What are RSA or OCR certifications

RSA (The Royal Society of Arts) certifications are professional typing and word processing courses. RSA used to be an examination body in its own right but now comes under OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA). Therefore, in their current form RSA certifications are named OCR qualifications. However, in many places the qualifications are referred to as OCR (RSA). In this article we will look at what the certifications can be used for, the different courses available and discuss the best places to obtain these qualifications in the United Kingdom.

What are OCR (RSA) Certifications Used For?

OCR (RSA) certifications are for professional typists and word processor users. The courses cover a wide range of computerised administrative skills and are useful for secretarial jobs. The vast majority of typing jobs require some level of OCR (RSA) qualification. These certifications are favoured by employers because the courses provide its students with a vast knowledge of the numerous functions and workings of word processing which are vital in all forms of business. The OCR (RSA) teaches word processing skills and methods which are recognised all over the world.

Level 1 OCR (RSA) Text Production and Word Processing

The most basic from of an OCA (RSA) qualification is Level 1 in Text Production and Word Processing. The entry requirements for this course are pretty basic with students expected to be able to type at least 25 words a minute. Prospective students should also be proficient in a qualifying word processing packaging. The course helps students to develop their basic typing and word processing skills such as inserting headers and footers, printing letters and business reports. The course requires between 20 and 30 hours of study time for the average student to obtain their certificate.

Level 2 OCR (RSA) Text Production and Word Processing

The level 2 ORC (RSA) certification concentrates on a student's ability to produce a variety of business documents on a word processor from handwritten or drafted originals. The course aims to replicate a real life working situation where an employee must produce a word processed document from a handwritten source such as minutes from a meeting. Students do not have to pass the Level 1 form of this qualification to enter at level 2, however, students must be able to type at a rate of 35 words per minute. The main body of the qualification teach students to produce letters, reports and memorandum from handwritten notes. Like the Level 1 certificate, it is expected that students will pass the course after 20 to 30 hours of study.

Level 3 OCR (RSA) Text Production and Word Processing

The OCR (RSA) level 3 certificate is a step up from the previous courses. Prospective students are required to have a good level of written and verbal English. They must be able to type at a rate of between 50 and 55 words per minute. Students must already have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Word and be proficient in using complex tables and pictures within the program. Throughout the course students will be expected to conform to a specific style of presentation. This means word processed documents must adhere to certain rules on different aspects of programming such as line and text spacing and character positioning. As with the other certificates, students will need to study for up to 30 hours to obtain level 3.

OCR (RSA) Diploma Level 2

It is possible to gain an OCR (RSA) diploma at level 2. In order to achieve this qualification students must receive 4 OCA (RSA) certificates at level 2. Text Production and Word Processing are the mandatory courses for the diploma and students can choose the remaining two from Audio Transcription, Mail Merge, Medical Word Processing, Business Presentation and Medical Audio Transcription. Obviously, students need to be proficient users of Microsoft Word and also need the ability to type at a speed of at least 35 words per minute. Recently having obtained an OCR (RSA) level 1 or level 2 certification in any module is seen as desirable but is not an essential entry requirement. The course requires roughly 60 hours of study time.

OCR (RSA) Diploma Level 3

A level 3 diploma is also on offer from the OCR (RSA) board. The format of the course is similar to the level 2 diploma. Students must obtain 4 OCR (RSA) qualifications at level 3. Again, the 2 mandatory courses are Text Production and Word Processing. Students must choose a further two options from Audio Transcriptions, Document Presentation or Legal Word Processing. Entry requirements for the diploma include a typing speed of at least 55 words per minute and excellent word processing skills. As with the level 2 diploma, the course requires 60 hours of study.

Where to Study OCR (RSA) Courses

There are 216 training providers across the UK who run OCR (RSA) courses. Therefore, there are numerous colleges and night schools who will offer the courses mentioned above. As the Text Production and Word Processing courses are short courses, many colleges offer evening or weekend classes. Several training companies offer OCR (RSA) courses online which can be completed at a student's own pace. Many employers will offer to train up their employees through the OCR (RSA) program so workplace training courses are also available nationwide.