You earned it! Now keep it!

Now that you have earned your certification, you need to maintain it by earning continuing education credits (CEUs). On September 30, NCRA’s 2018 education cycle will come to an end. NCRA members with cycles ending in 2018 have a number of quick-and-easy ways to earn CEUs in the time remaining.

  1. Watch the JCR Weekly and your email for information about upcoming live webinars and e-seminars. Webinars and e-seminars represent the most convenient way to earn CEUs when and where you need them. NCRA’s library of webinars and e-seminars is the easiest way to find the latest offerings. Webinars are live presentations from industry professionals on various professional and industry-related topics, and e-seminars feature recorded video and downloadable handout materials and allow you to access the best presentations from past NCRA events and webinars.
  2. Attend a pre-approved event, including state association conferences, and earn CEUs while catching up with old friends and making new ones during educational sessions and networking opportunities. Many state associations and other court reporter-related organizations are hosting conferences and seminars in September. Most events are one to three days, and many of them are in the first half of the month. Check out the full calendar of pre-approved events on NCRA’s website.
  3. Did you know that if you learn CPR or first aid, you can earn CEUs? The American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and other organizations often host seminars on CPR or first aid. Perhaps you can organize a few colleagues from your firm, court, or even your local area to team up for an event nearby. Court reporters and captioners have to be prepared for anything, so why not add safety to your list of skills?
  4. Transcribe an oral history for the National Court Reporters Foundation program. Members who participate in the Oral Histories Program through NCRF may earn Professional Development Credits for their time. Members can apply up to 1.0 PDC to their CEU requirement per cycle. Transcribe a 30- to 90-minute pre-recorded interview of an American veteran, Holocaust survivor, or attorney who has provided pro bono services through Legal Aid. Many people find participating in the Oral Histories Program to be especially rewarding. Learn more about the Oral Histories Program by visiting the NCRF page on the NCRA website.
  5. You may have already participated in activities that have helped you earn CEUs or PDCs during the last year, and the only thing you need to do is fill out the proper form to get credit. If you promoted the profession at a career fair, law school, or other event; provided pro bono services; served on a state association board or committee (including the United States Court Reporting Association); or participated in a formal mentoring program, you may qualify for credit for your volunteerism. To learn more, visit the Continuing Education page on the NCRA website.
  6. Finally, go through your records to see if any educational opportunities were somehow overlooked. Classes should be closely related to court reporting and not paid for by your employer. If the event was held in the past three years, it may be worth the time to see if it might be CEU-worthy.

 

Learn more about how you can keep that certification you worked so hard to earn by visiting the Continuing Education page on NCRA’s website.

 

 

You can still register on-site for the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo

Although online registration for NCRA’s 2018 Convention & Expo is closed, you can still register on-site for this premier event taking place Aug. 2-5 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, in colorful New Orleans, La.

On-site registration opens Thursday, Aug. 2, at 7 a.m. and closes at 6:30 p.m. Registration is open on Friday, Aug. 3, and Saturday, Aug. 4, from 6:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Don’t miss the excitement of this year’s Convention & Expo with highlights that include:

Keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré (U.S. Army, Ret.), a 37-year veteran of active service who served as the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, during which time he became known as the “Category 5 General” for his striking leadership style in coordinating military relief efforts in post-hurricane New Orleans. In addition to sharing insights into his leadership skills with attendees at the premier session, Honoré will write his military story in a special Veterans History Project event. His story will be preserved at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., as part of its VHP program.

An all-inclusive schedule is sure to appeal to anyone in the court reporting, captioning, and legal video professions, and in the educational arena.

Dozens of vendors will showcase the latest in new products and services specifically for the court reporting and captioning professions, including software, equipment, support services, new products, and more.

Other schedule highlights include workshops, business sessions, and Learning Zones that will offer attendees added opportunities to mingle and network; the National Speed and Realtime Contests; and the Member Recognition Gala. Throughout the Convention, attendees can earn up to 2.3 CEUs.

And be sure to stop by the National Court Reporters Foundation booth to enter a raffle to win a one-of-a-kind Luminex steno machine.

For more information about NCRA’s 2018 Convention & Expo or to see the schedule, visit NCRA.org/Convention.

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Purple Book

By Anthony Frisolone

Monette Benoit is a well-known figure in the area of court reporter education. She has created The Complete Written Knowledge Test Prep Textbook, 7th Edition, and NCRA Certified Realtime Captioner Primer, which can be purchased separately or in a three- volume or four-volume set.

The “Purple Book,” as it is known among court reporters, is 331 pages long, covering six chapters of material organized into chapters starting with test-taking tips and ending with computer terminology and prep for the Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) Exam. The seventh chapter is titled “Suggested Study Material as Review.”

This is the ultimate test prep book; you won’t need anything else, save for a subject area specific to your state. The “Purple Book” can serve as a reference guide to be kept at your desk at home or in the office. I view this to be a value-added component of the book.

The book starts with an introduction, laying out Benoit’s education and background, which is extensive, as a freelance and official court reporter, captioner, author, and educator of court reporters worldwide.

This book stands out from the rest because it can be used for individual learning as well as for classroom instruction. The professional using this book on his or her own will find plenty of advice from Benoit in the first chapter on how to use this book effectively. Classroom instructors are given a syllabus and instructions as well as course objectives so students can get the most out of this book.

Chapter 1 begins with Written Knowledge Test (WKT) Test-Taking Tips, featuring an explanation of NCRA’s certification examinations and their requirements. This chapter broadly covers state Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) tests, and it is recommended that the reader contact their local CSR board for more specific information.

Chapter 2, Legal and Court Terminology, starts with a review of 350-plus legal terms and proceeds to review the steps of a trial and on to the steps of a criminal proceeding.

Chapter 3, Court Reporting Rules, reviews 91 court reporting rules that reporters will encounter on WKTs. The numbered list format of this chapter allows the reader to focus on individual rules instead of becoming bored with reading paragraph after paragraph of rules.

Chapter 4, English and Grammar, starts with spelling and then flows into a grammar glossary, and then Part One of Grammar and Punctuation. In the middle of the chapter, almost strategically placed as to give the reader a break, there is a review of misused words. The chapter ends with Grammar and Punctuation, Part Two.

The medical information found in Chapter 5 is worth the price of the book in preparing reporters to take the medical terminology portion of a test with confidence. This chapter is another example of the research performed by Benoit, who has made sure to cover prefixes and suffixes, types of fractures, regions of the body, and anatomy, just to name a few subject areas found within this chapter.

Chapter 6 is an extensive review of computer terminology with the primer for the NCRA CRC exam intertwined with the extensive glossary of computer, Windows 8, and Windows 10 terms as well as the NCRA Advisory Opinions.

If there is one suggestion, it would be that the NCRA CRC Primer could be a standalone book or, at the very least, worthy of its own chapter within the “Purple Book.” If your goal is to take and pass the CRC exam, this chapter covers captioning-oriented material to strengthen your knowledge. This chapter is especially useful if your computer literacy is lacking and you want to understand computer terminology or have a better grasp of Windows 8 or 10. The screen captures of the features found in Windows are helpful and add depth to this chapter. The NCRA Advisory Opinions complete the chapter and are an item every test candidate should be familiar with.

Chapter 7 contains further study material, including additional Latin terms, similar and somewhat similar words, misspelled words, abbreviations, and definitions. It is suggested that the Companion Guide and Workbook be purchased to enhance the learning experience.

If you decide to purchase the Complete Written Knowledge Test Prep Textbook, 7th Edition, and NCRA Certified Realtime Captioner Primer, you will not be disappointed. This is the author’s labor of love since 1990. The care with which this book was written and updated sets it apart from other test prep books on the market.

Anthony D. Frisolone, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI, is an official court reporter in the Eastern District of New York. He can be reached at AFrisolone@aol.com.

Dreaming of earning the CRC? Convention is the place

Realtime captioning is an in-demand skill for court reporters. Earning the CRC will allow those who possess it to present themselves as among the most elite and qualified captioners.

The two-day workshop followed by the Written Knowledge Test will be offered again this year at the NCRA Convention & Expo. Attendees will learn how to perfect the set-up and operation of their equipment, convert their files to ASCII text files, and gain a solid foundation for understanding what it takes to be a captioner.

To fully earn the CRC, candidates must complete three steps:

  1. Attend the CRC Workshop which is offered Thursday and Friday, Aug. 2 and 3.
  2. Take the CRC Skills Test (literary matter at 180 wpm), which is offered online and can be taken anytime.
  3. Take the written knowledge test (50 questions), which can be taken at Convention following the CRC Workshop or at a Pearson VUE testing center in October (registration opens in September).

Online registration for Convention ends on July 23, but the CRC Workshop and on-site CRC Written Knowledge Test are expected to sell out before then. Register today!

 

The 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo is the place to earn new certifications

Professionals seeking to add nationally recognized certifications to their résumés can choose from several opportunities to work toward them at the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 2-5 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, in New Orleans, La.

This year’s scheduled event is all-inclusive, offering workshops, sessions, and Learning Zones sure to appeal to anyone working in the court reporting, captioning, or legal videography professions, and offering added opportunities for attendees to mingle and network.

Go for that certification

For those interested in learning how to pass the Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), a three-hour-long boot camp is available on Aug. 2. The CRR is recognized in the industry as the national certification of realtime competency. Taught by Kathryn Sweeney, FAPR, RMR, CRR, who helped develop the boot camp program, the course has enabled many to successfully pass the test on the first take. Sweeney is a freelance reporter and agency owner from Acton, Mass.

In the course, Sweeney explains the testing requirements, covers NCRA’s What is an Error?, discusses what is not an error, and talks about the new online testing process. She also offers tips for self-preparation, including what to have on test day, what to do and not do on test day, and how and why candidates fail. Participants in the session should bring their equipment with them so they can take a couple of practice tests and learn how to adjust their system settings and dictionary entries. Skills testing for the CRR is offered online.

Going for the Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) certification? There’s a 10-hour Workshop for this being held Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, and it’s the first step toward earning the CRC. The workshop will help prep you to be ready to take the Written Knowledge Test being offered at this year’s Convention & Expo. The required Skills Test can be taken anytime online.

Leading the CRC workshop are Carol Studenmund, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, a broadcast captioner based in Portland, Ore., and Heidi Thomas, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, a CART captioner from Acworth, Ga.

Attend the Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) Certification Workshop on Aug. 4 for an overview of what it means to be a legal videographer. The workshop also includes a hands-on segment to help candidates better prepare to take the mandatory workshop offered online and the required in-person production exam held twice a year at NCRA Headquarters in Reston, Va.

The CLVS program sets and enforces standards for competency in the capture, use, and retention of legal video and promotes awareness of these standards within the legal marketplace.

Learning Zones

This year’s schedule also features an array of Learning Zones designed to appeal to attendees across the board. For example, current CLVSs are encouraged to attend the sessions Deposition Audio – Teamwork between the Court Reporter and Videographer, Market Yourself, and Adding PIP to your video deposition.

Students who attend will have the opportunity to participate in a Steno Speed Dating session, a special meet and greet with NCRA’s Board of Directors, an online skills testing prep, and hear from the perspective of a new professional what they didn’t learn in court reporting school.

Other Learning Zones feature business-related sessions such as Financial Wellness in the Gig Economy, Ethics Jeopardy, and Secrets to Success as a Freelancer.

NCRA’s 2018 Convention & Expo is the largest annual gathering of court reporters, captioners, scopists, legal videographers, trial presenters, students, and other legal services professionals.

Register now for the 2018 NCRA Annual Convention & Expo before July 23 to avoid late fees. Reserve a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans using NCRA’s special discount rate by July 6 and get a free breakfast on Friday and Saturday (a $75 value).

To jazz things up even more, check out this party playlist of songs selected by NCRA staff to get everyone excited to meet in New Orleans!

For more information about the 2018 NCRA Annual Convention & Expo, or to register, visit NCRA.org/Convention.

For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Mary Petto, Senior Director of External Affairs at mpetto@ncra.org.

 

 

10 reminders about the importance of earning and maintaining certifications

Marybeth Everhart

As a follow-up to NCRA’s first Celebrate Certification Month held in May, the article below written by Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE, national marketing manager for Realtime Coach, is meant as a reminder of the importance of earning and maintaining certifications.

Everhart is also on the schedule to present at NCRA’s 2018 Convention & Expo being held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La. Her sessions will include: “Certification: Everything You Wanted to Know and More”; “Online Testing Skills”; and a special vendor showcase that will focus on the latest developments with Realtime Coach.


By Marybeth Everhart

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, certification is “proof or a document proving that someone is qualified for a particular job,” and those credentials are typically on display after the professional’s name.  When you see “MD,” “RN,” or “CPA,” you know that those folks have not only completed a higher level of education but have also studied for and passed a rigorous exam. Professional credentials, or those cryptic initials behind someone’s name, identify that individual as someone dedicated to his or her chosen profession and prepared to uphold a certain set of standards. It signals to the world that this person has achieved something of note or importance. Most people certified in their profession will say that attaining that certification was the single most important step they took in career development.

These statements apply to all professions where certifications are attainable, court reporting included. If you’ve thought about that next NCRA certification but haven’t made the move yet, here are 10 reasons why you should:

  1. Certification demonstrates commitment to your profession. Receiving a certification shows your peers, supervisors, and the general public how committed you are to your reporting career, along with how well you perform to set standards. Certification sets you apart as a leader in your field.
  2. Certification enhances the overall image of the profession. NCRA certification programs seek to grow, promote, and develop certified professionals who can stand “out in front” as examples of excellence in the industry. Think of those you admire in this field and make note of the credentials they display, with pride. It’s unlikely that any of them lack a string of letters after their names.
  3. Certifications are portable. Those credentials can travel with you anywhere and can open doors to employment opportunities you may not have even considered yet. An RPR, for instance, is preferred for many officialships and signals to freelance firms that you can be trusted with their clients and challenging jobs. Currently, 22 states either accept or use the RPR in place of their state certification or exam.
  4. Certification builds self-esteem. NCRA certifications create a performance standard for the profession. You’ll see yourself as a certified professional who has some control over his or her own professional destiny and find a deep sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.
  5. Certification establishes professional credentials. Since it recognizes your individual accomplishments, certification stands above your résumé, serving as an impartial, third-party endorsement of your knowledge and expertise. When the public looks for individuals qualified to perform certain services, they seek individuals – like you – who have achieved certification. You can bet that firm owners and court personnel will favor those with credentials over those without.
  6. Certification improves career opportunities and advancement. Certification gives you the “edge” when being considered for a promotion or other career opportunities. Certification clearly identifies you as a person who can adapt to changes in work, technology, business practices, and innovation.
  7. Certification helps you market your services. Since certification is a voluntary professional commitment to our industry, it’s a clear indicator of your willingness to invest in your own professional development. The process of maintaining your certification exposes you to the constantly changing environment this profession faces and helps provide the tools needed to anticipate and respond to those changes. Being certified in today’s reporting environment is as important as it’s ever been.
  8. Certification provides for greater earnings potential. As a certified professional, you can expect many benefits, but in today’s downsized, rightsized, topsy-turvy working world, salary increases speak for themselves. Official reporters often receive a pay raise by attaining their realtime certification, and certified freelancers typically are given the better, higher paying jobs.
  9. Certification improves skills and knowledge. Achieving certification highlights your individual competence by confirming proficiency, knowledge, and career commitment. The Written Knowledge Tests require research and study to familiarize yourself with current reporting technology, as well as reporting and professional practices. The Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) demonstrates your proficiency at entry-level reporting skill and knowledge, while the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) establishes not only your continued commitment to the profession, but also your interest in reaching and sustaining an exceptional level of skill and knowledge.  The Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) authenticate your realtime skills to yourself and those seeking your services and expertise.
  10. Certification offers greater professional recognition from peers. Hear that applause? It’s all for you! As a certified professional, you can expect increased recognition from your peers for taking that extra step in your professional development. Let’s face it, we all like to add those ribbons to our name badges at convention — the longer the list, the better!

The myths, mysteries, and misunderstandings of legal video

Talk Daily News posted an article on May 24 that notes, for the best experience using a legal videographer, firms should chose professionals who hold the NCRA CLVS certification.

Read more.

NCRA headquarters hosts TAC Committee meeting

Members of NCRA’s Test Advisory Committee (TAC) met at the Association’s headquarters in Reston, Va., April 6-8 to vet and approve skills exams for the RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC. They wrote exams from 8:30-5:30 Friday and Saturday and 9-1 on Sunday, before taking time to view area cherry trees and their blossoms, which were in full bloom.

A total of 87 tests were submitted for review by the Skills Committee and TAC over the weekend, resulting in 71 tests being written and 62 being approved.

Test Advisory Committee

The Skills Test Writing Committee writes content for the RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC exams, while TAC writes and selects the skills tests for the same certifications. TAC also sets the standards for the RPR and RDR Written Knowledge Tests.

Members of TAC who wrote perfect tests were also recognized at the meeting with a Shirley Award. The award was named for Shirley Hall, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI, CPE, an official court reporter from Pittsburgh Pa., and a former TAC member, who commonly wrote perfect tests. Tests are considered perfect when the word count and syllabic density are flawless, and they are written smoothly by the test taker.

Wade Garner receives Shirley Award from Chris Willette

The following members were recognized with a Shirley Award at the April meeting:

  • TAC Co-chair Wade S. Garner, RPR, CPE, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Anne M. Bowline RMR, CRR, Casper, Wyo., a member of the Skills Content Writing Committee
  • Russell Page, Jr., Washington, D.C., a member of the Skills Content Writing Committee
  • Lisa Reed Wiesman, RDR, CRR, CRC, Fairfield, Ohio, a member of the Skills Content Writing Committee

Other members from TAC who attended the April meeting were:

  • Co-chair Diane L. Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPE, Oro Valley, Ariz.
  • Robin Cooksey, RMR, Houston, Texas
  • Holly Kapacinskas, RPR, CRR, Debary, Fla.
  • Donna J. Karoscik, RDR, CRR, CRC, Pickerington, Ohio
  • Deborah A. Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Karyn D. Menck, RDR, CRR, CRC, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Janice Plomp, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
  • Kelli Ann Willis, RPR, CRR, Miami, Fla.
  • NCRA President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, Wausau, Wis., who serves as TAC’s Board liaison.
  • TAC member Rhonda Hall Breuwet, RDR, CRR, Lakeland, Fla., was unable to attend.

Effective Oct. 1, 2018, New Exam Retention Policy

NCRA places a high value on the standards it sets for the professional certifications it offers.  As part of the Association’s commitment to maintaining these high standards and better serving its members, effective Oct. 1, 2018, a three-year time requirement on completing the components needed to earn a certification will be put in place on the recommendation of the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR).

Under the current system, NCRA does not put any expiration on already-passed requirements earned towards a certification. In an effort to align our policies with certification best practices, an exam retention policy has been approved. Enacting an exam retention policy strengthens our compliance of best practices for our accreditation through ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training).

Why the change?

CAPR, which is responsible for the development and administration of continuing education programs and credential examinations, reviewed the current policy, which allows Skills Tests (SKT) and Written Knowledge Tests (WKT) scores to remain valid indefinitely. Members of the Council made the recommendation to place a three-year requirement on completing the components needed to earn a certification. Benefits of the new policy are that candidates are highly likely to maintain their skills while completing all requirements and that candidates will be more likely to pass all requirements for reporter certifications because their skills (speed and/or accuracy levels) will be at their highest.

How it works

Under the new policy, candidates for certification, who have taken any mandatory certification education requirements or passed any SKTs or WKTs, have until Nov. 1, 2021, to pass the remainder of requirements for the certification for which those requirements apply.

Passing test scores will expire after three years if a candidate fails to complete the additional requirements to earn that certification. If an education component/test score expires, the candidate will need to repeat the education component or successfully retest before being able to earn the certification.

Certifications with Education Eligibility Requirement

  • Certification Seminars and/or Workshops: Once an attendee has completed the CLVS Mandatory Seminar, CRC Workshop, or other education as a mandatory component of a certification process, he or she has three years from the date of completion to successfully complete the other requirements to earn that certification.
  • Should three years lapse from the date of completing the education component without successfully passing the other requirements, the education will expire, and the candidate will be required to retake the education component to earn the certification.

Certifications with only Written Knowledge Test and Skills Test Requirement

  • Written Knowledge Tests and Skills Tests: Once a candidate has successfully completed a Written Knowledge Test or Skills Test with a passing score, he or she has three years from the date of the exam to successfully complete the other requirements to earn that certification.
  • Should three years lapse without successfully passing the other requirements, the test score will expire, and the candidate must retake the test prior to earning the certification.

The new Exam Retention Policy is effective October 1, 2018. Any person with an existing history of passed educational components or passed tests will have three years to complete the remaining components and earn their certifications. All pre-existing passed test histories will have an expiration date of November 1, 2021. After October 1, 2018, any person passing a required education component or a skills or written knowledge test will have an expiration of three years from the date of the official pass.  Have additional questions? View the Exam Retention Policy FAQs.

Celebrate Certification Month with savings

May is Celebrate Certification Month at NCRA; and in honor of this first-time observance, members and students can save. The cost to take the online Skills Tests for the RPR, RMR, CRR, or CRC have been reduced. But hurry, the savings ends today, May 16!

 

Students taking the RPR Skills Test will pay $60 for each leg, while members will pay $75 for each RPR or RMR Skills Test leg. In addition, members can take advantage of a discounted price of $175 for the CRR or CRC Skills Tests, while students will pay only $145 for a CRC Skills Test.

 

Members can also save this month on NCRA’s webinars and e-seminars in honor of Celebrate Certification Month. For a 60-minute webinar or e-seminar, NCRA members now pay $55 compared to a nonmember price of $79. In addition, the price for a 90-minute webinar or e-seminar has been lowered to $75 for NCRA members. Nonmembers will pay $99 for the same 90-minute product.

 

Additional weekly specials can be found in the NCRA store during Celebrate Certification Month. This week, members can save 20 percent off all downloads through May 21. Other discounts include:

  • May 22-28 – 10% off entire store
  • May 29-31 – 10% off P-133 Morson’s Guide

 

Throughout the month, NCRA members and students have been flooding social media with posts celebrating the benefits of certification and the achievements of themselves and others who have gone the extra mile to put more letters behind their names. Be sure to read the profiles of a number of members who shared what motivated them to earn NCRA certifications in the May issue of the JCR. Find out more about how earning NCRA certifications have benefited their professional success, as well as get advice on how you can prepare to earn that dream certification.

 

Find out more about NCRA’s webinars and e-seminars and be sure to visit the Celebrate Certification Month page for resources you can use to mark the month-long campaign.