As a student you are probably in the throes of speedbuilding, pushing hard to pass your next test. Maybe the more immediate goal of graduation seems a way down the road; and perhaps even further in the distance is the goal of attaining a certification, such as your RPR. Be that as it may, it is not too early to incorporate the goal of certification into your current mindset. It may seem a reach, unattainable at this point in your studies, but as Tony Robbins said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
Why should credentials matter to you? The first reason that comes to mind is job security. The more credentials you have, the more valuable you will be to your employer and the more attractive you will be to potential employers. NCRA’s credentials are useful benchmarks upon which others can judge your skills. From an employer’s standpoint, there is a certain level of trust and comfort knowing that the reporter on the case has the skill necessary to get the job done. For this reason there will always be a higher demand for Registered Merit Reporters, Registered Diplomate Reporters, and Certified Realtime Reporters.
Along with job security comes better income potential. Those with the higher credentials will be given the more technical assignments. This usually translates into higher page rates and requests for expedited delivery and realtime services, work that not all reporters are capable of. Reporters with the higher credentials actually enjoy the more difficult cases and thrive on the sometimes complex challenges they present. They have shown that they are not averse to pushing their abilities and keeping abreast of the latest developments in the field.
Of course there are assignments that can tax even the most seasoned professionals, but I think most would agree that having an RDR designation beside your name shields you from any claim of incompetency. What a confidence boost, knowing that you have proven your skills and knowledge through testing and have earned the endorsement of your professional organization.
But back to you, the student. The message is to resolve to earn as many credentials as you can throughout your career, beginning with the RPR. You are making a huge effort in time, money, heart, and soul. Why not strive to be a GREAT reporter as opposed to an average one? It may take years, but a commitment to your professional growth and development is one investment that will bring you job security, a comfortable income, and the respect of your colleagues and clients.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Zigler