NCRA gets you more than you think

NCRA offers members many different ways to invest in their futures, support the profession, and thrive in their careers. According to NCRA’s 2017 Member Needs Survey, members join NCRA for many reasons, including gaining access to national credentials, supporting the profession, and connecting with a national organization.

If you want to get the most out of your membership, consider how NCRA benefits you.

Respect from your clients, employers, and peers

Clients, employers, and peers know that people connected to a professional organization are more likely to know about and adhere to industry standards, ethical codes, and current policies — and NCRA members are the same in this regard. By being a part of the NCRA community of professionals, your clients, employers, and professional colleagues understand that you have made a commitment to your career and have a stake in maintaining the standards of the profession. Be proud of your commitment.

Showcase your NCRA membership with the NCRA member logo

Maximize your professional investment by marketing your achievements and membership. Did you know that NCRA offers a distinct NCRA member logo for use by NCRA members? You can include the NCRA member logo on your advertising, business, and other similar promotional materials as a way to denote your membership in the Association.

The NCRA member logo can only be used to designate individual membership, as only individuals can be members, and should not be used by companies or firms or in a way that implies a company is a member.

The NCRA member logo is not the same as the NCRA logo. If you are currently using the NCRA logo, please seek permission to use it, remove it from your materials, or consider whether the NCRA member logo would serve your purposes. More information about how members can use the NCRA member logo is part of NCRA’s Procedures & Policy Manual, which is available on NCRA.org. To access the most current version of the NCRA member logo, visit NCRA.org/Logos.

How to show off your NCRA credentials correctly

NCRA members who have earned an NCRA certification may use the certification or its abbreviation in their marketing materials as long as they maintain CEUs and pay annual dues. Be sure to enhance your marketing materials and website with your NCRA member and credential logos.

Discounts on office supplies, payroll services, movie tickets, and more

According to Chase Cost Management, workers in the legal professions spend an average of $1,000 per person per year on office supplies. That is a lot of folders, pens, and sticky notes. If those figures hold true for the professions of court reporting and captioning, NCRA members can easily recoup their annual NCRA membership dues just by taking advantage of the discounts available from Office Depot through the NCRA Saving Center.

NCRA Saving Center discounts at Office Depot provide members with savings up to 80 percent off office essentials. Some recent deals include expanding file folders that cost only 70 cents each. That’s a savings of $2.80 cents each. If you bought 100 file folders, you could recoup the cost of your NCRA membership in file-folder savings alone. Of course, other types of office supplies are available at discounted rates. To sign up for this benefit that is included in your NCRA membership, visit NCRA.savingcenter.net.

Other discounts available to NCRA members through the NCRA Saving Center include accounting and payroll services, access to a collection agency, credit card processing services, and discounts on entertainment deals, car rental fees, and access to telemedicine, health, and prescription drugs.

Connected to colleagues

Through NCRA social media pages, through NCRA events, and through JCR stories about members across the country and around the world, you learn more about what is going on in the profession and how your colleagues take on problems. NCRA members take to NCRA’s official Facebook groups to pose questions and offer solutions on day-to-day challenges, offer support for bad days and congratulations for milestones, and share the latest news affecting the professions. NCRA events offer informative presentations and inspiring speakers to break you out of the everyday grind and help you take the next step for you. NCRA’s publications give you nuggets of wisdom from other professionals that can help you build your career.

On your way to certification

No matter how you learn, we’ve got you covered. NCRA, in conjunction with Realtime Coach, offers a series of both videos and articles on the ins and outs of online testing. These videos and articles aid in preparing candidates for successful online skills testing. Your NCRA certification identifies you as a person interested in self-improvement, a career-minded individual, and a member of the professional community.

Year-round education opportunities

NCRA offers several ways to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) that offer the information you can use in your career, whether you are an official, freelancer, business owner, captioner, or legal videographer. From the inclusive and collaborative NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference for independent contractors, small agency owners, and large firm executives to the annual NCRA Convention & Expo for everyone; and from live webinars to series of e-seminars that you can access whenever and wherever you choose, NCRA’s extensive library has you covered.

Get the most from your membership

Your NCRA membership offers so much more than you might think — from member-exclusive discounts to networking opportunities to career-enhancing certifications. Is your membership up-to-date? Check your membership and profile information, including your email address, so you don’t miss announcements and news from NCRA. Visit NCRA.org to update your profile by April 15 and be listed in the printed 2018-2019 Sourcebook. Contact membership@ncra.org with questions.

Considerations when purchasing health insurance

Close-up view of doctor's lab coat with a stethoscope around the doctor's neck and and collection of pens in the pocketDetermining the right health care plan can be complicated, but help is available for NCRA members. NCRA has established a relationship with Mercer Marketplace, which makes an insurance solution available to members from the insurance agent and broker GetInsured. The open-enrollment deadline for health insurance, as required by federal law, is Dec. 15.

Members don’t have to examine each plan one by one because GetInsured considers all the available ACA-compliant health plans in their area and scores them by what individuals consider important:

  • Overall suitability
  • Monthly cost
  • Estimated out-of-pocket expense (e.g., deductibles and copays)
  • Which services are covered
  • Which doctors participate

Members can even narrow their coverage choices based on what matters most, whether it’s frequency of doctor visits, the number of prescriptions used, or other factors.

Comparing plans takes only minutes, and NCRA members pay nothing to use the online tool. Members are under no obligation to purchase anything, although they can secure coverage during the same online session (depending on where they live) or by calling the licensed GetInsured customer service agents at 866-454-6479.

Health insurance through Mercer is one of the many benefits that NCRA members can take advantage of. If you need insurance, don’t miss the Dec. 15 open-enrollment deadline.

8 questions for the winner of the Kindle Fire 8

Amanda Marvin, RPR, CRC, from Tomahawk, Wis., won the drawing for a Kindle Fire 8 by renewing her membership in October. A new professional, Marvin graduated from court reporting school in 2015 and has been working as a captioner for nine months, currently doing remote CART work “for several different college classes including biology, statistics, psychology, criminal justice, and commercial irrigation.”

“CART captioning was always my ultimate goal, and I am so happy that with the help of the Certified Realtime Captioner certification, I was able to start my career helping others and doing what I wanted to do,” she says. “I continue my membership in NCRA because it has given me a big advantage in employment for companies who hire captioners. They consider the certification as a standard of professionalism and proof of the skills needed to do a quality job.”

The JCR reached out to Marvin with eight questions to get to know her a little better.

  1. What is your favorite thing about doing remote captioning?

My favorite thing about doing remote captioning is the fact that I can stay at home and have a flexible schedule that allows me to get my kids to school and their after-school activities.

  1. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned while captioning for college classes?

I have learned that there are an enormous amount of biology terms that can be pronounced several different ways. I learn something new in that class every single day.

  1. What is your most memorable moment from court reporting school?

My most memorable moment from court reporting school was probably when I passed my first 225 test. School was a long, hard road, and that was a very exhilarating experience.

  1. What was the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far as a working professional, and how did you do so?

One of my biggest challenges is numbers and fingerspelling. Practicing, along with writing a statistics course and fingerspelling pop-up biology terms, has made me a better overall writer.

  1. What do you always include in your “elevator pitch” when you tell people what you do for a living?

I tell them I do CART, which most people aren’t familiar with. So then I tell them that it’s captioning what the professor says for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. I also make sure to tell them how there are many more people needed in the field, so if they know anyone who may be interested to let them know about it.

  1. What is your favorite benefit of being an NCRA member?

My favorite benefit of being an NCRA member is reading JCRs and the great wealth of information that is included in them as well as being able to list my certifications on my résumé.

  1. Before I became one, I never knew that captioners …

… had to put so much research and prep into doing a good job.

  1. What is your dream reporting or captioning assignment?

I would love to caption somewhere locally so people can see and understand what I do for a living.

 

Haven’t renewed yet? Members can take advantage of Black Friday discounts and giveaways, including purchase of membership renewals. Mark your calendars for Nov. 24.

NCRA Saving Center adds new benefits

NCRA’s Saving Center has expanded to include new personal benefits in addition to the current business discounts. The new benefits have been automatically added to NCRA’s program and will be featured on the Saving Center soon. New benefits include:

  • Savings up to 60 percent on tickets to top attractions, theme parks, shows, sporting events, movies, and more as well as discounts on dining and hotels
  • A downloadable RX discount card that can save users up to 75 percent on prescription drugs not covered by insurance; the card is accepted at more than 68,000 pharmacies nationwide and covers the cardholder, family members, and pets
  • Free membership in the Rewards Mall that offers cash back on online purchases from more than 1,200 stores along with stack coupons and store offers
  • Discounts on car rentals from Avis and Budget, including waived additional driver fees, airport surcharges, and late fees as well as Avis Preferred and Budget Fastbreak services for counter by-pass amenities

NCRA members can sign up for the Saving Center for free and save on an array of products and services provided by nationally recognized vendors. The Saving Center is administered by Windfall Savings.

To learn more about what the Saving Center offers NCRA members or to sign up, go to NCRA.SavingCenter.net. Alternately, contact the Windfall Savings member care team at 888-868-4030 or membercare@savingcenter.net.

New benefits for NCRA members now available

Photo by epSos .de

Photo by epSos .de

NCRA members are invited to take advantage of new benefits designed to save them money on a variety of products and services. These benefits are through the Association’s long-time partnership with Mercer and new participation in Windfall Savings’ Saving Center.

Mercer Health & Benefits Administration is now offering affordable cyber liability insurance through Edgewater Holdings. The insurance is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, network damage, and third-party lawsuits due to loss of privacy. Mercer has provided NCRA members with customized insurance plans for 50 years.

The latest benefit for NCRA members is a new Saving Center, administered by Windfall Savings. The Saving Center includes 16 suppliers such as Office Depot, FedEx, payroll services, and more. There is no cost for NCRA members to sign up.

NCRA members can easily buy in-store or online from Office Depot by using a personalized purchase card. Discounts include:

  • up to 80 percent off Office Depot’s business-select catalog
  • 15 percent off retail Web prices on 3,000 of its most popular products
  • additional savings on 93,000 products discounted below retail cost

Other Office Depot products and services include emailed monthly specials, access to coupons online, and discounts on photocopy services.

The Saving Center also includes FedEx services, such as:

  • ground parcel service with no minimum shipping requirements
  • up to 54 percent off the list rate on select priority overnight and standard overnight deliveries within the United States

Other discounts are also available on the Express Saver, select ground services, and international services offered by FedEx.

The Saving Center also includes USPAY, which provides credit card processing services, software, and equipment; Hotel Engine, which provides savings on more than 40,000 hotels worldwide with rates not available to the public; and more:

  • ADP payroll services
  • Sterling Talent Solutions
  • WellCloudMD
  • com
  • YRC freight shipping services
  • Merchology
  • EarthLink
  • CDW computers, components, software, and electronics
  • Backblaze
  • Transworld collection services
  • 4imprint
  • Lifelock identity theft protection services

To learn more about what the Saving Center offers NCRA members or to register to sign up, go to NCRA.SavingCenter.net. Alternately, contact the Windfall Savings member care team at 888-868-4030 or membercare@savingcenter.net.

NCRA announces new benefits for members

computer keyboard

Photo by: Anonymous Account

2017 is an exciting time to be a member of NCRA. The Association has announced a plethora of new benefits designed to save members money on a variety of products and services through a long-time partnership with Mercer and a newly established relationship with Windfall Savings.

As of Jan. 1, 2017, Mercer Health & Benefits Administration will offer cyber liability insurance through Edgewater Holdings. The insurance is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, network damage, and third-party lawsuits due to loss of privacy. Mercer has provided NCRA members with customized insurance plans for 50 years.

Also new to the member benefits basket beginning Jan. 1 is access to savings on dozens of products and services through a new partnership between NCRA and Windfall Savings. Windfall is one program that administers discounts for 16 suppliers with no cost to sign up.

NCRA members can easily buy in-store or online from Office Depot by using a personalized purchase card provided by Windfall Savings. Discounts include:

  • up to 80 percent off Office Depot’s business select catalog
  • 15 percent off retail Web prices on 3,000 of its most popular products
  • additional savings on 93,000 products discounted below retail cost

Other Office Depot products and services include emailed monthly specials, access to coupons online, and discounts on photocopy services.

“There is nothing more valuable than the benefits a professional organization can provide its members,” said NCRA’s Executive Director and CEO Mike Nelson, CAE. “NCRA’s new partnership with Windfall Savings and the addition of cyber insurance through Mercer reflects the Association’s strong commitment to helping its members grow their businesses, and we are excited about the savings that both of these companies offer.”

The Windfall Savings partnership also includes savings on FedEx services, including:

  • ground parcel service with no minimum shipping requirements
  • up to 54 percent off the list rate on select priority overnight and standard overnight deliveries within the United States

Other discounts are also available on the Express Saver, select ground services, and international services offered by FedEx.

The Windfall Savings partnership with NCRA also includes USPAY, which provides credit card processing services, software, and equipment; Hotel Engine, which provides savings on more than 40,000 hotels worldwide with rates not available to the general public; and more:

  • ADP payroll services
  • Sterling Talent Solutions
  • WellCloudMD
  • AccountingDepartment.com
  • YRC
  • Merchology
  • EarthLink
  • CDW
  • Backblaze
  • Transworld collection services
  • 4imprint
  • Lifelock identity theft protection services

Finally, as part of NCRA’s continued commitment to provide resources to help members build stronger businesses, classified advertisements are being accepted for inclusion in the JCR monthly print magazine. With special member pricing, the print classifieds further complement NCRA’s online classified advertising opportunities. Both the online and print classified advertising opportunities provide a convenient, cost-effective way for members to sell products and professional services. Members can rely on NCRA’s classified ads as an optimal way to connect with their targeted marketplace when they want to advertise their services, sell equipment, or place recruiting ads for professional opportunities.

Watch for more information about the Windfall Savings partnership and the products and services available to NCRA members who sign up for it. Information about Mercer and the various insurance plans offered to NCRA members can be found at NCRA.org\membership. For more information about classified advertising in the JCR, visit NCRA.org\classifieds.

NCRA Kindle Fire winner announced

By Jennifer Late

More prizes available for membership renewal

A record number of members have renewed their 2017 membership in October. These renewals were driven in part by a chance to win a Kindle Fire.

NCRA membership renewal Kindle Fire winner

The lucky winner for October 2016 is Karla Jagusch, RPR, of Overland Park, Kan. She has been a court reporter for over 38 years, 36 of which she has been an official court reporter for the First and Tenth Judicial Districts of the State of Kansas. Karla explains why she renewed her membership: “I feel it is important and my obligation to support the association that supports me as a court reporter.”

Click here to renew now!

Photo by: Erik Araujo. Used and adapted with permission via Creative Commons

Renew before Dec. 1 and be entered to win

Members still have a chance to be rewarded for renewing before Dec. 1. NCRA will give away an upgraded Premium Plus listing on the online NCRA Sourcebook. Any Registered, Participating, or Associate member who has renewed before Dec. 1 will have their name entered into a drawing for this upgraded listing for January through December 2017.

NCRA continues to work for its members

  • Online skills testing: Whether you are just starting testing for your RPR or going for your CRC or another advanced certification, you can now complete your skills tests from the comfort of your own home. With more opportunities to test, you will be able to achieve your certification goals faster and increase your earning potential.
  • CRC Workshop & Certification: Based on member demand for more training in the field, NCRA created the new Certified Realtime Captioner program designed just for captioners.
  • FCC Captioning Quality Standards: NCRA’s Government Relations team has been working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance and the Federal Communications Commission to develop new captioning quality standards.
  • Increased online education opportunities: NCRA has expanded its first-class educational programming via webinars and e-seminars vetted to ensure they meet the needs of the marketplace. New online webinars and e-seminars are added each month for members to purchase, view, and earn CEUs.
  • Exhibiting at the ABA TechShow: NCRA has been advocating for you with judges, attorneys, paralegals, clerks, and other legal professionals. With a focus on what your certifications mean and the value of realtime, NCRA is raising the overall awareness of the profession with the people who matter.
  • For CLVS members: A stronger CLVS emphasis was added to the NCRA Convention & Expo, helping videographers network directly with the court reporting membership. By popular demand, new seminars and webinars were created to help CLVSs stay on the cutting edge of technology.

NCRA membership cards

In an effort to embrace technology, NCRA will continue our practice of sending only electronic membership cards to members via email. Members can expect to receive their membership card within approximately four weeks of renewing if they have a valid email address and have not previously opted out of Constant Contact email messaging.

Jennifer Late is NCRA’s Membership & Marketing Manager. She can be reached at jlate@ncra.org.

NCRA partnership with Excelsior College provides members education opportunities at reduced cost

JCR publications share buttonNCRA has announced a new partnership with Excelsior College, Albany, N.Y., an accredited, nonprofit educational institution, to offer members and their spouses or domestic partners the opportunity to pursue higher learning education at a reduced tuition rate. The agreement is part of NCRA’s continuing efforts to build the industry and business skills of current and future members by supporting member career development.

“The partnership with Excelsior is the latest in the growing number of benefits NCRA is committed to providing its members,” said Mike Nelson, CAE, the Association’s CEO and Executive Director. “We recognize that education is important to NCRA members, and we are very excited about this opportunity to provide access to higher education that is accessible, affordable, and recognizes professional experience.”

Read more.

NCRA offers members information on issues, state requirements

Members can find information on the certification, notary, and read-and-sign requirements of various states through the National Court Reporters Association website. This section of the website, which members must sign in to access, was compiled through NCRA’s Government Relations department and the National Committee of State Associations (NCSA). Dubbed the “State of the Nation Activities Report,” or SONAR, the data bank provides state leaders the information they need when dealing with state or national issues. In addition, SONAR can give members a way to compare various pieces of information across the states. These include certification requirements, certification boards, official fee schedule, firm registration, notary requirements, pay rates for officials, read-and-sign requirements, and state tax rules. It also allows members to look up information by state, so that members who are considering a move to a different state can research the requirements. If any of the information on your state is out of date, contact Adam Finkel at afinkel@ncra.org. Information on this can be found at NCRA.org/SONAR.

The value of membership

ValueofmembershipWhat are the primary reasons that court reporters and captioners become and stay members of NCRA? In many surveys, members have listed the JCR and the JCR Weekly, which keep them informed of the latest news in the profession; their hard-earned national certifications, which offer them ways to highlight their skills and professionalism; the many continuing education and networking opportunities available through NCRA; and many other benefits as reasons they join and renew their membership.

But for a more personal take, the JCR reached out to a few members who told us why they think belonging to NCRA is so important, not only for them, but for others as well.

“There is no better way to stay informed about reporting than through the JCR and attending conventions. Being a dues-paying member means you belong to the association that represents one of the great professions, ours, and interacts with another, the law,” said Patric Martin of Bethesda, Md., who joined when he first started reporting in 1978.

“I have always liked seeing what is going on in the profession and being able to read about issues and new things on the horizon. The best benefit, I believe, is the equipment and liability insurance. I have also started using Amplify for deep discounts at Staples. I’ve already saved more than $100 this year on paper, toner, and my regular office supplies,” said Elsa Jorgensen of Birmingham, Mich., who has been a participating member of NCRA since 2002 when she transitioned from student membership.

“It’s good to be aware of issues affecting reporters,” continues Jorgensen. “Even though there may be disagreement on certain things, we’re still stronger as a group than as individuals.”

“I’ve held membership with NCRA since the moment I found about it,” said Katherine Schilling, a student member who is based in San Jose, Calif. “When I first started my membership, I only had my eye on getting the monthly JCR magazine as part of it. The JCR has always held a special place in my heart because it was integral to my falling in love with the profession. I’ll never forget the first article I read, ‘A Day in the Life,’ when I found a stack of magazines in the classroom. After that, I was hooked. Just a year later, the annual NCRA Convention & Expo was coming to my backyard, San Francisco, and I learned what a benefit it is to be a student member so that I could get the student member registration rate.”

“The professional tips, ideas, and information are vital to keeping your career interesting and moving forward. Through the NCRA, we can learn from the best of the best,” said Jorgensen. “I look up to so many reporters and, because of them, I aspire to always be a better writer, a better professional, and a better representative of this amazing career.”

Martin, who works at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., recently paid for a number of student memberships so that financially conscious students who were interested in being part of NCRA could be involved.

“When a student gets out of school and is ready to become a working reporter, having a couple years of NCRA membership under their belt gives them a head start,” Martin says. “NCRA has ways to help, and unless you are a member you won’t be able to take advantage of them, the least of which is just reading the JCR and what working reporters and new reporters have to say. More than likely, you will encounter the same issues you will read about.”

“Nowadays, the value of my membership is most evident in the RPR tests,” says Schilling. “I am currently striving to pass the final leg of the RPR, and I now see my membership as giving me access to these tests several times a year. Looking back on it, it’s interesting to see how the value I’ve placed on my NCRA membership has evolved as I’ve progressed through my school career. I guess I could say that my NCRA membership has evolved with me.”

“Over my 38 years in the profession, I’ve let my membership and my certifications lapse. I’ve passed the RMR twice, as well as the CRR, but currently don’t hold those certifications,” said Martin. “There is no excuse, really, and I can only say life intervened. But, as you go forward, become a member, strive for certifications, and don’t let them go. They are golden, as is NCRA. I encountered a reporter from Boston, Mass., in New York City last year, who happened to be in town, but not for our fantastic convention. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t support the profession by simply being a member. And she was quite open on how well she was doing. So, why can’t you support the profession by being a member, I wondered. Her answer was, ‘They don’t need my support.’ That is one of the greatest fallacies ever uttered. Now more than ever, every single member counts.”