Court reporter certification has long been a staple in the profession, so it came as quite a shock to many New Hampshire court reporters when they learned that the New Hampshire legislature wanted to eliminate a number of certification boards, including the court reporting board.
After a strong, grassroots campaign that included a number of lobbying events aimed at educating New Hampshire legislators about the importance of certification for court reporters, the New Hampshire Court Reporters Association was able to delay the legislation for at least a year, during which time they would work to convince the board that certification provides a clear benefit to lawyers and the public at large.
What Certification Means
Currently, 26 states require court reporters to have mandatory certification (some require only official court reporters to be certified), while in eight other states, certification is voluntary. Court reporters play a critical role in litigation, particularly in the courts, says the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), so certification displays that they “possess the right set of skills to fulfill their responsibilities.”
Certification, both through the states or through the NCRA, establishes that certified court reporters possess a minimum set of skills, thereby assuring legal professionals and the general public that they will “act in a fair and ethical way to all parties in litigation,” says Mary Cox-Daniel, the chair of the NCRA’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters.
The Benefits of Certification for Court Reporters
Even in those states that do not require certification, many court reporters choose to become certified, as it allows them to convey to others that they possess a specific set of skills. It also works as an effective marketing tool. Court reporters who possess a national certification from the NCRA often find that it is easier to find a new job, even when moving from state to the next. The Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification, for example, is now recognized by 22 states as being equivalent to—and can be used in the place of—state certification or licensing exams.