NEW YORK—The Public Relations Society of America board of directors has established a task force to explore certification of public relations professionals. Public relations pioneer Edward Bernays was a strong advocate of certification, believing it would help eliminate “charlatans” from the industry, and Burson-Marsteller founder and chairman Harold Burson used last year’s International Communications Consultancy Organization conference in Delhi to call on the industry to study the issue.
“The issue of certification has been discussed, dissected and debated for years,” says PRSA chair and CEO Rhoda Weiss. “This task force—working in partnership with PRSA accreditation groups… as well as the 150 Chapters, Districts and Professional Interest Sections—will help us determine the next steps in ensuring the highest level of professional accomplishment. The objective is to explore professional credentials that could be validated by an outside certification process.
“Our ultimate goal is to consider a process that offers a competitive marketplace advantage.”
Bob Frause, chair and CEO of The Frause Group, will chair the task force, which will conduct a comprehensive study regarding the feasibility of professional certification for public relations; select areas to be the initial focus of the inquiry and explore how PRSA might establish certification; and explore how PRSA might oversee certification to assure a credible, uniform and highly acceptable approach.