APR – Accreditation in Public Relations

The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential is a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice, and who are selected on the basis of broad knowledge, strategic perspective, experience, and sound professional judgment.

Accreditation elevates the stature of the profession, public relations societies and individual APRs. As employers demand more strategic, sophisticated communications counsel from their public relations staff, there is growing reliance on professional certification as a hiring and promotion criterion, both in the U.S. and abroad.

For information on accreditation, contact PRSA Hawaii Accreditation Co-Chair Kristen Bonilla, APR.

Apply For An APR Scholarship Today!

The PRSA Hawaii chapter is pleased to offer APR scholarships to encourage and support qualified public relations professionals in Hawaii to pursue the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential by providing financial assistance and resources.

Up to four scholarships of $500 each will be awarded annually to help recipients cover the expenses associated with the APR certification process.

The deadline to submit applications for the 2018 PRSA Hawaii APR Scholarship is Friday, August 31, 2018. Qualifying applications will be approved and scholarships awarded on a first come, first-served basis.

For more information or to apply for the 2018 PRSA Hawaii APR Scholarship, please click here.

Current PRSA Hawaii Members

  • Jennifer Armstrong, APR
  • Kristen Bonilla, APR
  • Jocelyn Collado, APR
  • Janet Crawford, APR
  • Duke Gonzales, APR
  • Krista L. Groothuis, APR
  • Amy Hennessey, APR
  • Nathan Hokama, APR
  • Linda Howe, APR
  • Catherine Howland, APR
  • Liane Hu, APR
  • Ralph Kam, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • Phyllis Kanekuni, APR
  • Stafford Kiguchi, APR
  • William Matthew Knight, APR+M
  • Shawn Nakamoto, APR
  • David Pettinger, APR
  • Mele Pochereva, APR
  • Franklin Santana, APR
  • Mark Santoki, APR
  • Donda Spiker, APR
  • Sanae Tokumura, APR
  • Louis Torraca, APR
  • Melissa Torres-Laing, APR
  • Luly Unemori, APR
  • Theresa van Greunen, APR
  • Ronald Weinberg, APR
  • Christina Yumul, APR

The APR challenged me to prioritize my time and truly acknowledge my goals as a sole practitioner. The focus and dedication I put into studying revealed a deeper commitment to my profession.

Jennifer Armstrong, APROwner & Principal, Kaia Consulting

I wanted to keep evolving, be better and held to higher standards, not just for myself, but also for my clients, coworkers, industry colleagues and as a mentor for future PR practitioners.

Christina Yumul, APRFounder & CEO, Storieology Communications

I can attest to the value the APR credential provides and encourage others in our field to apply and take advantage of the excellent support network PRSA Hawaii offers, which includes APR members in the islands and across the country.

David Pettinger, APRVice President, Anthology Research

When I took the exam, I was the sole PR manager on a corporate marketing team. In the absence of direct, ongoing feedback from an experienced, senior-level PR professional, I really wanted a way to assess how I was doing in my own personal development.

Luly Unemori, APRPresident, Pono Communications

Current Active APRs in Hawaii

  • 25 on Oahu
  • 3 on Neighbor Islands

Five new APR recipients were honored at the 34th Annual Koa Anvil Awards in 2017

FAQ ABOUT Accreditation in Public Relations

What is the APR scholarship?

The PRSA Hawaii APR scholarship program was established to encourage and support qualified public relations professionals in Hawaii to pursue the APR credential by providing financial assistance and resources. The APR is the only certification for public relations practitioners and recognizes significant knowledge, skills, and abilities in the practice of public relations.

Up to four scholarships of $500 each will be awarded annually to help recipients cover the expenses associated with the APR certification process. Disbursement is made in two increments:

  1. A check for $250 upon the chapter’s approval of the recipient’s scholarship application. This covers the majority of the $385 cost of the APR application to PRSA National.
  2. A check for $250 upon the chapter’s receipt of the notice from PRSA National that the scholarship recipient has passed the APR exam.

The recipient will also receive a $110 rebate from PRSA National upon completion of the APR exam.

The deadline to submit applications for the 2017 PRSA Hawaii APR Scholarship is Monday, July 31, 2017. Qualifying applications will be approved and scholarships awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.


Recipients of the PRSA Hawaii APR Scholarship must:

  • Be Hawaii chapter members;
  • Be personally responsible for covering all fees associated with the APR process (APR candidates whose employer is covering any expenses are ineligible for the scholarship);
  • Meet all requirements of the PRSA National APR Application;
  • Complete the exam process within one year of the application deadline; for 2017 scholarship recipients, the deadline for completion of the exam would be June 2, 2018.
  • Commit to serve in a volunteer capacity for PRSA Hawaii for a minimum of one year; and
  • Complete and submit this form to the contact person listed below by the application deadline; the deadline for 2017 is July 31, 2017.

Scholarship recipients who do not meet or maintain the above requirements, or who choose not to continue pursuing the credential for any reason will be required to reimburse the chapter for any amounts previously paid If the scholarship recipient is unable to complete the APR computer-based examination during the eligibility period, the scholarship recipient will be responsible for any deadline extension costs required by UAB. Reimbursement will not be required or expected if the recipient takes the APR exam and does not pass.

Complete the PRSA Hawaii 2017 APR Scholarship Application and submit it to PRSA Hawaii Accreditation Co-Chair David Pettinger, APR.

What are the eligibility requirements for the APR?

To apply for accreditation, which is voluntary, a candidate must be a member of PRSA. It is recommended that the candidate also have at least five years of paid, full-time experience in the professional practice of Public Relations, or in the teaching or administration of Public Relations courses at an accredited college or university.

What is the examination like?

Candidates must make a 1-2 hour presentation during a Panel Presentation session with three accredited Public Relations professionals. As of March 1, 2017, Panel Presentation sessions will be held twice annually, on a Saturday. The next session will take place in the fall.

Candidates who successfully pass the session are notified within a month that they can then proceed taking an online, multiple choice exam. The results are shared with the candidate within a few weeks after taking the exam.

After I get my APR, what is required of me?

Every three years, professionals accredited after January 1, 1993 must accumulate the required number of points in continuing education, professionalism or service categories to maintain their accreditation. This further strengthens the value of the credential and keeps APRs actively involved in the currents of the profession.

For more information, check out the PRSA National APR Resource page.

What are the benefits for PRSA Hawaii APR members?

PRSA Hawaii members who have earned the APR credential are eligible for special discounted rates for monthly professional development programs, awards entry fees, and other events and activities. Watch for event announcements to get specific details.