Tradition 3: The only requirement for membership is a moral obligation to uphold the principles of the communications industry.
Legalities are not necessary if we as an industry are founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct. If you consider yourself part of the public relations industry, you are bound to the duty of upholding the principles of the communications industry. It doesn’t matter if you have APR after your name or a college degree.
"There are several ways to look at autonomy as it relates to responsibility and accountability. Philosopher and ethicist Mitchell Haney suggests that the moral community is composed of two kinds of actors: responsible actors and accountable actor. Responsibility is viewed within this model as having a higher level of autonomy by nature in that it implies the actor is able to "self-oversee, self-regulate, and self-motivate responsive adjustments to maintain adherence with appropriate moral standards of action."
Responsible actors need not depend on external or mediated motivational pressure for responsive adjustment. They are expected to be motivated to correct harms and reduce future risk of harms without external or mediated pressure to do so…Freedom means lacking barriers to our action that are in any way external to our will, though it also requires that we use a law to guide our decisions, a law that can come to us only by an act of our own will." –Ethics in Public Relations: Responsible Advocacy by Kathy R. Fitzpatrick and Carolyn Bronstein.