Changes to NCRA Continuing Education Program rules take effect Oct. 1

Changes to NCRA’s Continuing Education Program rules by the Association’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR) will take effect Oct. 1. The changes were made after a several-month review by CAPR to update the current policies and procedures. While many of the sections remain unchanged, the revisions broaden the scope of topics for captioners and encourage all members to obtain preapproval from NCRA or CAPR before they attend seminars with third-party vendors for CEUs.

“CAPR felt strongly that the eligibility of topics for CEUs was geared more towards judicial reporting and not captioning. We reviewed these areas with the idea of broadening the scope in order to include more topics that captioners would come across in their work,” explained CAPR Chair Mary Daniel, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance reporter from Las Vegas, Nev.

“CAPR also wanted to encourage reporters who are relying on approval of CEUs for their certifications to obtain approval from NCRA or CAPR before they attend the seminar. This was due to many last-minute requests for approval. When CAPR denies the CEUs, the reporter is then faced with the dilemma of obtaining CEUs before their cycle expires. Hopefully, the changes in the rules will give reporters and captioners a better sense of what will and will not be accepted for CEUs and the timelines they are facing,” she noted.

The Continuing Education Program Rules apply to both continuing-education activity sponsors seeking preapproval of those activities as well as to individuals seeking to claim CEUs from NCRA for non-preapproved activities. “It is important for CAPR to regularly review the continuing education rules in order to keep current with the needs of our members. This publication and notification is in keeping with our accreditation requirements with the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), which will conduct our five-year recertification visit early next year,” said NCRA Senior Director of Education and Certification Cynthia Bruce Andrews. The revised handbook is available on NCRA’s website and changes to the rules are highlighted in yellow.

The goal of continuing education for NCRA is to equip credential holders with the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a world of ever-changing information and technology. A uniformly applied Continuing Education Program ensures that clients will experience a consistently high level of quality, proficiency, and knowledge among NCRA credential holders. The body of knowledge in the world changes approximately every seven years. In this spiraling explosion of information, NCRA credential holders must keep abreast of new developments or face being left behind. The obvious benefits of continuing education are learning new skills, keeping up with technological advances, and developing new areas of expertise. However, the hidden benefits may be even more valuable — keeping the mind open to new ideas, honing the skills of learning, and developing as a well-rounded professional.

“We want to be sure our members are kept well-apprised of the current status of our Continuing Education Program and the guidelines as recommended by ACCET,” said NCRA President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, a firm owner from Wausau, Wis. “We feel more transparent and readily available information will allow members to make informed decisions about earning their CEUs.”

Members of TAC produce record number of tests in two days

TAC2Members of NCRA’s Test Advisory Committee met in early June at the association’s headquarters in Vienna, Va., to review questions for the Registered Diplomate Reporter certification written knowledge test as well as write material for skills tests for various certifications.

During the meeting, TAC members considered materials submitted by members of the NCRA Content Committee, as well as previously submitted materials that had not been reviewed. Over two days, members successfully gauged skill tests difficulty by writing the tests on their machines, verified word and syllable counts, and marked test for mandatory punctuation, successfully identifying matter for 33 new skills tests for NCRA certifications.

“We divided some of the tasks, such as counting and punctuation, among some TAC members while others dictated material to other members to take down on their machines. I think this is one reason why we accomplished so much beyond the obvious fact that we just worked really, really hard over four days,” said Russell L. Page, Jr., a freelance reporter from Washington, D.C., and co-chair of TAC.

TAC1“I appreciated the commitment shown by each TAC member to get through as many tests as they did,” said Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA’s Director of Professional Development Programs and staff liaison to TAC. “NCRA sends a special thank you to members John Eby and Brenda Fauber, who have served for more than 10 years on TAC and will be rolling off the committee next year.”

John Eby, RDR, CRR, is a freelance reporter from El Paso, Texas, and Brenda Fauber, RDR, CRR, CPE, is an official court reporter from Omaha, Neb.

TAC is one of several committees that operate under NCRA’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters. CAPR is responsible for the development and administration of continuing education programs, credential examinations, and any additional programs assigned by the Board of Directors. CAPR also works with NCRA staff and others as necessary to develop resources that allow court reporters to prepare for NCRA exams. Additionally, CAPR oversees the appeal process for lost certifications, and it documents policies and procedures for reinstatements, testing appeals, and all other necessary activities.

TAC meets to write and review tests in January and in June of each year.