The steps to becoming a certified court reporter in Virginia are as follows. It should be noted that steps 2-4 are the same for every path, so only step 1 will differ:
|Choose a Path in Virginia|
|Work for a NCRA or NVRA Certified Reporter Company|
|Take the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) or Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) Exam|
|Find Employment as a Court Reporter in Virginia|
|Maintain Licensure in Virginia|
A court reporter is a person who works within the legal system in order to provide an official transcription of a legal procedure. Court reporters in Virginia provide an indispensable service because the very nature of the law relies on wording and context. Court reporters in Virginia ensure that the documents they provide are accurate in both spelling and grammar, and that they are free of any kind of bias or personal intent.
It should be noted that court reporters in Virginia not only work in actual court rooms, but also in arbitrations, depositions, and other legal processes which may or may not occur in the court room.
In the state of Virginia there is no explicit license or certification needed in order to become a court reporter. However, you are not permitted to use the title of “Certified Court Reporter” unless you have actually been certified. In Virginia the court reporting profession looks to the Virginia Court Reporters Association (VCRA) to set the standards and requirements for certification.
The VCRA serves as the largest and most credible peer group for court reporters in the state. Among the most important attributes of a court reporter this organization cites:
- Exhibits impartiality
- Keeps information learned during legal hearings in the strictest of confidentiality
- Immediate disclosure to all parties of conflicts of interest, or potential conflicts
- Be honest and fair
- Be prompt and courteous
Step 1. Choose a Path in Virginia
Option A- Become a Virginia Certified Court Reporter by Getting a Degree:
Provide proof of completion of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Some program titles which are beneficial to becoming a court reporter in Virginia include:
- Real-time Reporting
- Verbatim Reporting
- Court Reporting
Option B – Become a Virginia Certified Court Reporter by Getting a Diploma:
Apply for and complete a diploma program at any school that has been accredited by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) or the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA).
Option C – Become a Virginia Certified Court Reporter by Submitting Letters of Recommendation:
Provide letters of recommendation from at least 3 current Virginia Bar members. These members should be in good standing with the Virginia Bar and the letters should attest to your abilities to effectively perform the job.
It should be noted that becoming a court reporter requires first becoming a notary. The process of becoming a notary in Virginia can be found here.
Step 2. Work for a NCRA or NVRA Certified Reporter Company
You must be employed by a qualified certified court reporter for at least 2 years and be able to demonstrate satisfactory job performance. Because you would not yet be “certified” this can be seen as an introductory period in which you will be developing your skills and abilities.
Step 3. Take the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) or Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) Exam
You must pass either the RPR or CVR in order to become a certified court reporter in Virginia. Additionally, if you do not pass the exam on the first try, you must continue to test at least once per calendar year until the test is passed.
The required documentation must be collected and submitted to the Virginia Court Reporter’s Association along with the application, $50, and a copy of your current Virginia notary to:
VCRA Certification Program
P.O. Box 3325
Portsmouth, VA 23701
Step 4. Find Employment as a Court Reporter in Virginia
There are a number of ways for a Virginia Certified Court Reporter to find employment. Among the most reliable are:
- Consult the NCRA’s Virginia employment page
- Search the NVRA’s classifieds
- Search the United States Court Reporters Association job postings
- List with companies such as
- Check with Virginia employers such as
Major Courts in Virginia Include:
- Virginia Supreme Court – Located in Richmond, this is the highest court in Virginia
- Virginia Court of Appeals – Also located in Richmond, this is the second highest court in Virginia
- Virginia Circuit Courts – Includes 31 courts, each in a different district. Sees the majority of major court cases in the state
- Virginia District Courts – Serve 32 judicial districts in civil disputes up to $25,000
Step 5. Maintain Licensure in Virginia
Not only is continuing education a part of the requirements to become certified by the Virginia Court Reporter’s Association, it is also an excellent way to keep up with what is going on in the industry, and sharpen your knowledge and skills. More information about the continuing education offerings can be obtained by visiting their website and subscribing to the newsletter. However, the best way to get information on continuing education is by calling the VCRA directly.
You must keep your knowledge and skill set current by obtaining at least 2 continuing education credits though the VCRA every three years. This CE documentation must be submitted with the certification application.
Virginia Court Reporting Salary
The number of court reporting jobs in Virginia is projected to increase by 1.5% a year in the period from 2010 to 2020 according to the Commonwealth’s Labor Market Information (LMI) agency. These jobs are expected to come from an equal mix of new jobs being created and those that open up to replace people leaving the workforce.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 210 people were employed as court reporters in Virginia in 2012. This category includes people that work as stenographers. The median annual salary of these professionals was $47,790 with experienced professionals in the 90th percentile earning $61,010 a year.
According to the LMI, the median 2011 wage for court reporters in the Virginia part of the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was $55,108. This agency estimated the median wage in the following areas to be $50,479 in 2011:
- Fairfax County
- Norfolk City
Court reporters work for Virginia’s Judicial System in a variety of capacities. For instance, they attend Special Grand Jury proceedings and record and transcribe the testimony of the witnesses. Court reporters record the details of criminal proceedings. Having an accurate record of trials is particularly important for cases that are appealed.
In addition to employment with judiciary systems, a number of court reporters work for private firms in the business and support services industry. These types of firms provide court reporters as clients request their services. Common types of clients include:
- Closed captioning
Court reporters with specialized backgrounds such as having medical transcription experience are in particular demand.
The BLS provides an analysis of the wages of all of the court reporters who worked in areas that include parts of Virginia in 2012. It is found below: