In what is seen as a move to help to dispel the lightweight image of the profession, the Institute of Public Relations has been granted a Royal charter.
The immediate effect is to add another letter to its members' qualifications, but Midlands region chairman Claire Oliver sees more significance in the accolade.
Mrs Oliver, managing director of McCann-Erickson in Shirley, Solihull, said: "This is a real milestone for the Institute and the PR industry.
"The CIPR can now implement its strategy to further improve and support the industry with the formal stamp of approval from the Government.
"The institute has been acknowledged as the official body to strengthen and lead the profession.
"The Government has recognised the PR industry as a leading player in public and corporate life and PR practitioners as professionals with specialist skills, knowledge and qualifications."
Chartered status has been a long time coming. The organisation first thought about it more than 50 years ago, but did not put in a formal application until recently.
In the past few years it has raised the membership stakes by setting more professional standards, and creating a means of continual professional development, regarded as vital to gain chartered status.
The CIPR has more than 800 members in the Midlands, ten per cent of the total membership.
The award marks the coming of age of the PR profession and is official recognition of the important and influential role that public relations plays in business and society.
It is acknowledgement that it is in the public interest to have an approved body to lead the public relations industry, and that the CIPR is that body.
The award of a charter by the Privy Council is affirmation of the role the institute plays in the public relations industry - providing leader-ship, developing policy, raising standards through training and education, and making members accountable through the Code of Conduct.
Mrs Oliver, who has only recently become regional chairman and heads the region's largest PR organisation, is excited about the new status. "WE spend a lot of time apologising about the profession but this gives us the right to talk about PR as a business tool, as opposed to just part of the marketing mix.
"It also makes it less of a dispensable commodity to be cut when budgets are tight, suggesting that PR is quite fundamental, alongside surveyors, accountants and the like."
Colin Farrington, director general of the CIPR, said: "Chartered status will make it easier for employers, clients and the general public to distinguish between PR practitioners which are prepared to commit to the industry code of conduct and to be accountable, and those who aren't.
"Membership of the institute has always been about professionalism, commitment and standards and now the award of chartered status gives CIPR members external, third party approval and endorsement.
"Membership of CIPR is a clear demonstration of professionalism."