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Recent Graduates Earn Certificates of Public Relations


JONESBORO – A pair of recent graduates became the first students from Arkansas State University to pass the examination to earn certificates in principles of public relations from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

Sarah Thompson of Greenbrier and Jenni Hannah of Jonesboro successfully completed the process for A-State that is one of only 26 participating academic institutions nationwide. Both Thompson and Hannah earned degrees in May 2017.

The certificate in principles of public relations is an entry-level certificate designed to demonstrate a fundamental level of knowledge for graduates entering the public relations profession and related fields.

"This credential validates the drive and professionalism of these students, who are willing to take the additional time and effort to engage in this rigorous course of study, setting them apart from their peers and positioning them as future leaders in the competitive public relations field," said Dr. Holly Hall, associate professor strategic communication.

Students who earn the certificate can enhance their resumes by providing an advantage to secure a desired position. The certificate is earned in four steps, including reviewing the application, working with a faculty coordinator to certify eligibility, attend a certificate preparatory course or complete the course online, and study for and complete the computer-based examination.

Those participating in the exam are tested in the history of and current issues in public relations; business literacy; ethics and law; communication models and theories; researching, planning, implementing and evaluating programs; crisis communication management; using information technology efficiently; and media relations.

Each section is broken into percentages, with 25 percent of the grading applied to researching, planning, implementing and evaluating programs.

“Both Sarah and Jenni are working in the public relations field and were successfully able to navigate the transition from college to the industry.  I expect great things from both of them in the future,” added Hall.

PRSA is the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community with more than 30,000 members comprised of communications professionals. More than 11,000 students and advisers are involved with the student organization Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) for students interested in public relations and communications.

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