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July 20, 2009


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Let me be the first to tip my hat to Arthur Yann for a potent defense of the Society. The dude's a pro, and he doesn't play all nicey-nice like so many in social media. Gotta respect that. He's also a Steeler fan, which means we're "brothers" in things that really matter :-)

But Arthur didn't change my mind about value question. I trust PRSA and all professional associations are looking closely at what they bring to their memberships, since so much of what they once offered us is now available elsewhere for free. We'll see.

Not entirely on topic, but given we're discussing PRSA, I'd like the advice of your trustworthy readers. I'm an APR. I took a job a year ago that isn't directly communications, though that's a part of it. I took a hefty pay cut to change fields, and this new employer won't assist with my PRSA dues. I'm about to take on managing a state House race, so that'll put me back in the thick of it. With that scenario, here's my question: Is there really any value in renewing my PRSA membership? I've never had a single potential employer (or existing employer) who placed value on the "APR" behind my name. The local PRSA chapter is comprised of some wonderful people, but when I was looking around for a new job, my networking netted nothing from them (I don't think anyone ever really took "IT communications" seriously; that was my job before I switched to this one).

Is it worth the dues to retain my membership (and thus my APR)? Do you think anyone really cares whether you're accredited?

I'll leave the others to weigh in substantively, but communicator/humorist Dan Danbom once wrote that the only consequence of his IABC accreditation was that occasionally someone in the back of the room at a conference where was speaking would squint at the "ABC" on his name tag and call him "Mr. Abick."

One more question: Why do you have to keep your membership to keep your APR? You passed the test, didn't you? Do you suddenly lose that knowledge when your membership lapses?

As I understand it, unless you remain a member of PRSA and then every three years or so, submit evidence that you're keeping your professional development current (from a list of approved activities), you can lose the accreditation.

Great story about Mr. Abick. I've sure missed you, David.

Perhaps for my next ride: Alaska.

I would LOVE that. I have friends with boats, if you'd like to try your hand at halibut or salmon fishing. While you were gone, we had THREE brown bears wandering through my front yard. You'd love it here, David.

I don't have an APR but I am an ABC and I've asked the same question as, sadly, I've seen the value of my IABC membership dwindle over the years.

The answer to your question about why the designation dies with your membership is simple: It's a marketing ploy, which in itself cheapens both designations.

But Robert, as I understand it, IABC's designation doesn't expire with membership. Am I wrong about that?

As I understand it, it does.

Non-members can retain accreditation in IABC by paying an annual "maintenance fee" of $400.

Yeah, I think that's nonsense. Of course, I think accreditation is largely nonsense too; I've known great communicators who didn't have their ABCs and some real tone-deaf stiffs who did.

In general--and despite the fact that many people (read RJH) who I respect are accredited and sincerely express their respect for the test--I think ABC and APR are a way to demonstrate to hiring managers who take the "Profession" too seriously that you take it too seriously too.

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