What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is the professional registration awarded to public relations and communication management professionals who possess those special qualities that characterise a true professional.  It is the highest level of the PRISA Registration System, based on academic qualifications and experience.

It measures the scope and depth of a candidate’s knowledge as well as his/her professional orientation as a prerequisite for accreditation and ultimate professional recognition.

The new accreditation programme has been brought in line with the internationally recognised APR (Accredited in Public Relations) in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, through mutual recognition agreements promoted by the Global Alliance of Public Relations and Communication Management Associations (GA).

What is the purpose of accreditation?

PRISA’s accreditation certification recognises PR professionals who have demonstrated broad knowledge, experience and professional judgement in the field.  It seeks to improve public relations and communication management practice.  The designation APR signifies a high professional level of experience and competence. This designation is registered and recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Can one become accredited without being a member of PRISA?

No.  Because accreditation is a level of registration within PRISA, it is not possible to take the assessment or use the designation APR without being registered with the industry professional body.

How can accreditation be used?

An individual who is accredited may use the designation APR in conjunction with his or her name.  APR is an acronym for “Accredited in Public Relations”.  This identification can be used only with the name of the member, who is accredited, not with the name of any business or organisation.

Can accreditation be lost or revoked?

Yes.  It can be suspended or revoked upon censure or suspension for violation of PRISA’s Code of Ethics & Professional Standards for the Practice of Public Relations. Accreditation will be revoked automatically upon expulsion of a member.  After a hearing, accreditation may also be suspended or revoked for violation of the rules governing the use of accreditation as set out in the PRISA Code.

Accreditation is also forfeited if the PRISA registration fees are not paid annually.  The APR status cannot be reinstated without repeating the written and oral assessments after a period of three years. To reinstate the APR status prior to the conclusion of the three year period, the outstanding membership fee for the period must be paid.

Who is responsible for the accreditation programme?

An Accreditation Committee of seven to nine individuals will oversee the programme. The PRISA Board will appoint the Accreditation Committee from the registered accredited members (four to six) as well as experts in other recognised professional fields (two) and a recognised academic for the Public Relations and Communication Management field.

Is the accreditation process confidential?

Yes.  The screening processes as well as candidates’ scores are confidential.  Deliberations of the Accreditation Committee involving results are held in closed session.

Who can apply?

A Public Relations practitioner who is eligible for accreditation must have at least 10 years experience in the professional practice of public relations and communication management or in the teaching of this field at an accredited education institution. Candidates must have accrued a minimum of 70 points on the PRISA registration system.  This system assesses a candidate’s academic record as well as work experience. Candidates can test their readiness for accreditation by doing self-assessment of their competencies.  A competency matrix is available on request from the National Office. 

 What does the accreditation process involve?

The purpose of the programme is to test the candidate’s actual knowledge of public relations and communication management on a strategic level as well as the application of strategic knowledge in a practical situation, i.e. his or her working knowledge of the profession. 

The process

STEP 1:  APPLICATION BY POTENTIAL CANDIDATE

Application forms for accreditation can be forwarded to the candidate.  The application form together with a detailed CV and initial fee must be forwarded to the accreditation administrator.  The forms are submitted to the Registration Committee and the registration status of the applicant will be determined. The applicant will be notified if the application is successful and will receive the necessary accreditation documentation. If an applicant does not have the required points, career guidance will be given on how to achieve the necessary points. 

STEP 2:    ORIENTATION SESSION

A compulsory orientation session will be held twice a year in February and July to prepare candidates for the accreditation assessment sessions. Candidates will also have a briefing session on the assessment format. During the session, guidance will be given on topics such as corporate governance, strategic communication strategies, the value of public relations and ethics. Orientation sessions will be held in Gauteng unless there are more than five candidates in any other centre.

STEP 3:   VERIFICATION PROCESS AND PORTFOLIO OF EVIDENCE

The verification process will focus on assessing the candidate’s competencies based on the skills matrix and on the portfolio of evidence the candidate will bring with him/her. An interview (if required) will also be held with the manager of the candidate to verify the person’s skills and portfolio where possible, as well as to determine areas of development

STEP 4:  ACCREDITATION COMMITTEE ASSESSMENT

The assessments are divided into two written assessments.

  • Written article

The candidate selects one of two topics as given by the Accreditation Administrator and submits a written document of not more than ten pages – 1,5 spacing, letter size not smaller than 11 point. The candidate must illustrate his/her understanding of the topic, the relevance of the topic to the public relations environment as well as the business environment.

  • Examination based on a case study

This is a five-hour session where candidates will be given a corporate profile and are to compile communication strategies based on the profile.

STEP 5. ORAL ASSESSMENT

If a candidate has successfully completed the written assessments, he/she is invited to an oral assessment within a month. The purpose of the oral assessment is to review the candidate’s professional knowledge and orientation by way of a set of structured questions. The oral assessment tests aspects such as the candidate’s long-term vision and in-depth understanding of the public relations and communication management profession, as well as an ability to think strategically and to interpret the contemporary South African scene and global trends. During the oral assessment, a candidate is expected to demonstrate an awareness of current affairs and their impact on the profession and his/her organisation.  A candidate is expected to comment on his/her own public relations and communication management department or consultancy from an organisational and strategic perspective. Finally, a candidate must demonstrate an understanding of professional ethics and how these affect the profession. The duration of the oral assessment will be between 45 and 60 minutes.

2021 Accreditation Assessment Timeline

 

2021

SESSION 1

SESSION 2

Activity

Date

Date

Orientation session

12 February

Thursday 10:00

1 July

Thursday

10:00

PRISA to send article to candidates

2 April

Friday

20 August

Friday

Candidates -Submission of POE and article

16 April

Friday

 

3 September Friday

PRISA to send company profile to candidates to prepare for written assessment

14 May

Friday

1 October

Friday 

Written assessment

4 June 

Friday

15 October Friday

Oral Assessment

TBC

TBC

 

Please note that no extensions to these deadlines will be granted beyond one year.

Where and when are assessments held?

Currently, we are conducting the entire process online. 

How much does it cost?

2021

The full accreditation fee of R11 700.00 (including 15% VAT) is to be paid in full after your Accreditation application form has been assessed and accepted by the Accreditation Committee.  PRISA will send an invoice immediately. This is inclusive of the orientation session, certification and listing on the PRISA website.

Maintaining the APR designation

 The APR must pay annual PRISA registration fees and obtain a minimum of 100 CPD points over a three year period to retain their APR designation. Failure to comply with either of these conditions will result in the APR designation being revoked.

How does one apply?

A candidate may obtain an application form from:

The Accreditation Administrator

Telephone:      011 326 1262

Email:              louise@prisa.co.za