Court Reporting In Virginia
The state of Virginia does not require court reporters to become certified. However, only those who choose voluntary certification are authorized to use the term Certified Court Reporter in that state. The Virginia Court Reporters Association is highly active, both in administering the certification program and in encouraging court reporters to become certified. The VCRA also maintains an active website, providing a one-stop resource for court reporters across the state. Provided here is a guide to the voluntary certification program, as well as additional information about the VCRA's services.
Those who wish to become certified court reporters in Virginia must be members in good standing of the Virginia Court Reporters Association. The applicant must also be a notary public in the state of Virginia. Although completion of a course in court reporting is not required, if such a course has been taken, a certificate of completion should accompany the application.
Unless applying under the provision of reciprocity, all applicants must successfully complete an examination. The exam is administered twice a year, in May and November, by the National Court Reporters Association. The VCRA does not administer its own internal testing. Details of the NCRA's testing program can be found online.
Certification by Reciprocity
If an applicant currently holds certification as a court reporter in another state, a certification by reciprocity may be provided by the VCRA. However, the other state's testing standards must be equal to or higher than those of the VCRA in order for reciprocity to apply. Applicants who currently hold certification are encouraged to enclose a copy of their certificate with their applications.
All certified court reporters in Virginia are expected to accumulate at least 2.0 Continuing Education Units within each three-year certification cycle. The VCRA provides ample opportunities to earn CEUs through participation in its seminars and workshops. Classes taken at a local community college may also qualify. Members are invited to submit outside workshops and classes for consideration for CEU credits as well.
Other Functions of the VCRA
Beyond certification and CEUs, the VCRA serves as a one-stop clearinghouse for news and information that affects court reporters in the state of Virginia. It provides numerous opportunities for networking and mentoring exchanges as well. The VCRA is member-driven, and all court reporters in the state are actively encouraged to take on volunteer positions within the VCRA structure.
Court reporters in the state of Virginia need not be certified. However, the VCRA feels strongly that voluntary certification unites members and creates a higher standard of competency and accountability for all court reporters. The VCRA has put forth a Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics which all members must follow, and is actively working to improve the image of court reporters in the minds of the public. Although membership is strictly optional, joining the VCRA and becoming certified will provide numerous benefits to any court reporter in the state.
Thursday, October 30, 2008