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Education Vrs Experience: What are the benefits of an in-career PR qualification?

Welcome to the PRmoment Podcast.

Today we’re talking about career learning and professional development in PR. We’re going to chat about the differences between career education and career training. We’ll discuss why PR (in the UK at least) seems to value PR experience over education - and ask whether this is a problem.

We’ll also talk about the available courses for PR and comms professionals that do want to do more to educate themselves about communications theory and practice.

A theme of this podcast is that if you work in PR and communications - an understanding of the different communications theories is probably only going to make you better at your job, so it’s surprising that more people don’t take part in these courses.

To be clear, this is not going to be a podcast suggesting that PR is/isn’t a profession and we won’t try and suggest that to work in PR you must be professionally qualified - frankly, that’s a debate here at PRmoment towers we are less sympathetic with but it’s definitely one for another day!

This podcast is about why more PR people don’t want to educate themselves about the wide body of public relations, communications and marketing academic theory and best practice.

On the show to discuss this are Tasos Theofilou, principal academic in Public Relations at Bournemouth University and Dr Heather Yaxley, Qualified educator/examiner CIPR PR Dip, Public Affairs & Digital Comms Specialist Diplomas.

The topic for this podcast is a bit of a follow-up from a previous podcast we did on “What happened to PR degrees?

Before we start the PRmoment Awards 2023 are now open for entries - do check out the awards site for all the info you need.

Thanks to the PRmoment Podcast sponsors, The PRCA.

Here is a summary of what Heather, Tasos and the PRmoment founder Ben Smith spoke about on the show.

3 mins A discussion about what is the best way to be an outstanding PR and communications professional - through experience or through education?

“Education is like rocket fuel (for your career) it can enhance and accelerate your abilities but it also adds a level - the ability to answer the question why not just what you to.”

“Education gives you a different mindset”

4.30 What is the difference between in-career PR training and in-career PR education?

5.30 mins Why don’t more people take the time in their careers to study PR and comms theory as part of their professional development?

9 mins What types of courses are available for in-career education? A summary of the PRCA, CIPR and other in-career PR education courses that are available.

11 mins An explanation of

  • What is a post-graduate qualification

  • The CIPR/PRCA foundation course

  • The CIPR/PRCA advanced certificate

  • The CIPR/PRCA diplomas

  • The CIPR Chartered qualification

16 mins A discussion of the low numbers of people currently taking a PR in career qualification:

About 350 people took part in the PR advanced certificates and PR diplomas compared to 12,500 people who are “currently studying” CIM qualifications.

“It’s become expected that if you work in marketing you study the CIM qualifications.”

20.30 mins Are the in-career PR education courses currently available any good?

21 mins Why are there so few people taking in-career education courses in PR? Do people not know about them? Do they not have time to study? Are they too expensive? Do they not believe that PR academic theory will help them better at their job?

26 mins How long do these courses take and what do they cost?

27 mins Is there a culture of in-career PR education in Germany or the US?

“In other markets, there is a better understanding that PR experience and education are on the same side”

29 mins How you can purchase in-career learning? You can do it online, you don’t need to enrol in a university.

Further reading:

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