I am a student who is trying to learn as much as possible about everything while I'm in school.

Now, the RPR is the national certification test, right? And the CSR is the state certification test, right?

Which is better to have? Both, I'm sure, but if you had to take just one.
Which is more difficult?

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Do you ever go here? http://ncraonline.org/ You don't have to be a member of NCRA to log into the forum anymore. There's so much info regarding reporting and testing.

The RPR and CSR tests are completely different. When you're ready, neither one of them are difficult. I've passed all the exams I've taken the very first time I tried - and you can too! My exams: State of Nevada CSR - taken and passed twice - California CSR - RPR - taken and passed twice - Certificate of Merit (the old RMR) - CRR - taken one year ago. Here's a tip: Once you pass the RPR, never let your NCRA membership expire!

Happy practicing and practicing and more practicing - Jenny
I too am a student. I need the RPR to work in AZ. AZ doesn't have it's own CSR test.I think it just depends where you live and what you need to work.If you just need a CSR to work, then start with that. You can add the others after, right?
You want both. In my state it's the same speeds and I'm sure other states too. So when you register to take one test, you register for the other, too.

And then when you pass both tests, do not stop practicing. You need to get your speed up so that you pass the RMR. Only when you pass the RMR do you start practicing for the CRR, after you have the speed reservoir.
Natalie, yes, the RPR is bestowed nationally; and the CSR, by the states that have it.

Bottom line, I would suggest you first check with the state you'll be working in, I assume Illinois, to see what they require. Your school should be able to help you with the contact information for that, or you can Google it, or post that question on the NCRA website Jenny referred you to. I know there's at least one reporter from Chicago who visits there. Or that might be the CR forum, another website.

It's true that for some states the RPR is optional. But even though optional, it's considered valuable, and not vain, by most other reporters I know, including employers, because it evidences a high level of commitment and education and skill. Even more of that consideration is given to the RMR and the CRR.

Also, with the advent of teletraining and webinars, continuing education is not necessarily expensive.

As far as diffculty level, IMO the CA CSR was harder than the RPR. I don't know about others.

Last, I think it's a good idea to consider the source and check out who you're getting advice from, as far as how opinionated they are versus how long they've been reporting.

Good luck!

Also, cute avatar. :-)
Goodness, you have a lot to say.

Here I thought you were totally dissing those of us who value certifications as being vain, so I defend us; you react as if I'm totally dissing you, and then you imply that I'm an elitist who's stomping on you. Interesting.

You say, "If getting an RPR is solely a financial decision, then please share the basis for that decision." Whoa. I think you're doing some straw-man arguing here, Cassandra. I never said getting an RPR is solely a financial decision. Please refer back to my post if you are actually interested in addressing what I said.

I'm glad to hear you say now that the RPR is not worthless. And I completely understand why you would not want the expense at this point. When did I ever say otherwise? I have not faulted you or anyone for not having it. Again, what I said was merely in defense of the RPR after you, IMO, diminished it and us.

I agree that your opinions on reporting can be valuable to Natalie. I didn't say otherwise. What I did was imply that an experienced reporter would have a different opinion and that Natalie should keep that in mind.

Also I agree that I may have forgotten what it's like to start out in this field. That has nothing to do with Natalie's question, however, or my answer.

Also I agree that this forum is not a monopoly. Just as you have had opportunity here to express your opinions, I too have that opportunity.

You say, "It would be really nice to see reporters on this forum show respect for ALL reporters..." That's funny. I don't think I was disrespectful to you, but I think you were to us who value certifications and now me.

Also I agree that you weren't born yesterday. And I'm sure that you did have a very successful career. I also agree that court reporting is a business and that some of the concepts involved apply to other businesses. But that's another straw man. That has nothing to do with my comments you objected to. My comments were about the reporting opinions you were expressing, not general business opinions.

Last, I agree that it's good to be open to fresh perspectives. I think it's also good to have an accurate context for those perspectives.
Lisa,

LMAO

Judy
Natalie asked which is better to have. Right. My answer was to suggest she find out what is required. Further, I told her that while the RPR might be optional in her state, most reporters -- despite your comments to the contrary -- value the RPR. I then told her why it was valued. Your statements about early memories and intangibility and shame therefore have no foundation that I can see.

I find it helpful to try to stay focused on what has actually been said. It seems that when we change what has been said to then encompass other things, we may feel that we win our argument, but then, alas, we have strayed from the subject.

BTW, If you actually want answers to all those questions Natalie didn't ask but you added, I would suggest you ask them in a genuine, non-challenging way. I certainly would not at all be willing to discuss them with you with the tone you are using here.

It's nice to hear you finally admit that "it's better to have all the certifications you can get" versus your statement that having them is vanity, which is disrespectful to those of us who have them, especially those of us who have responded in this thread.

Once again, my merely stating my opposing opinion is not trying to extinguish your expression of yours. It's not only you who have the right to speak, Cassandra.
Lisa,

Don't follow too far down the rabbit hole.

Judy
Ha! Good advice.
I read through the whole thread this morning. Here are a few thoughts.

Natalie, when you ask "better," and if you had to take just one test, in my opinion, you'd want to have the RPR from NCRA. It's a national certification, and many times, that's reciprocal with CSR states, so you'd have a lot of choices instead of confining yourself to the CSR state where you took the test. I can't comment on the difficulty because I've never taken the skills portion of a state CSR. The states where I hold a CSR offer reciprocity for one or the other of the NCRA certifications I hold.

Veering off course a bit, I think you'll find when you get out of school that some ... not all, but some ... reporting firms will ask if you have at least the RPR before they put you on their call list. So that's kind of entry fee for some firms ... some, not all. After that, in my opinion, you'll get much further by being a lifelong student of your craft, developing a specialty, and trying as much as possible to be a team player without compromising your principles and going against the mission statement of your business. All that can be done with or without NCRA certification, and in non-CSR states, without a CSR.

There are about 23,000 NCRA members nationwide, and many of them are truly dedicated to bettering themselves to move up the court reporting ladder. Many ... not all. I have a string of letters after my own name: RPR, RMR, CRR, RDR, CCP, CBC, CSR in a couple states. Those letters are promises. In my opinion, a certain level of skill, knowledge, and professionalism is expected from each of those designations, but merely having them means nothing, even with the points required to maintain them. And we know this by having sat next to reporters at seminars and conventions who are texting, doodling, working on transcripts, or surfing the net -- anything but paying attention. They're just there for the points, period, and some of them aren't a bit shy about admitting that. But those letters are promises, a kind of mini-advertisement that tells a potential client of mine what I can do. It's up to me to deliver on those promises.

So whether you have one set, an entire string, or no letters after your name, just make the promise ... then keep it. You'll go far.

M.A.

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