by Don Miles
If you are in the armed forces or work for the military as a civilian or contractor, you are probably eligible for the Accreditation in Public Relations + Military Communication (APR+M) credential. As a military public affairs officer, civilian or contract professional you have or will manage communications during deployed operations overseas, for disaster operations in the US, or in other significant military events. You often work under challenging conditions, which require specialized skills. This credential recognizes your competence within the public relations industry as a whole and an understanding of public affairs activities in joint military operations.
The APR+M credentialing is a joint effort involving the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), Defense Media Activity, and the Public Relations Society of America. An APR+M Advisory Council oversees the program for the UAB and the UAB grants APR+M. You can either add the +M to your current APR or you can go for the APR+M all at once.
The APR+M Examination fee is $385 (same as APR); current APR's pay a $75 fee to pursue the +M. To help pay for this credential, the Department of Veterans Affairs pays the cost of a license or certification test for eligible veterans. Additionally, Navy and Army Credentialing Opportunities On Line programs offer funding and may offer promotion points for accreditation for enlisted members. The APR program has been specifically evaluated to match its testing areas with those tested at the Defense Information School.
Military personnel and Department of Defense civilians are not required to maintain a membership within any UAB participating organizations while they earn, use and maintain their APR+M designation. Defense contractors working in a military public affairs capacity must maintain a membership in a UAB participating organization like PRSA to qualify for APR+M. However, PRSA offers a $110 rebate to members upon completion of the computer-based Examination and Pikes Peak Chapter members are eligible to enroll in a chapter sponsored "boot camp" for APR.