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Crisis Communication Certificate Program

Effective crisis communication can help organizations maintain trust, inspire consumer confidence and build competitive advantage. Recent poorly handled crises in business, government and nonprofits show how ineffective crisis communication can set an organization back significantly. To provide more education and understanding surrounding crisis communication, PRSA has re-developed the Crisis Communication Certificate Program.

Designed as a certificate of completion program, the Crisis Communication Certificate Program will equip management-level communicators with best practices in industry perspectives by sharing resources and ideas and working through various crises.

This Certificate Program is designed for:

  • Manager and senior-level PR and communication professionals.
  • Professionals who are responsible for corporate reputation.
  • Any professional responsible for managing a corporate communications team.
  • Leaders charged with advising leaders, lawyers and other executives.
  • Professionals responsible for managing digital communications.
  • Risk Management professionals.
  • Managers with five or more years of experience.

By the end of this certificate program, participants will have learned how to:

  • Master key skills and tools needed to understand the drivers of trust in the context of fulfilling expectations.
  • Obtain forgiveness through the specific language of apologies.
  • Understand the techniques for building and sustaining a corporate narrative.
  • Effectively communicate how to persuade CEOs and other senior executives during a crisis.
  • Develop clarity around roles and processes.
  • Define how to plan for both timely and effective crisis responses.



 Full Course
(All 6 Modules)
PRSA Members$975$195


Learning Modules in this Course

Click on the titles below to read more about each module.

Module 1
Principles of Effective Crisis Response

This module will explore the foundations of an effective crisis response including decision criteria and levers of trust. Participants will learn the core principles of effective crisis response. We’ll address the drivers of trust in the context of fulfilling expectations. What would reasonable people appropriately expect a responsible organization to do in this situation? Learn how to quickly prevent reputational harm with the core expectation that the organization cares.

Module 2
Obtaining Public Forgiveness

This module will address the case for apologies. We’ll cover the relationship between apologies and litigation, and how to obtain forgiveness through the specific language of apologies.

Module 3
The Challenges of Social Media in Crisis

Social media is a two-edged sword in a crisis. It can provide an early warning, but it also can take on a life of its own. There is both an art and a science to using social media effectively in a crisis. The key is to understand the positive and negative dynamics of social media in crisis, and to use it as part of larger crisis management/crisis response strategy.

Module 4
Influencing Leaders

This module will cover how to persuade CEOs and other senior executives to make productive decisions and engage stakeholders in a crisis. We’ll address getting CEOs and other executives to communicate effectively in a crisis.

Module 5
Operational Readiness No. 1: Establishing an Effective Crisis Response Team and Process

This module provides an in depth look at creating the operational readiness for a crisis. Specifically, how to identify executive's roles in a crisis and developing clear processes. We’ll cover how to establish internal crisis communications response structures and teams while developing processes and protocols for effective rapid response.

Module 6
Operational Readiness No. 2: Effective Crisis Planning

This module will show how to plan for both a timely and effective crisis response. We’ll cover how to prepare for specific crises before they happen. Then we’ll wrap up the course by tying together all the resources and practices addressed in each module.


“Crisis communication is one of the most consequential disciplines in public relations. Organizations that respond effectively in a crisis create for themselves a powerful competitive advantage. But organizations that mishandle crises put themselves at a substantial competitive disadvantage. This certificate program aims to equip PR professionals to help organizations maintain the trust of those who matter, when it matters most.”

— Helio Fred Garcia
Executive Director, Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership;
Professor at NYU and Columbia

Course Length

Course Duration: Approximately 5–6 hours
Module Duration: Approximately 45–60 minutes



Participants with the APR credential earn 0.5 renewal CEUs for each completed module of this course, for a total of 3.0 CEUs. Learn more about Accreditation.

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