Certifiable Truths: Real talk from real court reporters about the real benefits of certification.

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By Nancy J. Hopp, IL CSR, RDR, CRR, CMRS, FAPR, Alaris President

Let’s face it: getting certified to be a court reporter isn’t the most fun task in the world. It takes a lot of time, a lot of studying and (sometimes) a lot of money. And once you’re certified, you need to do continuing education to make sure you stay certified. That’s already a lot of work. And to get additional certifications so you can specialize, well...that’s even more work. Is it really worth it? Does getting more certifications just mean more work, or will it really make a difference to your career?

According to some real-life, highly certified court reporters at Alaris, it certainly does. And here are some reasons why.

Reason 1: You stand out from the crowd.
Court reporting is an incredibly competitive field (but you already knew that). You have to be sharp, motivated, intelligent and diligent and, of course, be certified. If you have your state license or RSR, you meet the basic requirements of the job...and that’s about it. You won’t stand out from the crowd, you may find that certain opportunities just aren’t available to you. Employers look at certifications to evaluate your skill set. The more certifications that you have and are able to discuss at length and in depth, the more qualified you will be for the job. Whereas another potential employee may have the same basic skill set, your certifications will distinguish you amongst the applicants.

Reason 2: You’re able to work more places.
Unlike a state licensure, a certification is nationally recognized, which allows you to work in most, if not all, states across the nation. And the more certifications you receive, the more valuable you become to your company...especially if they work in multiple states across the nation.

“My certifications have opened up many opportunities for me,” says Sherly Pautler, CCR-MO, CSR-IL, RPR. “I’ve been sent all across the country by Alaris thanks to the knowledge my certifications have afforded me. I’ve served as a court reporter in New York, Texas, Iowa, North Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin—even central Mexico!”

Reason 3: You’ll increase your skill set.
According to Sheryl, additional certifications were that extra “bump” that made her more credible to Alaris’ clients across the country and immediately made her an asset to their cases. After all, the court system is changing constantly—especially when it comes to technology—and the demand for skills in everything from video depositions, real-time reporting, imaging, email transcripts, subpoena services and more makes someone who can do all those—and more—in high demand.

“The testing for various certifications are incredibly intense,” says Renee Quinby, CCR-MO, CSR-IL, CCR-CA, RPR, RMR, CRR, RSA. “When you finally achieve that certification, it’s very rewarding on a personal level, because it tells the world I’m an expert in this! And, of course, it shows clients that you’re driven, enjoy learning and have a fierce desire to do the very best job possible for them.”

Reason 4: You position yourself as a trusted expert for your clients.
“Having extra certifications in your field shows that you know what you are talking about and have the skills to back it up,” says Nancy Hopp, IL-CSR, RPR, RMR, RDR, CRR, CMRS, FAPR and President of Alaris. She personally chose to pursue her myriad of certifications because she wanted her clients “...to know that I take my career very seriously; that it isn’t just a job to me, but rather, a profession to which I had committed to doing my best. I wanted my clients to have confidence in my abilities and to know that I came to them well-qualified to handle whatever kind of testimony the witness had to offer.”

As the legendary Duffy Daugherty once said, “The difference between good and great is just a little extra effort.” When it comes to being the best possible court reporter you can be—for your company, your clients and, most importantly, for yourself—that little extra effort to pursue another certification, and another, will pay off exponentially.