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FAQs for Applicants

FAQs for PRCs

FAQs for Hiring a PRC

FAQs for Applicants

I am not currently employed in the field. Can I still apply for Certification?

Candidates must be currently employed in the profession in order to apply for the Professional Research Certification according to the criteria established by the Certification Board.

When did the Certification program begin?

Launch of the Professional Researcher Certification is February 28, 2005.

What are the fees associated with acquiring Certification?

Application fees for each Level are established as follows:
  • Expert Level: $250
  • Practitioner Level: $200

I want to apply past coursework to my application. Is this possible?

Under the application criteria, coursework taken within the previous 5 years may be applied to the candidate's resume.

What is the deadline to apply for Open Enrollement?

Individuals must submit the Certification application by December 31, 2008. Once the deadline date has passed, no individuals will be eligible to apply for open enrollment. After December 31, 2008 individuals will be required to accrue appropriate Contact Hours and pass an exam based on a series of questions designed to ensure the individual's knowledge level and understanding of required topic areas.

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.

Are exams necessary?

Applicants who apply for Certification during open enrollment phase will not need to take an exam. Criteria required for Certification during this time period is based on evidence of work experience, practical knowledge and current relevancy of education.

Those candidates who apply after December 31, 2008 will be 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.

How long does it take to receive notice of acceptance or denial?

Candidates will receive notice of acceptance or denial within 8 to 10 weeks of submitting the application.

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.

"The PRC designation distinguishes people who are serious about marketing research as a profession. It shows that you're committed to using proven current techniques and analysis for business decisions.

W. Christopher King, Vice Chairman & CFO, Sawtooth Software, Inc.

May I ask a co-worker to write a letter of reference?

The Certification Workgroup requires one (1) letter of reference be submitted for an individual applying for certification in thePractitioner Level. This letter may be submitted by the candidate's 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.

FAQs for PRC's

What are the education requirements I have to maintain?

PRC's 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
Research Category 6
Legal 2


Contact hour requirements for Practitioners:


Education Required to Maintain Certification Contact hours required every 2 years
Business Management Category 5
Research Category 10
Legal 2
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 individual’s 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 individual’s Certification. Second, approval must be gained priorfor 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?

Individuals who do not renew on time will be required to accrue Contact Hours in their discipline area and pass an exam just as if they were applying for the first time.

FAQs for Hiring a PRC

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 individual's certification status through the MRA Certification Department or by viewing the list of certified individual's 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 candidate's permission in order to protect the candidate's privacy.

I use companies that have PRC's on staff. Knowing this, I rest assured knowing that the products I need or my customers needs will be done by professionals who take the industry serious. I know they share my commitment to the profession. If I have two preferred vendors, I'll choose the one with PRCs on staff.

Magda Cooling, Opinions...of Sacramento

If I were an End User and aware of the PRC program, I would look at this as access to better quality research and more reliable research. I see a lot of inexperienced clients who only know about Focus Groups or work only within narrow project specifications. They don't understand the process. As a PRC, I help them understand the process and the importance of getting quality, reliable data. So I become a more trusted business partner.

Paul Valdez, Nichols Research