Continuing Education and the Court Reporter
In a profession where you literally learn something new every day, you would think there would be no need for continuing education. Yet each of my certifications, the RPR – Registered Professional Reporter (national certification), the CCR – Certified Court Reporter (Washington State), and the CSR – Certified Shorthand Reporter (Oregon State), all require approved continuing education hours. The RPR requires 30 hours of CE (continuing education) in a three-year cycle; the CCR requires five hours annually; and the CSR requires 20 hours in a two-year period. Luckily all NCRA-approved continuing education can be used simultaneously. Yay!
Now there are numerous ways to getting your CEUs (continuing education units). Presently, all of my CEUs come from attending conferences. However, in those early years those were a little harder to come by if you needed to attend a conference. For instance, when I was pregnant with our daughters in the early ‘90s, I read pre-approved books and then submitted a book report. I don’t want to go back to doing book reports. The NCRA (National Court Reporters Association) is the, guess what, national organization that certifies court reporters. In order to be an RPR, you must be a member in good standing with the NCRA and have passed the RPR testing. As a benefit of being a member, NCRA also handily keeps CEU transcripts, making recordkeeping easy.
One of my favorite conferences to attend is the twice yearly STAR (Stenograph | Technology | Agencies | Reporters). Why is this one of my favorites? Well, there are many reasons, but the content is the greatest. If you need to have continuing education, why not make it something you can use to better yourself, make your job easier, brainstorm issues you’re having and how to solve them? The Stenograph portion of STAR is the reason I became a member. I’ve learned more about my software and how to use it to its full potential through not only the speakers, but also the friends made along the way, as well as the latest and greatest tools of the trade from some of the best of the best reporters. Consider becoming a member or attending a conference.
This spring, STARtech19 will offer another awesome learning opportunity by adding a videography portion to the conference. This is an exciting option for videographers to learn, build relationships and participate in the cutting edge of video technology. More to come on that after the conference.
Another conference to be aware of is the yearly NCRA Business Summit. This conference was originally titled Firm Owners and is geared towards professionals running or leading court reporting and captioning companies. Here we learn about trends in court reporting, how to better our firm and, most importantly, meet like-minded professionals located all about the world and discuss issues.
The OCRA (Oregon Court Reporters Association) as well as the WCRA (Washington Court Reporters Association) also have awesome conferences with amazing content twice yearly. It’s a fabulous opportunity to meet other reporters within your state(s).
Really, continuing education to me is staying abreast of what’s going on in our profession, the latest in technology, how we can provide a better service more efficiently and, as a benefit along the way, meeting some amazing people. So join in and start learning.