Court Reporting In Florida: A Look At The Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA)
Court reporters perform a very important job function. The court reporter transcribes word for word the full proceedings of legal hearings. He or she may use shorthand, stenography or a combination of both to achieve an accurate transcript. Therefore, it is very important that the court reporter be fully trained and stay abreast of developing trends in the industry. For court reporters in Florida, the Florida Court Reporters Association is an invaluable resource.
Those who are newly considering careers in court reporting can use the FCRA website to find recommended court reporting schools in Florida. Many schools offer programs in court reporting, and the FCRA is careful to list those that it considers the best. Students are welcome to join the Association as Student Members, providing them with the latest information, news and trends. After graduation, students may participate in the FCRA's job referral service, which matches prospective employees with a variety of job openings.
The FCRA website also details the testing requirements for the Florida Voluntary Certification Protocol. Currently, the state of Florida does not require its court reporters to obtain certification of any sort. Although the FCRA certification is voluntary, however, it is highly recommended for those who intend to make a career of court reporting. In addition to passing the examination, those who wish to retain certification must also obtain continuing education credits. Certification demonstrates that the court reporter maintains the highest standards of education and experience.
Membership in the FCRA provides a number of important benefits to court reporters in all stages of their careers. Members are invited to attend special conferences and workshops that provide continuing education credits as well as important training. Members may list their affiliation on job applications and other official documents. Members also receive low prices on stenographic equipment.
The FCRA serves an important lobbying function for all court reporters in Florida, regardless of membership status. The organization actively works to support political candidates, on a nonpartisan basis, who are sensitive to the current and future needs of court reporters. It also maintains lobbyists in Tallahassee to stay on top of new legislation that may affect those in the industry. Public relations is another important function of the FCRA, working as a liaison between courtroom officials, court reporters and the general public to heighten awareness of the job duties and professional conduct of court reporters.
One of the biggest issues currently facing court reporters in the state of Florida is being heavily addressed by the FCRA. The issue is a serious budgetary crisis in Florida courts. In response to this crisis, the courts have begun to look for alternatives to the live court reporter. The FCRA continues to stress the irreplaceable importance of the court reporter. Those who are interested can read the FCRA's position statement on the home page of the association's website.
The Florida Court Reporters Association is an organization that strives to bring order, certification procedures and lobbying power to the rather disorganized network of court reporters in Florida. Membership fees are reasonable and the organization provides a number of benefits. Anyone who is considering a career in court reporting in the state of Florida may wish to become involved.
Thursday, May 15, 2008