With AAP and APRP Credentials, He’s Seen as an Expert

ryan wilhem

With AAP and APRP Credentials, He’s Seen as an Expert

Ryan Wilhelm, AAP, APRP
Program Manager

Ryan Wilhelm gets invited to a lot more meetings now that he’s an AAP and APRP. But that’s a good thing.

“I am now engaged a lot more in the beginning than when it’s too late toward the end. It makes it a lot easier because we can start down the right path rather than having to correct and do it over again,” said Wilhelm, program owner at his financial institution.

“Having the credentials has definitely helped people recognize that you need to get Ryan engaged. I have people that I don’t even know at my FI saying, ‘I was told to come and talk to you.’”

And that’s exactly why he sought out the credentials in the first place.

“I wanted to be recognized as the person in our company who had the knowledge. Not just the position and the responsibility, but to be looked at as somebody who had the knowledge and could be trusted.”

Wilhelm achieved AAP status in 2017, and he’s the first to tell you it’s not a cakewalk. Studying for the AAP exam is different than, say, a typical college test, and he had some distractions. “I did not isolate myself to focus,” he recalled.

So on his second try Wilhelm set time aside, took the preparation classes and “did the program justice.” His boss allowed him to work in a satellite office where “I would spend eight hours a day reading, quizzing myself, testing myself, writing stuff down to help with the memory. And I ended up feeling 10 times more prepared by just sitting down and focusing.”

So when he took the APRP exam in 2018, Wilhelm knew what he had to do and passed with the inaugural class.

Keeping up the credentials is easy, with Wilhelm annually attending a Payments Innovation Alliance meeting and the Payments conference, as well as watching webinars. “I never come up short of my credits on an annual basis,” he said.

Wilhelm said management support is crucial for anyone considering becoming an AAP or APRP or both. And you can’t be in a rush.

“Take your time,” he said. “Don’t ever think that because you’re a good test taker, because you’re a good school person that you can just tackle it. There’s so much more that you learn.”

Above all, Wilhelm said to “enjoy the experience. It’s going to be tough, but it is rewarding in the end.” Even if you get invited to more meetings.

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