I’ve been critical about the CIPR Chartered Practitioner accreditation in the past but after a debate with colleagues on the CIPR Council I decided to put myself through the qualification process, and report on my progress via my blog.
The Chartered qualification
According to the CIPR, Chartered Practitioners are experienced, active members of the PR profession who have the breadth and depth of experience to consult at the highest levels within organisations; practitioners that are passionate advocates, advancing the profession through their expertise, learning and conduct.
In my view Chartered status and Continual Professional Development (CPD) are the best opportunity that the public relations industry in the UK has of shifting from a craft to a profession as measured by other occupations.
To apply you need to be signed up to the CIPR CPD scheme and have worked in a public relations or communications role for at least ten years. Anyone with a CIPR recognised qualification can cut the process by a year to two.
The Chartered qualification is in three parts. There is an initial questionnaire probing qualifications, career history and experience; a formal paper on a topic related to the industry; and then a board interview. Applications and assessments can be made at any point in the year and you need to pass each stage before moving on to the next.
My progress is summarised in the blog posts below.
My personal experience
Public relations as a profession: applying for Chartered accreditation - There is little that separates public relations practitioners from car salesmen and women, estate agents, journalists or lap dancers. Could the CIPR Chartered qualification help improved the reputation of the industry and help it take its place at the boardroom table?
Stage 1: CIPR Chartered Practitioner - Stage one requires you to complete a form about your career and experience. An admission to kick-off: I assumed at the outset of this process that it would be straightforward. I wasn’t cocky you understand but I did expect to complete the first stage in an evening. It took at least a day, nearer two by the time I’d reworked sections.
Stage 2: CIPR Chartered Practitioner - Stage two of the qualification is a 3,000 to 4,000 word paper. The paper “must be an original piece of work and should demonstrate the attributes defined as essential to Chartered Practitioner status.” I’m going back to basics and exploring whether Grunig’s Excellence Model and Four Models of Public Relations remain relevant in an era of networked communication.
Stage 2: Chartered Practitioner: the Grunig paper - In researching and writing my paper I’ve gone back to basics and am exploring whether Grunig’s Four Models of Public Relations and the Excellence Theory remain relevant in an era of digital networked communication. I reckon that I’ve spent 60 hours on the project so far and I probably have another 10 hours or so to go. I’m beginning to wish I’d picked something that was more closely aligned to my day-to-day work.
Stage 3: the interview and achieving chartered status
Achieving Chartered Practitioner accreditation has been challenging. It sets a high benchmark and is comparable to the requirement placed on Chartered status in other professions such as accounting and marketing. If you believe as I do that the public relations industry needs to make the shift from a craft to a profession then you should sign up to Continuous Professional Development (CPD) via the CIPR and start your own journey to Chartered Practitioner.