DESPITE a huge push over the past couple of years, the CIPR’s Chartered PR Practitioner status for senior practitioners has failed to reach more than around 50 people. It’s something that has failed to excite those in the business world in senior corporate communication roles. (Personally, I decided to study for the CIPR’s Diploma in Crisis Communication, which involves writing a much longer piece of work and has the benefit of sounding good on the CV.)
Now it seems likely that the Chartered PR Practitioner label is to be fundamentally shifted towards being a more junior status.
Its biggest difficulty in its current guise is that the name just doesn’t imply senior, years-of-experience status. Indeed, to an outsider, being a Chartered PR Practitioner doesn’t sound different to being a Member of a Chartered Institute. Indeed, in other professions, the Chartered status is something that newer professionals can gain, rather than those who have years of experience. For example, a member (MRICS) of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors is by definition a Chartered Surveyor, not after decades of experience.
So a move to make the Chartered PR Practitioner correspond more closely with what happens in other professions would be an understandable move – as long as two things happen. Firstly, those who’ve spent the cash and put in an extensive amount of time to become Chartered Practitioners need to be compensated in some way – perhaps with a new “gong” in addition to retaining Chartered Practitioner status. People should be given the option of a refund.
Secondly, there does need to be something aimed at a experienced practitioners which helps them show their level of competence. Some form of Advanced Diploma in Directing Corporate Communication, for example. We should be very wary of watering down the Chartered Practitioner status and not replacing it with something else.