What is the Professional Researcher Certification program?
The Professional Researcher Certification program (PRC) is designed to recognize the qualifications and expertise of marketing and opinion research professionals. The goal of PRC is to encourage high standards within the survey profession to raise competency, establish an objective measure of an individual's knowledge and proficiency and to encourage professional development. Achieving and maintaining PRC validates the knowledge of the market research industry and puts researchers in a select group of like-minded professionals. It's a visible badge of distinction, demonstrating for all your professional skill, commitment and dedication. The PRC program began in February of 2005.
What are the fees associated with acquiring Certification?
The exam fee is $150.
Application and Renewal fees for each level are:
- Expert: $250
- Practitioner: $200
I want to apply past coursework to my application. Is this possible?
Under the application criteria, coursework taken within the previous five years may be applied to the candidates resume.
My current position crosses more than one area of Certification. Can I apply for more than one Certification?
In certain circumstances where a candidate has dual or overlapping job responsibilities/titles simultaneously, the Review Committee may allow that candidate to pursue two certifications. Please contact the MRA Certification Department for further information.
How long does it take to receive notice of acceptance or denial?
Candidates will receive notice of acceptance or denial within eight to 10 weeks of submitting the application.
Are exams necessary?
Yes, candidates are required to pass an exam. Exams are based on skill level and practical knowledge; questions will include knowledge of subject area as it relates to the Certification designation.
I have been in the profession for many years. Why should I be certified?
The benefits of a Certification Program are both industry-wide and individual. For the individual, it will be a means of differentiating oneself, a "badge" of competence in the given areas and an assurance that the individual is current in knowledge and experience. For the profession/industry as a whole, it provides a vehicle for developing a pool of well-trained, competent marketing researchers, thereby improving both perceived and substantive standards.
May I ask a co-worker to write a letter of reference?
The Certification Workgroup requires three (3) letters of reference be submitted for an individual applying for certification in the Practitioner Level. This letter may be submitted by the candidates superior or the person to whom the candidate reports.
What does skill level mean?
Use of the phrase skill level is a way to describe the depth and breadth of understanding an individual has in a particular area of study or experience. Each level (Practitioner and Expert) requires a graduated degree of understanding for those skills used in day-to-day practice. For example, at the Practitioner level, candidates are not expected to fully understand the complexities of each skill area at this stage of their careers, but rather have a working knowledge of those areas central or mainstream in day-to-day professional practice. (See: Contact Hours to Maintain)
What will I receive when I am certified?
Applicants who have met the criteria for Certification receive a Professional Researcher Certification certificate and wallet membership card.
Do I need to be a member of MRA to apply for Certification?
No. Any marketing research professional who meets the established criteria may apply for the Professional Researcher Certification.
How long is my Professional Researcher Certification in effect?
The PRC is in effect for two years. Certified individuals will receive prior notice of expiration of their certification several months in advance.
How do I schedule an exam?
Once your Professional Researcher Certification application has been approved, you will receive an e-mail with the exam registration link and your PRC exam guidelines document. Once you are approved to take the exam, you will have 12 months to sit for the exam. For complete details please review the PRC exam guidelines and procedures
How do I prepare for the Exam?
The PRC exam is a self-study exam and does not require a prescribed curriculum. Candidates may choose their own method of preparing for the exam.
The PRC Certification department does not endorse or sponsor any review courses for the PRC Certification exam. A study bibliography is included in the PRC Exam handbook to provide candidates with suggested resources for exam review.
What is considered a passing grade on the exam?
A candidate must earn a score of 75 or above in order to pass the exam. Otherwise, he/she is required to re-take the exam.
What happens if I fail the exam?
Candidates, who fail to achieve an overall passing score, must retake the entire test. Candidates may retake the test within six months from the date of notice of exam results. The exam notification will identify specific domains where further study may be required in order to pass the examination in the future. An exam registration form and registration fees must be resubmitted.
A candidate who fails the exam may apply for Certification review within 30 calendar days from the date of notice of exam results. If the grade of fail is upheld, the candidate will receive a partial copy of the examination. An appeal process is in place.
Can I take the exam online?
At this time the exam must be administered by an approved PRC proctor. You can take the PRC exam in any state at any time, proctors are available everywhere.
What are the education requirements I have to maintain?
PRCs can select any education topic to fulfill their education requirements within three (3) categories: Business, Research and Legal. The Education Requirements are based on your Certification level.
Contact hour requirements for Experts:
|Education Required to Maintain Certification||Contact hours required every 2 years|
|Business Management Category||6|
Contact hour requirements for Practitioners:
|Education Required to Maintain Certification||Contact hours required every 2 years|
|Business Management Category||5|
|Business Management or Research Category
Why do I need to document my Contact Hours?
In order for MRA to conform to the standards set by The National Task Force on Continuing Education rules, we must maintain all candidate records documenting an individuals progress on their advancement track. Candidates are required to submit supporting evidence of their education participation in order to be credited with a Contact Hour. Only Contact Hours earned through an accepted organization or institution will be accepted.
Where can I find education offerings to full my requirements?
There are many ways to earn appropriate education contact hours. Two important factors must be considered. First, the category presented must be among those required for the individuals Certification. Second, approval must be gained prior to the education event in order to be applied to earnings. Please see section on 'Contact Hour Approval Process for details on how to have courses approved and applied to earnings. All MRA and MRA Chapter events offer approved contact hours; the designation of time and educational category are included in program materials.
Examples of where to earn Contact Hours:
MRA Conferences and Webinars
- MRA Chapter Events
- Industry Association education events
- Online courses
- Publish a research related article or presentation
- Other (Candidate must seek approval prior to event for credit consideration. See Contact Hour Approval Process)
What are the fees for my Certification Renewal?
Renewal fees for each Level are established as follows:
- Expert Level: $250
- Practitioner Level: $200
What if I miss my renewal? What steps will be required to re-certify?
A lapsed certification may be renewed within 60 days of the expiration date, by fulfilling all education requirements and submitting the renewal fee. After 60 days from the expiration date, the individual may appeal to the PRC Review Committee for reinstatement of their certification. After considering the education and progress made during and since the certificate lapsed, the Committee may grant reinstatement without examination
How can I enhance my PRC recognition?
There are many ways to promote your PRC Certification. Below is a list of items that can help promote your status to your clients:
- Use the designation "PRC" after your name on all correspondence to designate your status.
- Add PRC to your business card.
- Use the "PRC" logo as part of your e-mail signature.
- Show your PRC card when meeting with clients and potential business partners.
- Hang your PRC certificate in a visible place of honor in your office.
- Include your PRC information in your personnel file at your company.
- Seek or accept speaking engagements that will promote you as "PRC" and give you and your company more exposure.
- Volunteer a testimonial to MRA to use in its promotional material for the program.
- Add the PRC designation to your MRA Blue Book ad next to your name.
- Join the PRC only online social networking sites: Facebook and LinkedIn.
How can I be sure that someone who tells me they are certified or are in the process of being certified is giving me correct information?
You may inquire about an individuals certification status through the MRA Certification Department or by viewing the list of certified individuals posted on the MRA website here. In the case of an application that may be in process, information on the status will only be released with the candidates permission in order to protect the candidates privacy.
1. What is the Provider Program?
The PRC Provider Program allows companies to submit their education programs for PRC approval. The purpose of the PRC Provider Program is to assist PRC's in obtaining high quality continuing education that will enhance a PRC's professional growth and maintain their certification. The Certification department may award credit on an hour-to-hour basis for all time spent in a continuing education program for in seat time only.
2. How can I apply for the program?
Only for-profit companies are eligible to apply for the Provider Program. If this is the company's first application you can download a Provider Program application form and submit all materials and fees to the Certification department. If your company has been provided a username and password, you may submit a new program request using your company's online provider record.
3. What is required to approve our program?
- Programs must have an educational goal and will not include any promotional or marketing materials.
- The program must enhance professional competencies, skills or knowledge.
- The program must have stated objectives related to one or more of the PRC categories (Legal, Business or Research).
- Registration, welcomes, introductions, and other non-educational activities such as breaks, lunches and networking are not eligible for contact hours.
- The program must be 30 minutes or more in duration.
- All documents and copies of final program must be submitted with application.
- Names of all presenters, along with their current credential or other acceptable proof of expertise in the subject matter must be presented at time of application.
- For educational events, that include more than one session, a separate application is required for each session.
- Incomplete applications will not be accepted. They will be returned to the provider.
4. How long does it take for an educational program to be approved?
Due to the volume of inquiries, please allow four weeks processing time. Results will be provided via e-mail.
5. How much does it cost to become a provider?
* Providers may prepay and submit program details at a later date. Prepaid programs are good for 12 months from the date of purchase. Any unused prepayments will be forfeited after the 12 month period and refunds are not permitted. Purchases may not be transferred as a credit towards other MRA products or services.
6. How long is the event approved for?
The program approval is valid for a 12-month period, beginning with the date of the approval, allowing the approved program to be presented an unlimited number of times at any location.
7. Will our name be posted as a PRC provider?
All PRC approved programs will be listed on the PRC Web site and in the PRC Bulletin (sent out quarterly).
8. Who can use the PRC logo?
The PRC logo is reserved for use only on the PRC approved program. The logo can be on all PRC approved forms of communication (brochures, promotional, Web site). The logo may not be used unattached to the PRC approved program or on any unapproved program.
9. What do we receive once we have been approved?
- A Unique PRC login and password for the PRC provider database.
- Approval documents including a letter of approval, PRC Company Certification Card with login information and marketing instructions.
- A program approval is valid for a 12-month period, beginning with the date of the approval, allowing the approved program to be presented an unlimited number of times at any location.
- Rights to use the PRC name and logo on all forms of communication (brochures, promotional, Web site) for only the programs that have been PRC approved.
- Providers' PRC approved programs are listed on the PRC Web site and in the PRC Bulletin.
10. What if the program is not approved? Will I receive my money back?
You will be contacted to discuss the reasons for the denial. You will then have seven business days to re-submit your request with suggested changes. All fees are non-refundable.