The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) is a professional organization which includes court reporters and people who provide captioning services. This professional organization is recognized as a leader in its field in the United States, and many professional captioners and court reporters working in the United States pursue NCRA certification and membership. Belonging to the National Court Reporters Association has a number of benefits including opportunities for professional advancement.
The roots of this organization lie in the late 1800s, when several stenographic professional organizations were founded to serve people working as court stenographers. By the 1930s, the organization was setting standards for court reporting and establishing tests which could be used to determine member proficiency. In 1990, the National Court Reporters Association adopted its present name, which is believed to more accurately reflect the nature and purpose of the organization.
People can join as associate, participating, or student members. Members of the National Court Reporters Association can pursue professional certifications through proficiency examinations which provide certifications such as Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC), and Certified CART Provider (CCP). People who hold these certifications must also meet performance standards in addition to successfully passing examinations, and they adhere to the NCRA's code of ethics.
Members of the National Court Reporters Association are able to access the organization's annual conferences, along with a number of continuing education opportunities which are only open to members. They also have access to the Journal of Court Reporting (JCR), one of the leading trade journals for people in the captioning and reporting professions, and they can obtain insurance and credit card offers which are only open to members.
In some cases, employment opportunities may only be open to National Court Reporters Association members, and in other instances, membership can be used to help job candidates get in the door. Membership can also assist with salary negotiations, as certified members of the NCRA can argue that they deserve a higher pay as a reflection of their professional commitment and demonstrated skills.
Court reporting schools and colleges often encourage students to pursue membership in professional organizations such as the National Court Reporters Association, and their curriculum prepares students to pass the certification exams required by these organizations. The establishment of professional organizations allows people in various professions to set standards which can be clearly defined and adhered to. This improves the overall quality of the profession, and it also improves the confidence of employers and consumers.