Things You Should Know about National Verbatim Reporter’s Association

Most professions have at least some kind of regulating bodies that allow it to be managed as to quality and professional standards. The profession of verbatim court reporting, which deals with real time voice transcription of courtroom and other proceedings is dealt with by an organization called the National Verbatim Reporter’s Association (NVRA for short). This organization does a number of things – offers certifications, gives conferences, and gives general professional support.
Anyone considering the court reporter profession should have a general familiarity with this association and its functions, so following are some facts about the NVRA:

Certifications

The NVRA offers five levels of certification. They are achieved by taking various weekend workshops and tests that test applicants’ levels of ability for various court reporting related skills. The five certification levels are Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR), Certificate of Merit (CM), Realtime Verbatim Reporter (RVR), Registered Broadcast Captioner (RBC), Registered CART Provider (RCP). These certifications go progressively higher and higher in terms of the skills they test and the credentialing they provide. Continuing education must be taken to maintain these certifications.

The NVRA certifications are some of the most respected and widely accepted in the industry. They assure employers, attorneys, judges, plaintiffs and defendants, and administrative staff that the court reporter is competent and trained to high standards. Though there may be state specific credentialing exams and criteria, NVRA membership and credentialing can either be used in place of these or can supplement them, and in general it looks good on resumes and such.

Code of Ethics

The NVRA sets ethical standards for the industry, which can be found in their code of ethics. Some of the salient points of this code include: Truthfulness and accuracy regarding all participants in a proceeding, respect for confidentiality of all participants in a proceeding, not giving incentives or gifts financial or otherwise to attorneys or other court participants exceeding $50.00 a year, importance of honoring contracts and determining fees independently, importance of promptness for assignments, prepare transcripts as accurately as possible and in accordance with laws, statutes, and regulations, acquisition and maintenance of professional competence, importance of staying current with knowledge and laws concerning the profession, importance of ethical conduct during testing and continuing education, advancing the court reporting profession by participating in local, state and national organizations and educating the public, understanding that legal misconduct has consequences up to and including expulsion from the organization, and agreement to abide by the constitution and bylaws of the NVRA.

Membership

Membership in the NVRA is open to several different demographics. Welcomed into the organization are: court reporters already trained and working in the field who use either stenographic or voice transcription methods, members of the armed forces who are also verbatim reporters (these receive a specific type of military status), court reporting students in the process of being trained (they receive student status), vendors and other interested in promoting the profession (who can become associate members). There are also honorary and retired member categories. The former is for people made honorary members by the NVRA board of directors, and the latter is for members who have been in good standing for at least 10 years but who have retired from the court reporting profession.

Educational Assistance

The NVRA provides both a listing of court or verbatim reporting educational programs on its website and a scholarship for students called the Horace L. Webb Scholarship. The website contains an application that can be filed out and submitted electronically. Horace L. Webb, by the way, was the inventor of the stenomask – the device that allows voice reporters to repeat back what is being said while their voice is dampened. The amount is not huge, it’s only $250.00, but included with it are a one year student membership and one free certification exam. The school to which a student is accepted must be endorsed by the organization in order for that student to be considered for a scholarship.

NVRA Resources and Info

The NVRA website contains a lot of helpful information and features. It has a listing of educational programs (though it is careful to point out that they are not all endorsed by the NVRA and that there is no affiliation), a page with classified advertising where people can look for voice reporting jobs or advertise their services, listing of state associations (all subsumed under an organization called the National Alliance of State Associations or NASA that bridges the local and national level), and general information on the industry. The association also publishes a newsletter about the verbatim reporting industry.

Membership or involvement with the NVRA can be useful and an invaluable resource, so those considering the court or verbatim reporting profession should consider making use of it. The NVRA is a nationally recognized affiliation that helps to bring professionals in the industry together, uphold standards, and serve as a contact point for a large number of local organizations. The address for the NVRA website is:http://www.nvra.org/index.cfm