Spring, thankfully, is just around the corner and what better way to welcome spring than to visit my hometown and a great American city, Chicago. USCRA is visiting Chicago once again for our Midyear Convention. We chose Chicago since it is so easy to get there, and the hotel is just minutes away from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Chicago always has something new up her sleeve to entertain us. Terri Martin and her committee have lined up a varied and interesting group of speakers to educate you. So please join us in Chicago to learn and share with your fellow reporters. Visit our convention page to learn more.
If you are not realtime certified, why are you waiting? In the past year alone, several federal reporters have lost their jobs because they lacked realtime certification. Some districts are imposing time limits for those who are not certified to obtain their certification. Just look at the job openings on the USCRA website or JNet. Every single job requires realtime certification as a condition of employment. It is not enough to just provide realtime. You must be certified. Realtime certification is nothing new. The first realtime test was offered by NCRA in 1992, more than 20 years ago!
The benefits of this certification are many. Not only do you get a substantial raise in pay, but you’re now able to sell your realtime stream to attorneys, thereby increasing your overall yearly compensation. More importantly, you make yourself indispensable to judges and their staff, including law clerks, case managers and probation officers. Realtime certification is the only thing that sets us apart from electronic recording. In this time of budgetary constraints, it is imperative that we ALL are realtime certified. This is no longer a luxury. We are not lifetime appointees.
The technology today also requires writing realtime. Many judges are fascinated by remote realtime and receiving the realtime stream on iPads or other mobile devices. Keeping up with the latest technology can be challenging, but this is yet another reason to protect your livelihood by becoming certified. Check out the USCRA Facebook page and see how reporters help each other by answering questions about new technology. It’s fascinating to see how much this technology is used.
I realize that reaching the goal of realtime certification is not easy. My road to certification was long and arduous. When I went to school, long vowels were not even taught! (I know – I’m a dinosaur.) As I investigated how to write realtime in the late ’80s, the information was hard to obtain. However, these days the resources for becoming realtime certified are vast, much of it online. Change is not easy, but it can be ac-complished. Your job depends on it.
So work hard, utilize the resources available today, ask your fellow reporters for their expertise, and practice, practice, practice. The end result is peace of mind, a great sense of accomplishment and more initials behind your name.
We have two opportunities for you to earn those new initials at our Midyear Convention. Come join us in the Windy City. It will be a great chance to learn a few things at our seminars and earn some continuing education credits. You will be able to renew old acquaintances and strike up a few new ones. I look forward to seeing you there!
Barbara Barnard, President