Veterans Transferable Skills
Which Veterans Have Skills Transferable to Public Relations, Public Affairs and Communications Functions?
Military experience varies greatly from service member to service member. For those without a military background, it is helpful to become better educated regarding the types of jobs and levels of responsibilities a veteran or transitioning service member may have had while in the military:
- Enlisted personnel are the specialists of the military. They are trained to perform specific hands-on tasks in the military as needed for any mission. As enlisted personnel progress up the ranks (there are nine enlisted ranks), they assume more responsibility and provide direct supervision to their subordinates.
- Non-commissioned officers (NCO) are enlisted military members holding a position of some degree of authority, usually obtained by promotion for performance, knowledge and discipline. Additional testing and leadership schools are often required to achieve these ranks.
- Warrant officers are highly trained specialists and subject matter experts. They remain in their primary specialty to provide specialized knowledge, instruction and leadership to enlisted members and commissioned officers alike. With few exceptions, one must be an enlisted member with several years of experience, recommended by their commander, and pass a selection board to become a Warrant officer. The Air Force is the only service that does not have Warrant officers.
- Commissioned officers have the primary function of providing overall management, planning and leadership in their area of responsibility. Unlike enlisted members and Warrant officers, commissioned officers are not as specialized (with certain exceptions such as pilots, doctors, nurses and lawyers). Commissioned officers must have a minimum of a four-year bachelor's degree.
PRSA, in support of transitioning public affairs veterans, has extended free membership to those meeting the following criteria:
- Military public affairs personnel may apply for this program any time during the period 12 months prior to separation or retirement, and six months following separation or retirement.
- All applicants must provide evidence of separation/retirement (DD-214) or intent to separate/retire (official separation/retirement request).
- All members must separate/retire from the armed services under honorable conditions (includes medical discharge).
- Candidates must meet the following professional and educational criteria:
- Must have graduated from a basic journalism or broadcasting course, or the Public Affairs Officer Course, at the Defense Information School.
- Must have served in a public affairs capacity for the previous 36 months.
- Must currently hold an officer or enlisted public affairs classification (i.e., AFSC, MOS, Rating).
Returning military veterans also may hold professional credentials such as the APR or APR +M.
The Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential is valuable to those practitioners who earn it; to the agencies, clients and organizations they represent; and, perhaps most importantly, to the public relations profession itself. The Accredited in Public Relations (APR) designation demonstrates that the holder of the credential has successfully demonstrated competency in the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) required to practice public relations effectively in today’s business arena.
On May 26, 2010, PRSA launched the Accreditation in Public Relations + Military Communication (APR+M), an enhanced certification from the well-established APR. The mark will be awarded to candidates who master the Accredited In Public Relations (APR) KSAs plus joint public-affairs-relevant topics. APR+M signifies someone who meets all the qualifications of Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), PLUS a rigorous course of study surrounding military public affairs in joint operations.