Every time I go to a hotel, there is some sort of conference – whether law, cosmetology, dental, etc. And from what I have observed, the purpose for these conferences are not only to gain new knowledge about the field, but to keep credentials and licensing. You can not get a hair cut unless the stylist has their certificate taped on their mirror and you surely can’t go get a root canal without seeing the dentists’ licensing hanging on the lobby wall.
So why should this be any different for PR professionals?
Edward Bernays, known as the father of Public Relations, tried to make it mandatory for all PR professionals to be licensed – and I agree. Now I know that no ‘big-name’ company is going to hire a PR professional without making sure that is what they went to school for, but who is to say they actually learned or attended class when they were in school? Licensing for PR would guarantee that the person who passed the test knows what they are doing.
Today’s modern PR is mostly about social media, paper work, phone calls, emails, and meetings with clients, so honestly, anyone with a great work ethic and social skills could figure out the job and be successful at it – but then that takes away from the people who actually go to school and learn about it. Requiring licensing would erase all of the “unfairness” in the hiring process.
Licensing would affect more than just PR professionals themselves – it would affect society because the PR professionals would actually know what they are doing and could do what businesses and people needed them to do, accurately.
So not only did Edward Bernays want Public Relations to be licensed, but I, along with many other PR students and professionals, want it to be licensed as well.