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Top 11 Public Relations Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best certifications available for public relations assistants looking to further their career.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for a public relations assistant in the job market because they help demonstrate that an individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the role. They also show employers that an individual is committed to their profession and has taken initiative to further their education. Certifications can give an applicant an edge over other candidates who lack them, as they demonstrate a level of expertise and understanding of the field. Additionally, certifications can open up opportunities for advancement and increased responsibility within a particular organization.

This article aims to review the top certifications for Public Relations Assistants and discuss how they can benefit their career.

What are Public Relations Assistant Certifications?

Public relations assistant certification is an online program designed to help individuals learn the skills needed to become a successful public relations assistant. This certification program provides students with the knowledge and tools required to work in the field of public relations, such as communication strategies, media relations, writing press releases, event planning, and social media management. It also covers topics such as crisis communication and how to handle difficult situations.

The program can help those interested in pursuing a career in this field by giving them the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in their job. By learning how to effectively communicate with clients, build relationships with media contacts, create press releases and other materials for mass distribution, plan events that will attract attention from the public, and manage social media accounts properly, they will be able to perform their job duties more efficiently and effectively. Additionally, they will gain insight into how to handle difficult situations that may arise while working in public relations. With this knowledge they can make informed decisions on behalf of their clients or organization when faced with challenging circumstances.

Overall, becoming certified as a public relations assistant can provide individuals with an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs in this field. It is also beneficial for current professionals who are looking to advance in their careers or expand their knowledge base. Having a certificate can demonstrate that an individual has the necessary skills needed for success in the industry and increase their chances of getting hired or promoted.

Pro Tip: Consider earning a professional certification in public relations to demonstrate your knowledge and commitment to the profession. Certifications are offered through organizations such as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and provide an opportunity to gain recognition from employers and peers in the industry.

Related: What does a Public Relations Assistant do?

Top 11 Public Relations Assistant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Public Relations Assistants today.

1. Certified Public Relations Professional (CPRP)

Certified Public Relations Professional (CPRP) is a professional certification program offered by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management. It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skills and experience in public relations. The certification is awarded to those who pass the CPRP exam, which covers topics such as communication planning, media relations, crisis communications, organizational communication and public affairs.

The CPRP certification typically takes about one year to complete. To become certified, applicants must first submit an application form and provide proof of their relevant work experience in the field of public relations. They must then pass the CPRP exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions covering various aspects of public relations practice. Once they have passed the exam, applicants will receive their certification from the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management.

The cost for obtaining the CPRP certification varies depending on the country in which you are applying from. In some countries there may be additional fees associated with taking the exam or other requirements that need to be met before being eligible to take it. Generally speaking, however, it can cost anywhere from $500-$1,000 USD to obtain this certification.

2. Certified Public Relations Specialist (CPRS)

Certified Public Relations Specialist (CPRS) is a professional certification program developed by the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS). It is designed to recognize and reward public relations practitioners who demonstrate a high level of professional competence and ethical standards in their practice. The CPRS certification program provides an opportunity for public relations professionals to demonstrate their commitment to excellence and to gain recognition from peers, employers, and clients.

The certification process involves an extensive application process that includes providing evidence of experience, education, and knowledge of the profession. Applicants must also complete a written examination that covers topics such as strategic communication planning, media relations, crisis management, research methods, legal issues, ethics, and more.

It takes approximately 6-12 months to complete the entire certification process depending on the individual's experience. Applicants must have at least three years of professional public relations experience in order to be eligible for certification.

The cost of becoming certified varies depending on the country you are applying from but typically ranges between $400-$600 USD. This fee covers the cost of registration materials and examination fees.

3. Accredited Public Relations Practitioner (APRP)

Accredited Public Relations Practitioner (APRP) is a professional certification offered by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). It is designed to recognize public relations professionals who have achieved a high level of expertise and experience in the field. The APRP certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in areas such as strategic communication planning, media relations, crisis management, and digital communication.

It typically takes about 6-12 months to complete the requirements for the APRP certification. The process involves completing an application form, providing references from current or former employers or clients, submitting a portfolio of your work, taking an exam that covers topics related to public relations practice and ethics, and attending a PRSA-sponsored workshop or webinar.

The cost of obtaining the APRP certification varies depending on whether you are a member of PRSA or not. For non-members, the cost is $600; for members it is $400. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with attending workshops or webinars related to public relations practice and ethics.

4. International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Certificate in Public Relations

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Certificate in Public Relations is a professional certification program designed to recognize excellence in public relations and communication management. The program consists of three levels: the Foundation Certificate, the Advanced Certificate, and the Professional Certificate.

The Foundation Certificate is intended for those who are new to public relations or are looking to build on their current knowledge. It requires successful completion of four core courses: Introduction to Public Relations, Strategic Communications Planning, Writing for Public Relations, and Media Relations. This certificate can be completed in as little as 6-8 months with an average cost of $2,000-$3,000 USD.

The Advanced Certificate is designed for experienced professionals who want to develop their skills further and gain recognition as a specialist in public relations and communication management. It requires successful completion of five core courses: Crisis Communications Management, Social Media Strategies & Tactics, Research & Measurement Strategies, Issues Management & Advocacy Strategies, and Financial & Investor Relations. This certificate can be completed in 12-18 months with an average cost of $3,500-$5,000 USD.

The Professional Certificate is intended for senior professionals who want to demonstrate mastery of the field of public relations and communication management. It requires successful completion of six core courses: Reputation Management & Branding Strategies; Digital Communications; Leadership & Change Management; Global Communication Strategies; Creative Thinking & Innovation; and Negotiation Skills for PR Professionals. This certificate can be completed in 18-24 months with an average cost of $4,500-$7,000 USD.

In order to receive any level of IABC's Certificate in Public Relations one must complete all required coursework within two years from the date they begin the program and pass a final exam at the end of each course with a score at least 70%. Upon successful completion all participants will receive an official IABC certificate that recognizes their achievement.

5. Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Diploma in Public Relations

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Diploma in Public Relations is a professional qualification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the principles and practice of public relations. It is designed for those who are already working in the PR industry, or for those who are looking to enter the profession.

The CIPR Diploma consists of four modules: Principles and Practice of Public Relations; Planning and Strategy; Media Relations; and Digital Communications. Each module is assessed through a written assignment, with students required to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter covered. The diploma takes approximately one year to complete, although this can vary depending on individual circumstances.

In order to be eligible for the CIPR Diploma, applicants must hold a minimum Level 3 qualification in a relevant subject, such as marketing or communication studies, or have at least two years' experience in a public relations role.

The cost of the CIPR Diploma varies depending on whether you choose to study full-time or part-time. Full-time study costs £1,800 plus VAT, while part-time study costs £1,500 plus VAT. There may also be additional costs associated with completing the course, such as travel expenses and textbooks.

6. Certified Professional in Public Relations (CPPR)

Certified Professional in Public Relations (CPPR) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and expertise in the field of public relations. The CPPR designation is administered by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

The CPPR program requires applicants to demonstrate mastery of the core competencies that are essential for success in public relations. These core competencies include strategic communications planning, media relations, crisis communications, and digital/social media. To become certified, applicants must pass an examination that tests their knowledge and understanding of these areas.

The CPPR program takes approximately two years to complete. The first step is to apply for the program by submitting an application form and paying the applicable fee. Once accepted into the program, applicants must complete a series of courses offered by PRSA or approved providers. Upon completion of all coursework, applicants must pass a comprehensive exam before being awarded the CPPR designation.

The cost of becoming certified varies depending on which courses are taken and how long it takes to complete them. Generally speaking, applicants can expect to pay between $3,000 and $5,000 for tuition and related costs associated with completing the CPPR program.

7. Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (GA-PRCM) Certification

The Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (GA-PRCM) Certification is an international certification program developed by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management. The certification is designed to help public relations and communication professionals demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of public relations and communication management.

The GA-PRCM Certification consists of three levels: Associate, Professional, and Master. Each level requires a different set of qualifications, such as educational background, experience in the field, and professional development activities. To obtain the certification at each level, applicants must pass a written exam that covers topics such as public relations strategies, communications planning, media relations, crisis management, social media management, research techniques, analytics tools, etc.

It typically takes around 6 months to complete all three levels of the GA-PRCM Certification program. To get started with the program applicants must register with the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management website. After registration is complete applicants can begin studying for the exams at their own pace using resources provided by the Global Alliance or other study materials available online.

The cost of obtaining the GA-PRCM Certification varies depending on which level you are seeking certification for. The fees range from $200-$600 USD per level plus any additional fees associated with taking the exams such as proctoring fees or travel expenses if necessary.

8. National School of PR Certificate in Strategic Communication

The National School of PR Certificate in Strategic Communication is a professional certificate program designed to help students develop the skills necessary for successful public relations campaigns. The program provides an overview of the fundamentals of strategic communication, including media relations, crisis communication, and digital communications. It also covers topics such as research methods, message development, and campaign planning.

The program consists of four courses that can be completed in four months or less. Courses are offered online and include lectures, readings, case studies and assignments. Students must pass each course with a minimum grade of 70% to receive the certificate.

To get the National School of PR Certificate in Strategic Communication, students must first register for the program through the school's website. The cost for the program is $1,495 USD. After registering for the program, students will receive access to all course materials and will be able to begin working on their courses right away. Upon completion of all four courses, students will receive their certificate in Strategic Communication from the National School of PR.

9. Society for New Communications Research Certificate in Digital and Social Media

The Society for New Communications Research Certificate in Digital and Social Media is a comprehensive online training program designed to equip professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the digital and social media landscape. The program consists of four courses that cover topics such as digital marketing, content creation, analytics, and more. It takes approximately six months to complete the program.

To get the certificate, students must complete all four courses and pass an exam at the end of each course. Each course costs $295 USD, so the total cost of the program is $1180 USD. Upon completion of all four courses, students will receive their certificate from the Society for New Communications Research.

10. Certified Crisis Manager (CCM)

Certified Crisis Manager (CCM) is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and expertise in crisis management. It is designed to help organizations prepare for, respond to, and recover from crises. The CCM certification program is offered by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).

The CCM certification program consists of two parts: a written exam and an online course. To become certified, applicants must pass the written exam with a score of 70% or higher. The exam covers topics such as emergency management principles, crisis communication, risk assessment and mitigation strategies, incident command systems, and disaster recovery.

The online course consists of eight modules that cover topics such as organizational resilience, crisis response planning, media relations during a crisis, and post-crisis evaluation. The course takes approximately 20 hours to complete.

To get the CCM certification, applicants must submit an application form along with proof of completion of the written exam and online course. The cost for the CCM certification is $300 USD plus applicable taxes.

11. Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE)

Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) is an international certification program for fundraising professionals. The CFRE credential is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and commitment necessary to practice ethical and effective fundraising. The CFRE program is administered by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), an international organization dedicated to advancing philanthropy through education, training, research, advocacy, and certification.

To obtain the CFRE credential, individuals must have a minimum of five years of professional fundraising experience and demonstrate their knowledge of current best practices in fundraising by passing a comprehensive exam. The exam covers topics such as donor relations and stewardship; resource development planning; legal aspects of fundraising; financial management; marketing and public relations; volunteer management; and ethics.

The CFRE process typically takes three to six months to complete. To begin the process, applicants must submit an application form along with a fee that varies depending on whether or not they are members of AFP. After submitting the application form, applicants will receive instructions on how to register for the exam online. Once registered for the exam, applicants must wait up to four weeks before receiving their admission ticket from Pearson VUE which will allow them to take the exam at a testing center near them.

The cost for taking the CFRE exam is $350 for AFP members and $450 for non-members. Applicants may also choose to purchase additional study materials from AFP at an additional cost if desired.

Do You Really Need a Public Relations Assistant Certificate?

The short answer to this question is no. A Public Relations Assistant Certificate is not a requirement for this role, and it is not necessary in order to be successful in the position. However, having a certificate can certainly increase your chances of success and help you stand out from other applicants.

A certificate program in public relations provides the student with an understanding of the key principles and techniques involved in public relations work, such as media relations, crisis communication, reputation management, social media strategy, and message development. These skills are essential for any public relations assistant role. Having a certificate demonstrates that you have taken the time to learn these skills and have the knowledge needed to effectively carry out the job duties of a public relations assistant. It also shows potential employers that you are committed to learning more about the profession and are serious about making a career in public relations.

In addition to being beneficial when applying for jobs, having a certificate can also open up opportunities for advancement within an organization or even provide access to higher-level positions. With experience and further education, those with a Public Relations Assistant Certificate can eventually become managers or even directors of public relations departments.

Overall, while having a Public Relations Assistant Certificate is not necessary in order to be successful in this role, it can certainly help increase your chances of success by demonstrating your commitment to learning more about the profession and providing evidence that you have acquired key skills related to the job duties of a public relations assistant.

Related: Public Relations Assistant Resume Examples

FAQs About Public Relations Assistant Certifications

Q1. What qualifications do I need to become a Public Relations Assistant?

A1. Generally, you will need a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in public relations, communications, or a related field. Some employers may also require experience in the field or industry-specific certifications.

Q2. What type of job duties can I expect as a Public Relations Assistant?

A2. As a Public Relations Assistant, you may be responsible for managing press releases, developing promotional materials, organizing events and campaigns, maintaining media relationships, conducting research and analysis, and providing administrative support for the PR department.

Q3. How long does it take to become certified as a Public Relations Assistant?

A3. The amount of time it takes to become certified varies depending on the specific certification program you choose to pursue. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from 6 months up to 2 years to complete the necessary coursework and exams required for certification.

Q4. Are there any continuing education requirements for Public Relations Assistants?

A4. Yes, many professional certifications require that you maintain your certification by taking continuing education courses or attending conferences and seminars related to public relations and communications topics every few years in order to remain certified.

Q5. Is there an exam I must pass in order to become certified as a Public Relations Assistant?

A5. Yes, most professional certifications require that you pass an exam administered by the specific organization providing the certification program in order to receive your certificate of completion or designation as a certified Public Relations Assistant