Here’s what I answered:
That would be APR, at least in terms of peer perception. A Master’s degree is an academic distinction that doesn’t prove that your knowledge and skills set will transition to real world public relations. To earn your APR, you have to demonstrate considerable professional achievement and competency across a wide range of disciplines.
Now, this doesn’t mean just because you get your APR, you’re going to land a big-time new job or necessarily get a pay raise. (A master’s doesn’t either.) Your proficiency, experience and ability to think creatively will ultimately determine whether or not you succeed in the industry. And, APR is just a better measurement tool for how close you are to meeting that subjective criterion.
As someone who holds a master’s degree I think it was invaluable for distinguishing myself from the competition earlier in my career, but at this point? APR is really the next step.
I think cost should also be considered. While retaining your APR is by no means cheap (mandatory professional development education), what, besides sending a man to the moon costs more than higher education?
Am I wrong?
**Addendum: Gina Luttrell , a professor of public relations at St. Rose, makes a great point. If you want to adjunct, you need a graduate degree. Nevertheless, at that point, an aspiring adjunct could use the accreditation as way to distinguish themselves from the competition. As with any type of credential, how well that works depends on how administration perceives the value of APR.