Do You Need to Be Certified As a Court Reporter in the USA?
A career in court reporting can be lucrative and rewarding. A court reporter usually has a well-paid position. This career requires specific training. In some states, this means getting a license to practice court reporting within the court system. While certification is not required by federal law, it is recommended. Proper certification makes it easier to find a position as a court reporter.
The education needed to become a court reporter varies based on the reporter's chosen specialization. There are several court reporter programs across the country that provide certification through the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). To graduate from one of these programs, court reporters must capture at least 225 words per minute. That is the standard rate set by the federal government, which makes it a great benchmark for a certification program.
While certification is not required, if you want to become a court reporter, you'll find it difficult to find a job without it. That makes it a requirement in a way. Also, you'll find that you'll gain access to higher-paying positions when you seek additional certifications. You can seek multiple certifications which will improve your chance of getting a good position.
The NCRA offers Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification to people who graduate from a certified school and passes a four-part court reporting examination. While you don't need to pass the exam to graduate, most court reporters choose to take the test. The test is needed to get the certification.
If you want to show greater competency or experience as a court reporter, the NCRA offers further certification. Some of the available certifications include the Registered Diplomate Reporter (RSR and the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR). These certifications are designed specifically for court reporters.
IF you want to expand your expertise and opportunities, you can pursue certification designed for people w ho captions television and media programs for the hearing impaired. These certifications include Certified CART Provider (CCP), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), and Certified Broadcast Cautioner (CBC).
There are other organizations that offer court reporter certifications. There is voluntary certification designation offered by the United States Court Reporters Association. The certification is based on an exam that tests real-time skills. If a reporter works in the Federal courts, this certification qualifies them for the Federal Certified Realtime Reporter (FCRR) Certification.
Another organization that offers court reporter certification is the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT). This is based on a two-part exam with a written and practical section. The Certified Electronic Court Reporter (CER) certification requires that you have at least two years of experience as a court reporter.
Besides the available certification, some court reporters must pursue any required state licensing. Most state licensed court reporters to receive the designation of Certified Court Reporter (CCR). The National Verbatim Reporters Association offers a license that is transferred easily from one state to the next. These designations are the Certificate of Merit (CM), Real-Time Verbatim Reporter (RVR), and the Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR).
Each designation can be used in states where a license is required, in place of the state license. However, the state must allow court reporters to use the voice method. It's important to check to see if the license meets your state's requirements.