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.

WKT committee reviews test questions at NCRA headquarters

From left to right: Amy Davidson (NCRA) Allison Kimmel (Co-Chair), Lynette Mueller, Laura Brewer, Geanell Adams, Cindy Cheng (Pearson VUE), Wade Garner (Co-Chair), Angie Starbuck

On May 4 and 5, members of NCRA’s Written Knowledge Test (WKT) Committee worked with Cindy Cheng from Pearson VUE to update questions in the Association’s item bank for the RPR and RDR certifications. Six of the committee members met at NCRA’s headquarters in Reston, Va.

Committee members who gathered at NCRA’s headquarters to update questions included:

  • Geanell C. Adams, RMR, CRR, CRI, Raymond, Miss.
  • Laura P. Brewer, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, Los Altos, Calif.
  • co-chair Wade S. Garner, RPR, CPE, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • co-chair Allison Kimmel, RDR, CRR, CRC, Marysville, Ohio
  • Lynette L. Mueller, RDR, CRR, Germantown, Tenn.
  • Angela R. Starbuck, RDR, CRR, CRC, Columbus, Ohio
  • Susan Veres, RMR, CRR, CRC, Viroqua, Wis. (attended remotely)

Over the course of the meeting members reviewed, reworked, reworded, or completely revamped over 423 questions. Committee members also worked remotely prior to the meeting reviewing hundreds of items in the bank in preparation for the group review.

NCRA also thanks those committee members who were unable to attend but who have contributed remotely throughout the year:

  • Vonni Rae Bray, RDR, CRR, Laurel, Mont.
  • Jessica Lynn Davis, RPR, Brandon, Miss.
  • Carrie Marbut Robinson, RPR, CRR, CRI, Hokes Bluff, Ala.
  • Katherine Schilling, RPR, Richmond, Va.
  • Sheri Smargon, RDR, CRR, CRC, Riverview, Fla.

NCRA’s premier certifications rely on the hard work of our volunteer subject matter experts. Please join us in thanking the WKT Committee and consider volunteering your time and expertise for an NCRA committee.

 

NCRA member’s certification noted

The Sun-Sentinel reported on May 9 that NCRA member Mairelys Albo, a freelance court reporter from North Bay Village, Fla., recently earned the Registered Professional Reporter certification. The brief was generated by an NCRA press release issued on Albo’s behalf.

Read more.

Registration is open for 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo

Registration is now open for the NCRA 2018 Convention & Expo taking place Aug. 2-5 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, La. The 2018 event coincides with the celebration of the Tricentennial of New Orleans, which carries the theme “One Time in New Orleans” and encourages residents and visitors to write their stories about their time in the city.

The Convention Keynote speaker is Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré (U.S. Army, Ret.). Honoré, a 37-year veteran of active service, 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.

This year’s convention also features a lineup of sessions presented by top leaders in the court reporting, captioning, and legal videography fields. Some of those include the CLVS Certification Workshop, featuring the Intro to CLVS and CLVS Hands-on Training, the Punctuation Workshop, and the ever-popular CRR Boot Camp. Throughout the Convention attendees can earn up to 2.3 CEUs.

Other exciting events that are expected to sell out quickly include the CRC Workshop, the annual Realtime and Speed Contests, and the new Member Recognition Gala that promises a wonderful night of dinner, drinks, dancing, and celebrating NCRA members.

In addition, this year’s VIP upgrade registration includes a ticket to a VIP reception being hosted by 2018-2019 President Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, from Springfield, Ohio, and VIP seating at the Member Recognition Gala.

As always, there will be a number of networking opportunities, including receptions, luncheons, and special events on the Expo floor, where vendors will showcase the latest in products and services for the court reporting, captioning, and legal videography professions.

“One of the biggest reasons I attend the Convention is for the opportunity to meet and talk to reporters from around the country,” said Susan M. Hora, RDR, CRR, an official court reporter from Columbus, Ohio. “I have learned that we experience the same issues and we can strategize together on overcoming those issues. It reminds me that I am not alone in this profession. It reinvigorates my spirit.”

Join other court reporting professionals from around the country and abroad for the 2018 NCRA Annual Convention & Expo. The NCRA Convention & Expo is the largest annual gathering of court reporters, captioners, scopists, legal videographers, trial presenters, students, and other legal services professionals.

For more information about the NCRA 2018 Convention & Expo, or to register, visit NCRA.org/Convention. Register before July 20 to avoid late fees. Attendees are also encouraged to reserve hotel rooms for the Convention at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

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

Refresh your CLVS skills before taking the Production Exam this June

The next testing dates to take the CLVS Production Exam will be June 8-9 at NCRA headquarters in Reston, Va. Registration is now through May 31. Space is limited, so candidates are encouraged to sign up early.

Something new this year: We are providing candidates an opportunity to do a Hands-On Training session prior to the production exam. Register now to get another step closer to earning your CLVS certification.

The Certified Legal Video Specialist (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.

“The CLVS certification is the gold standard for identifying competent and vetted legal videographers and sets them apart from the rest of the field,” said Jason Levin, CLVS, Chair of the CLVS Council. The CLVS Council leads the CLVS Seminar and administers the Production Exam.

The cost of the exam is $325 for NCRA members and $425 for nonmembers.

During the Production Exam, candidates will run the show at a staged deposition and be graded on their ability to follow video deposition guidelines and to produce a usable, high-quality video of the deposition. Candidates must have taken the mandatory CLVS Certification Workshop first, available online through InReach. Candidates must complete the educational components prior to taking the CLVS Production exam. Candidates can take the CLVS WKT at any time, but we strongly encourage candidates to complete the educational components first as questions on the WKT are developed from the education provided.  Learn more about the CLVS program at NCRA.org/CLVS.

The CLVS Production Exam is administered two times a year: spring and fall (depending on interest). Please contact NCRA by calling 800-272-NCRA (6272) for more information, or contact the CLVS Staff.

NCRA members who hold another credential, such as the RPR, can earn 0.25 PDC each after passing the CLVS Written Knowledge Test and the CLVS Production exam.