I was one of nine recent graduates of New Jersey college/university public relations education programs to earn the new Certificate in Principles of Public Relations offered through the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) and administered by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in November of 2014.
The initiative, launched in 2014, challenges PRSSA members in their senior year (six months before or after graduation) to take an exam on the basic principles of public relations. The Certificate program is currently offered at 14 colleges and universities across the country and that number is growing fast as PRSSA members spread the word.
Making the choice to take the Certificate exam was simple for me. I am an overachiever and I wanted to stand out from the crowd. Most recent college graduates and new professionals are not thinking about taking the APR exam. The Certificate, however, is a clear stepping stone on the way to eventually earning my APR in five years.
Before I arrived at Seton Hall University I served in the Army and this is where I learned that one must always be a step ahead of everyone else. So when the opportunity to attend Certificate preparation classes and take the exam was presented, I knew three things:
- The Certificate would help me extend my knowledge of public relations.
- The Certificate would set me apart from most applicants in the field and, in particular, recent graduates.
- The Certificate would bring me one step closer to my career goals.
All of my career goals are on track because I took this extra step to differentiate myself. Since earning the Certificate, I worked at a public relations and public affairs agency as an assistant account executive and am now moving up to a new position as a digital content specialist at a high-profile law firm. I am also an active member of PRSA Houston and am serving as co-chair for the New Professionals Section.
If you are unsure about taking the exam for the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations, I want you to know it’s a no brainer. With the Certificate, you will gain a deeper knowledge of public relations and speed up progress toward your career goals. Taking this exam and earning the Certificate is one of the reasons I can say that I truly love what I do. Public relations is a career with endless possibilities. It all starts with you going the extra mile.
Ellie Colon is a digital content specialist for RSL Funding, LLC. She earned her Certificate in Principles of Public Relations in 2014 after graduating from Seton Hall University with a degree in public relations. She is currently a member of PRSA’s Houston Chapter where she chairs the New Professionals. Follow her on Twitter @Elliecolon2.