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Teach an NCRA A to Z® Program

NCRA is pleased that you are interested in leading a six- to eight-week NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program.

NCRA A to Z program leaders work with small groups of participants as they learn how to write the alphabet and numbers in steno. This program does not follow any particular theory. Participants use loaner steno machines during sessions and outside practice. Leaders will receive training materials to use during the program.


Getting started

  • STEP 1: Watch the NCRA DiscoverSteno® webinar to get an overview of the program.
  • STEP 2: You MUST have an NCRA Account (Member or Non-Member) to complete the registration process. If you do not have an NCRA account, please use this link, or select the "Login" link in the top left to create a new user account.
  • STEP 3: Review and sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
  • STEP 4: After accepting the terms of agreement in the MOU, and once NCRA verifies your account access, you will receive an email with access to the program leader landing page. There, you will find everything you need to start and promote your program, including the NCRA A to Z Step-by-Step Toolkit. NOTE: NCRA will process all requests within 2-3 business days.
  • STEP 5: After receiving access and reviewing the information on the program leader landing page, please submit your program information so we can list it on the NCRA A to Z website.




Once the verification process is complete, program leaders will be able to access the materials below.

Access NCRA A to Z program materials 

Once the verification process is complete, program leaders will be able to access the materials below. 

Access NCRA A to Z program materials



Teach an NCRA A to Z Program FAQs

How do I start this process?

  • Step 1: Watch the webinar on the Teach an NCRA A to Z Program webpage.
  • Step 2: Recruit someone to help you; it is always good to have a backup leader.
  • Step 3: Fill out and sign the online MOU form here.
  • Step 4: A member of NCRA Staff will follow up with you to provide access to the Program Leader landing page.
  • Step 5: Review all information on the landing page: The NCRA A to Z Handbook, Step-by-Step Toolkit, flyers, and forms.
  • Step 6: Select a place, date, and time for the program.
  • Step 7: List your program on the DiscoverSteno website by filling out this form.
  • Step 8: At the end of the program, fill out the Program Leader and Participant Completion Form on the Program Leader landing page. Email this form to

How do I get the NCRA A to Z Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand Handbook, flyers, and any other forms used for the program?

Once you complete the online MOU, an email will be sent from the NCRA DiscoverSteno Team giving you access to the Program Leader landing page on the NCRA website. There you will find all the program materials needed to start.

Are there a minimum number of participants that I need to get started?

There is no minimum, but 10 is a good number.

How do I get participants? Where do I get participants?

  • Post on social media
  • Local Chambers of Commerce
  • Legal secretary and/or paralegal associations
  • Unemployment offices
  • Email blasts
  • School counselor associations in each state
  • High school career fairs
  • Veterans groups
  • State retraining programs
  • Hang flyers in courthouses
  • Hang flyers at libraries and other community job boards
  • Toastmasters and Rotary clubs
  • Gyms

How do I market my program? Are there templates available for handouts, flyers, Facebook, etc.?

After signing the MOU, you will have access to the Program Leader landing page. The landing page has PDFs of handouts, flyers, and brochures.

How do I get my program listed on the NCRA DiscoverSteno site?

To have your program listed on the website, fill out the NCRA A to Z® Dates and Locations form.

How/where do I get machines? Do I get participants or machines first?

  • It is best to get the participants first and then the machines.
  • To find machines, ask your state association, post a request on Facebook, or put a call out to reporters.
  • Ask reporters and captioners to look in their closets for old machines which are great to use; you may have to purchase a ribbon or a spool, but they are available. And even though a machine might have a dead battery or bad AC charger, most will still work in manual mode.
  • NCRA maintains a list of machines and accessories which have been donated to the program. As a Program Leader you will have access to this list monthly via the ListServ. You may also contact for more information.

How long does it take to get the steno machines?

It depends on where you can get them from and whether you have to travel to obtain them. It is recommended that you use the cheapest postal rate if you are having them shipped to save money on postage. NCRA does not reimburse for shipping.

What type of machines should I use?

  • Any machine that works. Many of the machines donated may be older machines, and it can be difficult and expensive to find paper and ribbons. Newer machines may not have screens that work.
  • Be sure before the first class that all machines and parts work together before issuing machines. Label each machine and part for inventory purposes.
  • Not all paper trays, tripods, and AC chargers are interchangeable. Smartwriters have a different paper tray than a Stentura, an older tripod might not fit a Stentura, and some Stentura chargers do not charge a Mira. Use your donated equipment to make a complete setup.
  • Remind participants that they can load the iStenoPad app by Gigatron Software Corp. to practice anytime, anywhere, even if they do not have a machine with them.

Do the participants take the machines home or leave them in the classroom?

  • Participants take the machines home so they can practice. Participants fill out an agreement that they will reimburse the program if they do not return their machines.
  • Be sure to put the proper value for the machine they are using in the proper space on the "machine rental" form. One of the main reasons to ask for an emergency contact number is to have a follow-up in case a machine is not returned to the program leader.

How do I handle dictation material for my participants? Do the leaders have to make recordings?

Leaders will dictate what is in the book and no other theory concepts. Participants are encouraged to bring a recording device to class to record dictations for at-home practice. Participants will also have access to dictation materials from the NCRA A to Z online website. Please contact with any questions.

As a leader, do I print the book for all participants to take home?

Yes. You should print copies of each lesson and hole-punch the paper so participants can keep the lessons in a binder. We recommend you print only the lessons you cover each session, as some participants drop out from week to week.

Do the participants take the ConsiderSteno Survey online prior to starting the program?

It is not mandatory for participants to take the survey, but it is encouraged. This enables NCRA to collect as much data as possible to track which participants sign up for NCRA A to Z, finish the program, and then go on to enroll in court reporting programs.

How many lessons are taught during each class?

The recommendation is three to four chapters per class, one 3-hour class per week for a period of six to eight weeks. Some lessons are longer than others and/or contain more material. Each group moves at a different pace depending on the abilities of the participants, guest speakers who may visit, etc. It is up to the leader to figure out what lessons to cover in each session.

Is it better to hold classes once per week instead of twice per week?

Once a week is best. Six or eight weeks of practicing two hours a day gives participants a true sense of what a court reporting program will require of them. Can they sustain that in their personal schedules?

How do I handle people who request to take a program and who may not be the best candidates? How can I discuss the program without discouraging them?

Tell them what the course requirements will be and that it usually takes at least two years of full-time college work to complete the requirements of certification. Be encouraging but honest. This should be fun. Even your 92-year-old neighbor can participate. You never know who she will refer to our profession!

How do my participants get more information about court reporting programs?

The Schools and Programs pages on the NCRA website are the best place to learn about NCRA-approved court reporting programs. For information on individual programs, participants will need to contact the schools directly.

What is the list of "Prospective NCRA A to Z Participants"?

These are participants who have signed up on the NCRA DiscoverSteno website who are interested in learning more about NCRA A to Z and/or want to sign up for a class. NCRA will send these names to NCRA-approved court reporting programs.

Do the leaders earn CEUs for teaching the program?

You cannot earn CEUs for this program. However, you can earn 1.0 PDC for teaching the full 24-hour NCRA A to Z program. Assistant program leaders and guest speakers are also eligible for 0.25 PDCs. PDCs are awarded once the Program Leader/Participant Completion Form has been submitted to upon completion of your program.

What is the A to Z email list and how do I ask more questions?

Leaders who sign the MOU will be added to the A to Z email list. Messages sent to the A to Z email list are sent to all subscribers on the list at the same time. This is the place to share information and ask questions of the group. Available donated machines will also be posted to this email ListServ monthly.

If someone wants to donate a machine, what should they do?

If you know of someone who would like to donate their machines (or any other accessories), please have them fill out this form with their contact info and the list of items available. They do not need to mail their machines to NCRA or anywhere else. We will collect their information and pass it along to NCRA A to Z program leaders in their state. It is then up to the program leaders and the donors to make arrangements to have the items picked up.




For questions about the NCRA A to Z® program and other training and school initiatives, please email