How the Continuing Education Program Works
NCRA's Continuing Education Program is established and administered by the authority of the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR). The operation of this Council is mandated by the Bylaws of NCRA and its members are appointed by the NCRA Board of Directors. Any request for exemption from the policies outlined below must be addressed to CAPR.
In 1975, the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) program was initiated to raise the field of court reporting to a verifiably professional level. Earning Registered status through a process of rigorous testing and maintaining it through a comprehensive program of continuing education ensures that the designations represent a consistent level of proficiency, technological advancement, and all other traits of well-rounded professionals.
NCRA offers additional certifications for working reporters: the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR, formerly the Certificate of Merit); Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR); and three realtime-related certifications, Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC), and Certified CART Provider (CCP).
NCRA's CE program is based on continuing education units, or CEUs. This is a widely recognized system of measuring adult learning. Registered members may now choose from a variety of learning opportunities including commercial seminars, many of which already incorporate the CEU measurement system.
The goal of continuing education for court reporters is to equip our members 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 the reporter-using public will find a consistent quality of proficiency and knowledge among our Registered members. The field of court reporting demands that its practitioners acquire and maintain a broad base of knowledge. The body of knowledge in the world changes approximately every seven years. In this spiraling explosion of information, court reporters must keep up, 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.
The stated educational mission of NCRA is to:
- Provide certification programs to ensure the competency of realtime reporters, captioners, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) providers and realtime educators.
- Provide continuing education for its members and all realtime reporters, captioners, CART providers and realtime educators.
- Promote higher education, academic and technical skills to students of realtime reporting, captioning and CART.
- Promulgate standards for realtime reporting and captioning educational programs and approved realtime reporting/captioning programs meeting those standards.
- Provide programs that strengthen and ensure the professional competence of its members.
- Provide programs to stimulate personal and professional career development.
- Provide an open registration policy for all available educational programs.
NCRA’s New Continuing Education Requirements Announced
Educational institutions, certification boards, and government bodies place a high value on the legitimacy that is inherent in holding oneself to scrutiny and validation by an independent and objective national accrediting body, and the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET) is the national organization that accredits NCRA’s continuing education program. ACCET has specific requirements for what is eligible to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs). CEUs will remain a central element in NCRA’s continuing education approach.
On October 1, 2011, NCRA adopted a system that recognizes both formal instructional activities (ACCET-approved CEUs) and other informal professional development activities (Professional Development Credits (PDCs)).
There are many development activities that enrich our professional lives, educate our clients, improve our writing skills, and assist our future professionals. Your transcript will differentiate between activities that qualify for formal ACCET-accredited CEUs and the informal instructional Professional Development Credits (PDCs) activities.
Note: Check your state requirements to see if these professional development activities are eligible for the credits needed to maintain your state certification.
Examples of ACCET-approved CEUs include:
1. State and national convention seminars
2. NCRA’s e-seminars
3. NCRA’s teletrainings
4. College courses
5. Eligible distance learning offerings (contact Sandra Bryant to verify eligibility)
6. Vendor software training
ACTIVITIES ELIGIBLE FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CREDITS
You will earn Professional Development Credits while performing these worthy activities:
Promoting the Profession to External Audiences - Examples of events that would satisfy this requirement include presentations at court reporting schools (as a guest speaker or career day participant), law schools, and judges’ associations. If a question arises as to whether an event qualifies, CAPR will review the request for approval. Members seeking Professional Development Credits must submit an outline or agenda of their presentation, accompanied by either a signed NCRA submission form or letter signed by a representative of the host event.
Providing pro Bono Services (Judicial, CART, Captioning) - Pro Bono Services are defined by the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR) as “providing court reporting, realtime, CART, or captioning services for which compensation in any form was not rendered.” In practice, this can include any variety of services, such as providing CART services for a deaf consumer at a meeting or church service or taking depositions for litigants who could not afford reporting services.
Specifically, .25 credits will be awarded for a minimum of 2.5 hours of pro bono service, of which 30 minutes can be the preparation involved. Services for two one-hour events plus 30 minutes of preparation, for example, can be combined for one submission. The preparation time will be accounted for on the honor system. Members will submit an NCRA form along with the $40 processing fee when requesting the credits. The form must be signed by either the deaf consumer or the host of the event for which the pro bono services were performed.
Service on an NCRA, NCRF, or affiliate board or committee - Members will receive .25 Professional Development Credits per year of service on an NCRA, NCRF, or state court reporting association board or committee. Service on a board or committee of the United States Court Reporting Association (USCRA) also qualifies for this category. Members will submit an NCRA form along with the $40 processing fee when requesting the credits, and the year of service must be completed prior to submission (with the exception of this first year, in which the service must be completed after October 1, 2011). A cross check with NCRA or NCRF board and committee rosters will provide sufficient documentation for the national service. For affiliate service and USCRA service, the state and USCRA boards will be required to maintain those records and verify a member’s service with a signature from the state or USCRA board president.
Involvement in a Formal Mentoring Program - To qualify for Professional Development Credits, mentoring must take place with students enrolled in a school. A minimum of five (5) hours will be required for earning the .25 credits, and those hours can either be divided up among multiple students or can all be spent with the same student. A mentor may submit the same student up to two times per cycle (for a total of 10 hours and 0.5 credits), if they have an extended relationship.
Reporters who host students completing their internships will also be entitled to earn credits. Internship reporters are assigned by the school the students are attending, and the students typically fill out logs of time spent. To earn Professional Development Credits, the reporter will also be required to fill out NCRA’s mentor form and can then submit a copy of the internship log at the end of the internship period.
Mentoring relationships must be completed during the member’s three-year cycle.
Serving as Lead Chief Examiner at NCRA testing sites - Members will receive .25 Professional Development Credits for spending a year serving as an NCRA Lead Chief Examiner. Members will submit an NCRA form along with the $40 processing fee when requesting the credits, and documentation will be verified with a cross check of NCRA’s master roster of chief examiners’ names.
In order to serve as an NCRA Chief Examiner, you must be a member of NCRA in good standing and preferably hold an NCRA credential. Additional requirements include the ability to maintain strict confidentiality and security, adherence to NCRA policies and procedures, and administration of the exams at a suitable testing facility.
Passing the new Association 101 Manual Exam (following national or state affiliate board service) – NCRA currently offers book and article tests, and members will earn Professional Development Credits for successfully passing – or writing – a qualifying book or article test under the new continuing education requirements (earning .25 credits per submission after October 1). But the Association 101 exam will be a new offering beginning in October. Following a year of state or national board service, members may download the Association 101 manual from NCRA’s website, study it, and then take a 50-question, open-book exam using the manual as the reference. The grading and processing fee to download the test (and to record the credits, if you pass the exam) is $25. A passing grade is 80% or 10 incorrect answers, and you will be notified of the pass/fail after the exam has been graded. A member may only earn credits for the Association 101 exam once in his or her lifetime, but you may take it once per year until you have passed.
Oral History Transcription
Currently, only Veterans History Project transcripts earn credits. Starting October 1, this category will be expanded to include transcription of any oral histories that the National Court Reporters Foundation offers. Continue to participate in capturing important moments in American history by giving of your time and talents. Members will receive .25 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for each eligible transcription completed (maximum of 1.0 credit from all non-CEU credits).
Seminar Presenting and Training
Members will earn .25 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for one to four (1-4) hours of presenting (a minimum of 60 minutes of instruction) and will earn 0.5 PDCs for four hours or more in a day, such as teaching a full-day workshop (maximum of 1.0 credit from all non-CEU credits). Credits are not eligible for seminar presenting and training that takes place as part of a member’s primary business, for commercial purposes.
Extra Credit for Teletraining Tests
Teletraining seminars will now offer options. You can choose to participate in just the 90-minute listening portion of the seminar and earn .15 formal, ACCET-approved CEUs for the new lower price of $99 for members. Or you can choose to participate in both the 90-minute listening portion and take the exam afterwards and earn .15 CEUs plus .25 Professional Development Credits for the current price of $134 for members (maximum of 1.0 credit from all non-CEU credits).
Competing in Speed or Realtime Contests
As is currently the case, all speed contests must be at or above the level of RMR speeds in order to qualify, and all realtime contests must be at or above the level of the CRR speeds. Starting on October 1, 2011, each leg of an NCRA speed contest or state speed contest will earn .25 Professional Development Credits (PDCs). And participation in an NCRA realtime contest or a state realtime contest will earn .25 PDCs. Credit for any realtime contest will be awarded only once per three-year cycle (maximum of 1.0 credit from all non-CEU credits).
Members who pass the skills test or the Written Knowledge Test (WKT) portion of the RMR, RDR, CRR, CLVS (if already an RPR), CCP (if an RPR), or CBC (if an RPR) will earn .25 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) (maximum of 1.0 credit from all non-CEU credits).
Formal Supervised Dictation Practice
For every two and a half contact hours of formal supervised dictation practice, members will earn .25 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) (maximum of 1.0 credit from all non-CEU credits).
Logged Time on Realtime Coach
For every two and a half logged hours on Realtime Coach, members will earn .25 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) (maximum of 1.0 credit from all non-CEU credits). If you choose to satisfy your allowable maximum of 1.0 PDC with 10 hours of logged time on Realtime Coach, you may submit the entire 10 hours on one form along with your $40 processing fee.
Book or Article Tests
Members will earn .25 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for taking and passing a Journal of Court Reporting (JCR) article test, for reading a book on CAPR’s approved book list and passing the test for it, or for passing either the Part I or the Part II test for the book Grammar for Court Reporters. Each test may be taken only once per lifetime for credit in each of these book and article offerings.
Activities Not Eligible for Professional Development Credits:
- Community service unrelated to the profession of court reporting (e.g.; volunteer social work)
- Any professional service or function for which one receives remuneration as part of one’s regular employment
- Donations or sponsorships
College Credits for RPR and RMR
In 2009, NCRA discontinued its status with the American Council on Education (ACE). If you earned your RPR and/or RMR between November 1990 and February 2009, you can still get college credit. Please see the following questions and answers for more information.
Q. Can I get college credit for my RPR certification?
A. If you earned your RPR certification between the dates of 1/1/1978 – 5/31/2009, you are eligible to submit your RPR date for verification.
Q. Can I get college credit for my RMR certification?
A. If you earned your RMR certification between the dates of 11/1/1990 – 2/28/2009, you are eligible to submit your RMR date for verification.
Members may carry over 0.5 credits into their next three-year cycle. The credits may either be in formal CEUs or in qualifying Professional Development Credits.
The excess credits carried over must be earned in the last six months of your cycle (on or after April 1 of the final year of your cycle).
If your cycle ends September 30, 2011, up to 0.5 extra credits you have earned since April 1, 2011, may be carried over.
Credential holders are encouraged to obtain their CEUs by September 30th; however, if an extension is needed, please fill out the CEU Extension Request Form to request a four-month extension. Members requesting an extension must pay a $95 processing fee.
Loss of Certification Appeal
You will lose your NCRA certification(s) if you do not obtain all the required CEUs and maintain your NCRA membership. If this happens, you may appeal to the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR) for reinstatement of your certification. Appeals must be in writing and follow the appeal guidelines. Appeal requests should be addressed to CAPR, and sent to NCRA headquarters (8224 Old Courthouse Road, Vienna, VA 22182-3808). CAPR meets monthly to review appeals. You will be notified of the outcome of your appeal in writing shortly after their meeting.
Program accreditation and complaint procedure
NCRA's Continuing Education Program is nationally recognized and accredited by the American Council on Continuing Education and Training (ACCET). When people see an NCRA certification by your name, they know you are a professional. More information (external link)
For further information about the NCRA Continuing Education Program, please call 800-272-NCRA (6272).