Pennsylvania court reporter gets perfect score on an online skills test

Alison Moffett, Elizabethtown, Pa., recently scored a perfect score on the RPR literary skills test.

“Congratulations to Alison!” said Eva Liu, NCRA Certification and Testing Program Manager. “It’s extremely hard to match word for word on a test to get a perfect score, but it’s not impossible.”

JCR Weekly asked Moffett for more information about her perfect score.

JCR Weekly | When did you take the test?

Moffett | I took the test on April 30 around 7:30 in the morning. I had previously had problems with internet connectivity and losing my connection during the middle of the exam, so I wanted to take it at a time when less people would hopefully be using the internet.

 JCR Weekly | Are you working as a court reporter? Where? How long?

Moffett |Yes, I work as an official in the courthouse in York County, Pa., for just 3.5 years.

 JCR Weekly | Why did you decide to test for your RPR?

Moffett | We provide realtime for nearly all of the judges and occasionally some attorneys, and I would like to earn my CRR. Getting my RPR is the first step towards that goal!

 JCR Weekly | How did you prepare?

Moffett |I did the practice tests in Realtime Coach a couple times, but the most important thing was practicing the testing procedures so you aren’t overly anxious when it comes time to test.

 JCR Weekly | How did you think you did when you finished the test?

Moffett |I thought I did pretty well.

 JCR Weekly | How did you react when you got your score?

Moffett | I was excited but also had to leave to go to work, so I didn’t have much time to celebrate except for a quick call to my fiancé.

  JCR Weekly | How do you think having your RPR will help you?

 Moffett | It will allow me to get further certifications such as CRR or CRC  and open up other options for careers going forward!

  JCR Weekly | When do you plan on taking the next test?

 Moffett |After the wedding! In all seriousness, I plan on practicing over the summer and testing in the fall. The last leg I need is the Q&A.

Get the edge by attending NCRA’s CRR Boot Camp

Professionals considering taking the Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) test have the opportunity to gain an advantage by attending the CRR Boot Camp being offered at the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo in Denver, Colo., being held Aug. 15-18.

NCRA’s CRR certification represents realtime pro­ficiency for those who earn it as it is recognized in the industry as the national certification of real­time competency. Holding the CRR also can lead to an increase in salary, as noted by a number of recent NCRA surveys.

“As the CRR Chief Examiner in Massachu­setts, I saw so many candidates come back time and time again to take the certification test. It was bittersweet. They couldn’t pass, but they kept trying,” said Kathryn Sweeney, FAPR, RMR, CRR, a freelance reporter and agency owner from Acton, Mass., who helped develop the boot camp pro­gram and who will be teaching it at the NCRA Convention & Expo.

“The idea of the boot camp came about when the Board of the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association (MCRA) approached me with ques­tions as to why there were not more people pass­ing the CRR exam and what I could do to maybe help those candidates,” said Sweeney, who also served as a beta tester for NCRA’s online testing system and as CRR Chief Examiner on behalf of the Association for 17 years.

“They gave me two hours and a place to give a seminar back in October of 2009. It was originally named ‘Ready? Begin.’ Those are the two most dreaded words for even the most skilled court reporter,” Sweeney said.

Because it was felt that the original name of the program might actually scare people away, it was renamed the CRR Dress Rehearsal. Over the years, however, said Sweeney, the presentation turned into a three-hour session and was appro­priately renamed again to the CRR Boot Camp.

Word about the program has been spreading across states, according to Sweeney, who has been presenting the session all across the country, with more state associations contacting her about presenting it at their meetings.

Unlike NCRA’s newest certification, the Certi­fied Realtime Captioner (CRC), which requires participation in a 10-hour workshop before being able to take the test, the CRR Boot Camp is not a prerequisite for taking the CRR test. However, said Sweeney, it can certainly help with increasing the chances of passing on the first take.

In the course, she explains to attendees the testing requirements, covers NCRA’s What is an Error?, discusses what is not an error, and talks about the online testing process. She also offers tips on working on 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 are also asked to bring their equipment with them because Sweeney said she also lets them take a couple of practice tests, as well as manipulate the system settings and dictionary entries.

“There is so much material. Even if just one thing I teach resonates with an attendee, one thing that they can go back and fix or change, it may just be the one thing that pushes them over the hump and gets them that CRR desig­nation,” said Sweeney.

One reason she attributes the program’s success in helping CRR candidates be suc­cessful in passing the test is because much of the material she covers about being prepared includes information often missed, such has having flash drives or SD cards properly for­matted, which is included in the recommended reading on the testing website and contained in the pre-test emails they receive.

“The most frustrating part of being the proc­tor at brick-and-mortar testing sites was that I could not help the candidates. It was simply not allowed. They were supposed to just know all this stuff. Heck, candidates showed up without their driver’s license because they didn’t know they needed to show it to me,” she said.

“I strongly believe taking the CRR Boot Camp will increase the chance of passing this test. When I finished my presentation in Geor­gia, a woman who already had her CRR came up to me and said that she wished this seminar was around when she was preparing for the test; that it had all of the information and steps that she muddled through on her own. She said it took years of figuring out what was being asked of her and then changing her writing and learning her equipment and software in order to pass,” Sweeney said. “With this boot camp, I can help you in three hours.”

Perhaps the greatest benefit of taking the CRR Boot Camp is that attendees will know if they’re ready to take the test or not, while those who have taken the test before will realize why they didn’t pass, she noted.

“I am a huge proponent of not throwing money away. If you’re not quite ‘there’ yet, then don’t spend (the money) on this test. You will learn what you need to work on before you take the plunge and sign up for the test. You will know when you’re ready, instead of just winging it and hoping for the best,” Sweeney added. “The CRR really is the easiest test you’ll ever fail. But why fail at all? Learn what you need to do in order to pass. Come to my boot camp!”

Sweeney, who has been a court reporter for 28 years, served eight years on her state association’s Board of Directors, two years as president, and recently joined as a director again in April.

To earn the CRR certification, professionals are required to hold the Registered Profes­sional Reporter (RPR) certification, be a current member of NCRA, and pass a realtime testi­mony skills test at 200 words per minute with 96 percent accuracy.

For more information about or to register for NCRA’s CRR Boot Camp and the 2019 Convention & Expo, visit NCRA.org/events.

Why certifications are beneficial – according to members

If you are interested in earning an NCRA certification, official reporter Cindy Shearman, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Vail, Ariz., advises: “Keep on keeping on. You only fail when you quit trying to earn the certification.”

People have many different reasons for earning NCRA certifications – from it being required in their state, to the increased pay it brings, to the confidence and sense of accomplishment they feel about earning a new set of letters behind their names. The JCR Weekly reached out to several NCRA members during Celebrate Certification Month to learn more about why they earned their certifications and what the benefits are.

“I wanted to continue to improve my skills and qualifications and, on some of my jobs, there was a pay increase associated with an additional certification,” says Shearman. “I feel the certifications help my self-confidence and also have helped in obtaining employment and salary increases. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I earn another certification.”

“While I was a court reporting student at MacCormac College, we were encouraged – no, expected – to achieve the RPR in addition to the required CSR. After I passed my RPR, I wanted to continue to distinguish myself and earn the respect of my family, mentors, and peers,” says Sabrina Lewis, RDR, CRR, who works as an official court reporter in Birmingham, Ala.

Freelancer Marvie Votaw, RPR, CRR, of San Diego, Calif., said that she earned her NCRA certifications “to become more employable and later on [to receive] higher pay.” She says that earning her certifications gave her everything she was hoping for — better opportunities and higher pay – and that she is proud of her accomplishments.

“Having credibility behind my name was always important to me, so I sat for the RPR WKT when I started high speed classes in court reporting school,” says captioner and freelance court reporter Donna Karoscik, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Lancaster, Ohio. “After graduating, I took the skills portion and passed. At the time my employer did not require certifications and, being a new reporter with student loans, I let the RPR lapse for financial reasons. Wouldn’t you know it, a few months later the firm I worked for set a policy that all reporters needed to obtain any and all certifications we could, with the RPR being the required base-level certification? I took it the next time it was offered, passed all four legs, and will never let it lapse again.”

“One of the key benefits I have experienced is my certification credentials help me stand out from a sea of reporters. I’ve also worked for employers who paid more for higher certifications – both freelance and court,” says official reporter and captioner Allison Kimmel, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Marysville, Ohio.

Captioner Kathryn Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Caseyville, Ill., shared that she earned her certifications “to show to others (and myself) that I’m always working on upgrading my skills.” In addition, she points out that the credentials increased her confidence in her skills. “It’s something specific and concrete I can point to, to say, ‘I’ve achieved this goal.’”

The many benefits of certification

Lewis went on to list all the ways that credentials were worth the time and effort: “First, your credentials speak for you. For example, attorneys or reporting agencies utilizing the NCRA Sourcebook are able to search for reporters by type of credential; i.e., RPR, CRR, etc. I have gotten countless referrals this way. Second, when a position needed to be filled on the state licensing board, my national certifications brought me to the attention of the nominating committee; I was appointed to the Alabama Board of Court Reporting. That service then led to a position on the board of the Alabama Court Reporters Association. Last, but not least, because of my credentials, I am at the top of the pay scale as a federal official court reporter.”

“I gained a new level of confidence with each credential I earned. That confidence increased my love for and commitment to the profession. I became more active in and encouraged others to get more involved in the court reporting and legal communities,” says Lewis. “Your credentials show the world that you believe in yourself and you believe in the importance of your profession.”

Karoscik agreed that both the recognition and the financial benefits were important benefits. However, she said: “I have always felt it is important to stay current on technology and information within the court reporting and captioning professions, even if they don’t directly apply to my current position. If I am asked questions about why we do this or why we don’t do that, I want to know the answer. It makes us more credible members of the business world. In my opinion, knowledge is invaluable, especially when marketing yourself, your business, and your skills as a reporter.”

Some advice on pursuing NCRA certification

When asked for advice to others who are pursuing NCRA credentials, Votaw urges: “Get as many as you can!”

“My best advice for others pursuing credentials is to take them seriously and take the time to adequately prepare. Preparation is key! Practice above the skills test speeds – including the CRR and the CRC. Look through the Job Analysis for whichever WKT exam is being taken, review the NCRA website, and examine books from school days on legal and medical terminology,” says Kimmel.

“Practice until you are better than the test,” advises Thomas. “Test nerves are ubiquitous, and for any student reading this, they never fully go away. You’ve got to work with and around the nerves until you are better than your nerves.”

When it comes to the skills tests, Karoscik says: “Practice at least 20 wpm faster than the dictation you’re trying to pass. Practice difficult, dense literary. Nowadays it is easy to find dictation on YouTube. There are social media outlets just for practicing. Rich Germosen, RDR, CRR, has an excellent dictation library which he shared with me. Eileen Beltz, CRI, CPE, has a vast YouTube presence with her dictation as well. I turn it on to practice for upcoming assignments or if I’ve been on vacation and away from the keyboard for a while. Don’t wait to try. Confidence works wonders. You can do it!”

Online skills testing moves to block schedule June 1

Beginning June 1, NCRA skills testing registration will start following a new block schedule designed to make registration easier and more efficient for test candidates.

Under the new block scheduling, registration for skills tests will be open every other month, with candidates registering in the first 20 days of the registration month. Test candidates will be able to choose their test day from the first 20 days of the month following the registration month.

For example, candidates can register for their next skills test between June 1 and June 20 and test between July 1 and July 20.

For the remainder of this year, registration blocks will be August (for testing in September), October (for testing in November), and December (for testing in January 2020).

For more information about block scheduling, visit NCRA.org/testing.

NCRA’s CRR and CRC certifications showcase realtime skills

To mark the 2019 Celebrate Certification Month, all through May we will take a look in each week’s JCR Weekly at the certifications offered by NCRA.

NCRA’s Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) certifications reflect that the professionals who hold one or both are at the top of their game when it comes to providing first-rate and accurate realtime services.

Earning the nationally recognized CRR certification signifies that the professional who has received it has demonstrated their timely knowledge of cutting-edge realtime technology and proficiency and accuracy of reporting. CRR credentials ensure a reporter is an expert in the specialized field of realtime reporting. They are highly sought after because of their proven precision in reporting and ability to deliver high-quality realtime services.

Vanessa Alyce

“Acquiring my CRR certification gives me such a great sense of accomplishment, and it has actually enhanced my confidence in my abilities as a reporter,” said Vanessa Alyce, RPR, from Las Cruces, N.M., who earned her CRR in January.

“NCRA’s certification program is a great way to measure our skills as reporters and serves as a testament to the professionalism of the court reporting industry,” added Alyce, who has worked as both a freelance and official reporter for a little more than 26 years.

Marla Faith Knox

“This CRR certification has reinvigorated my career and the path I chose 24 years ago to become a court reporter,” said Marla Faith Knox, RPR, an official court reporter from Phoenix, Ariz., who earned her CRR in May 2018.

“This journey has brought me wonderful friendships with colleagues around the country. I have been able to help countless litigants, judges, and attorneys along the way, as well as the hard-of-hearing community. Being a member of NCRA is incredibly rewarding as they are advocates for a profession that has continually provided for me and my family,” Knox added.

To be recognized as a CRR, candidates must hold the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification and have passed, with high accuracy, tests that include equipment set-up, accurate realtime writing, and prove they hold a thorough knowledge of realtime technology.

The CRC certification acknowledges proficiency in language skills and in realtime writing in the broadcast and CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) environments. It was implemented in August 2015 to provide NCRA members with a higher level of captioning training and the resources they need to transition to providing captioning services. The certification reflects the combined training of the previous certifications Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) and Certified CART Provider (CCP). The CRC certification was developed to increase realtime proficiency and certify more individuals in providing realtime services. CRCs are highly sought after because of their expertise in this very specific field of reporting.

Greta Bourgeois

Greta Bourgeois, from Nashville, Tenn., has worked as a captioner for six years and earned her CRC in January. She is currently a freelance captioner and CART provider for three firms.

“I attended my first NCRA national convention in 2018, and being around so many talented professionals inspired me to pursue this certification. I know having my CRC will help me achieve my career goals,” Bourgeois said.

Laura Axelsen, RPR, CRR, from Vacaville, Calif., also earned her CRC in January. She has worked as a court reporter for 35 years and currently works as a freelance court reporter, a broadcast captioner, a CART provider, and a certified life coach.

“I love my career and never want to stop. Striving for these and other certifications keeps my relationship with my career fun and makes me a better professional after all,” Axelsen said.

To be recognized as a CRC, candidates must successfully complete a captioning workshop provided by NCRA and a skills exam that is a realtime dictation of 180 words per minute on literary matter.

For more information about earning your CRR or CRC or any other NCRA professional certifications, visit NCRA.org/Certification.

The RDR is NCRA’s most prestigious certification

To mark the 2019 Celebrate Certification Month, all through May we will take a look in each week’s JCR Weekly at the certifications offered by NCRA.

Lisa Mayo and Candace Covey

NCRA’s Registered Diplomat Reporter (RDR) is recognized as the Association’s most prestigious certification because it is a direct reflection of the commitment to advancement in a court reporter’s career and professional growth. RDRs are the elite members of the court reporting and captioning field when it comes to experience and knowledge of the latest technology, reporting practices, and professional practices. To date, less than 500 members of NCRA hold the certification.

Earlier this month, Candace Covey, CRR, and Lisa Mayo, CRR, added the RDR certification to their dossiers. Both women are official court reporters for a federal court in Memphis, Tenn., and now represent two of the only three NCRA members who hold the RDR in that town.

“I earned the CRR (Certified Realtime Reporter) to prove to myself I was competent to offer realtime to clients,” said Covey. “I earned the RMR just to prove to myself I was fast enough to be in court. For me the RDR was just a challenge and the next step in the progression,” she said.

“The biggest reason for taking this test was knowing there was one more out there that I hadn’t passed yet,” added Mayo. “There was a constant little voice reminding me it was still hanging out there.” 

It took multiple times for both Covey and Mayo to earn the RDR. For Covey, it was twice. For Mayo the third time was the charm. After taking the test for the first time, Covey said she swore she was not going to pay any more money to fail the tests. “So I bought the books and made Lisa study too,” she noted.

And the feeling they had when they were notified that they passed?

“My immediate thought was I can finally have a hobby!” said Covey, who has been a court reporter since 1996.

“When I walked outside of the testing room, I was so nervous,” Mayo said. “I knew I had done all I could do, but the nerves were still there. Walking to the counter to see the results flipped over, I was all butterflies. There was such joy when I turned it over and saw ‘passed’ on there. I have to admit, I hugged the sweet lady at the counter. To say I was thrilled is an understatement,” added Mayo who has been a court reporter for 30 years. 

Both agree that the benefits of earning the RDR are not just personal but could lead to more opportunities should they ever leave the world of official court reporting. On a personal level, earning the RDR gave each of them a great deal of confidence.

“The RDR has given me a sense of empowerment. I tend to not be very consistent; through getting the RDR I have proven to myself I can stay the course. Even through the fails,” Covey said.  

For Mayo, earning the RDR meant not having to study anymore and like Covey, earning her free time back.

“I feel like each certification has represented a different phase in my career,” she said. “I think this has been a great reminder to my children to keep going for it. What a better example than seeing that their mom took this test three times before passing it. She didn’t give up.”  

Covey and Mayo both agree it is never too late to work on achieving goals and said they would encourage others to never stop investing in themselves.

But first comes the RMR

To be recognized as a RDR, candidates must hold the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) certification and have five current and continuous years of membership in the NCRA, as well as pass a written knowledge test that focuses on the areas of technology, reporting practices, and professional practices.

RMRs have demonstrated their ability to produce a high-quality verbatim record. The certification distinguishes stenographic court reporters and captioners who hold it as being among the top contributors to the profession in terms of reporting skills, transcript production, operating practices, and professionalism.

Earning the RMR credential is quite a step forward in a court reporter’s career, especially given the amount of preparation and knowledge that successful candidates must possess to pass. RMRs are among the top stenographic court reporters in the profession and are often offered greater opportunities for challenging and lucrative job assignments. NCRA currently has approximately 3,000 members who hold this prestigious certification.

In February, Theresa Ann Vorkapic, CRR, a court reporter from Geneva, Ill., who works for Esquire Deposition Solutions in Chicago, earned her RMR certification. In March, Diana Osberg, from Malibu, Calif, a court reporter for HG Deposition and Litigation Support, also earned her RMR.

“Becoming a court reporter was undoubtedly one of the best decisions of my life. I am so proud to have earned my certifications and to be a member of a great organization like NCRA which recognizes and fosters the many skills needed to do this job,” said Vorkapic, who has worked as a court reporter for 30 years.

“As an agency owner with a deep respect and admiration for the profession of the Guardian of the Record, and especially with the lightning speed of advancing technology that will continue to be adapted to service our legal community, continuing stenographic acceleration and proficiency is critical to stay abreast, current, and at the top of our game,” added Osberg, who has also worked as a court reporter for 30 years.

For more information about earning your RMR or RDR or any other NCRA professional certifications, visit NCRA.org/Certification.

Pass around the cards and Celebrate Certification Month

NCRA’s Celebrate Certification Month resource page has an array of items members can use to help celebrate their certifications and showcase their high-level skills to current and potential customers and clients, like our new certification and occupation cards.

Members can download the two-sided cards and print them on Avery brand perforated business card paper available at office supply stores. The cards are laid out with 10 to fit on one sheet of paper. They measure three-and-one-half inches wide by two inches tall. The cards are designed to help members creatively share with others more information about what they do and what their certifications mean.

Celebrate Certification Month Business Cards

There are two versions of these cards that feature either ‘May is Celebrate Certification Month’ or  ‘Celebrate Certification Month’ artwork with the website on the front side and two customizable reverse sides that read ‘Are you certified’ or ‘Ask me about my NCRA certification’.

Certification Specific Cards

Certification-specific business cards can be used all yearlong not just during the month of May. Downloadable cards include the RPR, RMR, RDR, CRR, CRC, and the CLVS. The backside of each card includes information about what the certification means and what it takes to earn it. The cards are also customizable. Each of these can be found at the Celebrate Certification Month resource page under the heading Professional Cards.

Occupational Business Cards

Like the certification specific business cards, these cards can also be downloaded and used throughout the year. The front side of these cards include CART provider, Freelance Court Reporter, Legal Videographer, Legislative Court Reporter, Official Court Reporter, and Legislative Court Reporter. The reverse side card includes information about salary potential, a job description, and the required education needed to enter the field. In addition, these can be customized with the user’s name and contact information or be printed with the DiscoverSteno site for more information. Each of these can be found at the Celebrate Certification Month resource page under the heading Professional Cards.

The idea for the cards was the result of similar occupational cards shared with NCRA by Linda C. Larson, RPR, CRI a freelance court reporter firm owner from Carlisle, Pa., and President-Elect of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association (PCRA). Larson said the idea came from a gubernatorial candidate who visited a committee she serves on with her local chamber of commerce. The candidate shared a pack of career cards that featured workforce careers such as different types of engineers, welding, pipefitting, and more.

“When I saw the cards, I thought of court reporting. PCRA has been putting a lot of effort into marketing court reporting to potential students, and I envisioned creating cards with Realtime Broadcast Captioner, CART Reporter, Legislative Reporter, Freelance Reporter, and Official Court Reporter, showcasing the five different types of court reporters,” said Larson.

“As President-Elect of PCRA, I shared the idea for the cards at the next Board meeting and showed them. The Board was enthusiastic about creating some of our own. I was then appointed as the Chairman of the Baseball Card Committee.”

Larson said the committee sought models for the different cards, secured the information for the back sides and then worked with a local print shop to create them. The cards were packed in packs and were officially distributed to members at PCRA’s convention held in April.

“There was quite a bit of interest in the cards,” Larson said. The packets of cards she distributed will be going to career fairs and to individuals interested in learning more about careers in court reporting and captioning.

“I’ve been carrying the cards with me when I work and handing them out to people who show interest in court reporting. Pennsylvania is divided into eight districts, and we have a district director on the board in each area that will also be distributing the cards,” Larson added.

A reminder to NCRA members who want to mark the 2019 Celebrate Certification Month by working toward earning one, from now through May 15, members can save when they register for RPR, RMR, CRR, or CRC skills tests. There’s no better time than certification month to earn a nationally recognized professional certification from NCRA to boost your skills and your career potential. During the special rate offering, students taking the RPR Skills Test will pay $65 for each leg, while members will pay $80 for each RPR or RMR Skills Test leg. In addition, members can take advantage of a discounted price of $180 for the CRR or CRC Skills Tests, while students will pay only $150 for a CRC Skills Test.

Throughout the entire month of May, members can also save an additional 10 percent on all purchases from the NCRA Store when they use the special savings code MAY10.

Be sure to visit the Celebrate Certification Month resource page to choose from the many downloadable materials designed to help NCRA celebrate their certifications.

For more information about the 2019 Celebrate Certification Month, contact pr@ncra.org. Share with NCRA how you celebrate the month by sending information to pr@ncra.org.

A behind-the-camera look at the CLVS certification

2019 Celebrate Certification Month is here, and as part of the celebration, we will take a look in each week’s JCR Weekly at the certifications offered by NCRA.

T. R. Hutchinson

Professionals who hold NCRA’s Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) certification have proven that they are experts in understanding how to set up and capture the necessary information needed in a video format by parties to a case. They are highly trained in working with video equipment to provide accurate and vital records in this type of specialized format. And, most importantly, they understand their role best serves the client when provided in conjunction with a certified court reporter.

The CLVS certification not only acknowledges the high level of skill and understanding of knowledge related to all facets of videotaping, court proceedings, and judicial procedures, and the ability to deliver accurate and timely finished video product, but also the positive impact on your business.

T.R. Hutchinson, CLVS, from Portland, Ore., is a member of NCRA and has worked as a legal videographer for the past year and a half. Prior to becoming a videographer, he owned and operated his own business. As a business owner, he understands that being competent, responsive, and reliable are major keys to success and says the change in career to be a freelance legal videographer has been very positive.

“Earning my CLVS has increased my business. I work as a freelancer, and once other firms heard I had received my CLVS, I started getting more calls for work,” said Hutchinson, who earned his CLVS in March.

“Going through the process increased my technical understanding about shooting video a little more, plus I received a better understanding about ‘professional’ behavior on the job. As I mentioned, I just wanted to work freelance, and the court reporters have commented to me more than once about how professional I am. That has led them to give my name to other people, which is why my business is increasing,” he added.

To earn the CLVS, candidates must attend a mandatory certification workshop that is held online, pass a Written Knowledge Test, and take the CLVS production test held twice a year at NCRA headquarters in Reston, Va. Prior to the test, there is also an optional hands-on training session, also held at the Reston location.

Christine Stroia, from Minneapolis, Minn., a member of NCRA, also earned her CLVS in March. She has worked in the video industry for more than 15 years.

“Earning this certification shows that I am dedicated and prepared to work with the court reporter to capture and protect the integrity of the record and am committed to following the standards set forth by the CLVS Council of the NCRA,” Stroia said.

For more information about earning your CLVS or any other NCRA professional certifications, visit NCRA.org/Certification.

Earn Your RPR and show off your skills

2019 Celebrate Certification Month kicks off today, and as part of the celebration, we will take a look in each week’s JCR Weekly at the certifications offered by NCRA.

Katherine West

Join the numbers of NCRA members who have already earned their Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification and be recognized for your commitment to enhance your skills and the services you provide to your clients and customers.

To be recognized as an RPR, candidates must pass a Written Knowledge Test on industry best practices and a Skills Test that combines a challenging threshold of both speed and accuracy. RPR-certified court reporters are in high demand among the nation’s premier law firms, courthouses, and other scenarios in which a reliable, accurate transcript of proceedings is required.

“As a new court reporter in the field, having this certification not only gives me confidence, but it lets potential employers and clients know I have what it takes to do the job well,” said Katherine West, a freelance court reporter from Hendersonville, Tenn., who earned her RPR in March.

 “NCRA has provided valuable resources since the beginning of my student journey, and I am thankful for their continued support during this pivotal time in my career,” West added.

Earning the RPR credential is quite an accomplishment given the amount of preparation and knowledge that successful candidates must possess to pass. Those who hold RPR credentials are not only among the top stenographic court reporters in the profession, but they also embark on a path of lifetime learning with continuing education requirements.

“It is such an honor to have been able to accomplish my RPR certification. This opens up so many more doors and opportunities for me as a court reporter, especially since I am considering possibly moving to another state in a few years. Being a member of the NCRA is wonderful. The organization is flooded with information and helpful tools for our profession” said Maria F. Piotrowski, a freelance court reporter from Edison, N.J., who earned her RPR in January.

Register between May 1 and 15 to take the RPR skills test and save on the registration fee during NCRA’s 2019 Celebrate Certification Month.

“Becoming a Registered Professional Reporter has opened new doors to me in the world of court reporting and offers opportunities that I am looking forward to taking advantage of,” said Sydney Lundberg, Norwalk, Iowa, a freelance court reporter for the Huney-Vaughn Court Reporters, Ltd., who earned her RPR in January.

Nicolle J. Tornetta, from Bensalem, Penn., who works as a freelance court reporter in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, also earned her RPR in January.

“Earning this certification only proves to myself what my clients have always told me, that I am a top-notch reporter,” she said.

For more information about earning your RPR or any other NCRA professional certifications, visit NCRA.org/Certification.

Take advantage of some savings in honor of Celebrate Certification Month

NCRA’s second Celebrate Certification Month kicks off today, May 1. In addition to celebrating by sharing with customers, clients, and potential clients the importance of working with professionals who hold national certifications, NCRA members can also celebrate by taking advantage of special savings on test registrations and store purchases.

From May 1-15, NCRA members can save when they register for RPR, RMR, CRR, or CRC skills tests. There’s no better time than certification month to earn a nationally recognized professional certification from NCRA to boost your skills and your career potential. During the special rates offering, students taking the RPR Skills Test will pay $65 for each leg, while members will pay $80 for each RPR or RMR Skills Test leg. In addition, members can take advantage of a discounted price of $180 for the CRR or CRC Skills Tests, while students will pay only $150 for a CRC Skills Test.

Remember, earning a professional certification is one of the greatest investments you can make in yourself to help ensure a successful career. So register now to take a skills test.

Throughout the entire month of May, members can also save an additional 10 percent on all purchases from the NCRA Store when they use the special savings code MAY10.

To help members celebrate throughout May, NCRA has made available a special resource page housing an array of downloadable materials. Resources include a press release template and instructions to distribute it, social media posts, email signatures, new CART and certification fliers, and brand-new certification business cards and career business cards.

For more information about the 2019 Celebrate Certification Month, contact pr@ncra.org. Share with NCRA how you celebrate the month by sending information to pr@ncra.org.