with BMW and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which supports to help fight the battle against breast cancer.
A graduate of New York University, Emily has a B.F.A in Theatre and English at Tisch School of the Arts. She also completed a Certificate in Public Relations Program at NYU School of Continuing & Professional Studies and earned her Accreditation in Public Relations from the Universal Accreditation Board. Born and raised in Hawaii, Emily currently resides in New Jersey with her family.
Spotlight on APR Accreditation: 5 Questions with Emily D. Schneider, APR
1. Why is APR accreditation so important?
I believe pursuing the APR program will elevate your capabilities as a PR practitioner, challenge you to think strategically, and distinguish you from others in the industry. The APR designation shows that you’ve gone a step further to hone your craft and it’s a personal mark of achievement that will give you confidence and add a level of credibility in the PR profession.
2. What level of experience is the APR program open to?
Those eligible for the program must be members of UAB Participating Organizations (Universal Accreditation Board) such as PRSA, who are PR practitioners, or teaching PR courses in an accredited college or university. It’s recommended that candidates have at least five years of experience and have earned either a bachelor's degree in communications or have equivalent work experience. For students or recent graduates looking to gain an edge as they apply for PR jobs, PRSA offers a Certificate in Principles of Public Relations program. Potential candidates should visit http://www.prsany.org/page/APR to determine which program is best suited for them.
3. How and where does one register and take the exam, and what is the cost?
There are four steps in the Accreditation process, so I recommend interested candidates visit the main page to learn about each step before moving forward as it’s a year-long process to complete the program. Once you pass the panel presentation, you will receive a notice with specific instructions to take the computer-based exam. The exam fee is $385 and you choose the test date and location that’s convenient for you via Prometric.
4. How should interested APR candidates prepare for the exam?
I highly recommend candidates take advantage of the resources and study materials recommended by PRSA on its website. I also found the practice tests available via online study course very helpful as they gave me insight as to how the questions were going to be framed in the exam. Don’t be afraid to ask your mentor or APR Chair for guidance as they could provide great tips and connect you with others to create a study group.
5. What are the three things you’d recommend APR candidates do to increase their chance of passing the exam?
Here are my tips: practice for your panel presentation; hit the books and study; and most importantly, pace yourself. There are four steps in earning your accreditation, so start early and don’t procrastinate to schedule your panel presentation or study for the exam. Take the time to practice your presentation out loud, and anticipate the type of questions the panelists will ask. This is your moment to shine—and the panelists want you to succeed—so be proud of your work and share your learning with others. As I mentioned earlier, read the recommended textbooks, especially Cutlip and Center's Effective Public Relations, and refer to the APR Study Guide to help you prepare for the exam. Lastly, pace yourself and build in time to study after you pass the panel presentation. For me, the exam proved to be the most challenging part of the process. Take my advice and move forward at a steady pace. At the end of the one-year process, you will pat yourself on the back for mastering strategic communication practices, demonstrating your commitment to lifelong learning, and raising the bar in the PR profession. Pursuing the APR program is a rewarding and gratifying experience, and I wish you the best of luck!