What It Takes To Be A Certified Court Reporter
Since 1935, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has been certifying court reporters. Back then, 27 court reporters were to first to get their certification by transcribing 5-minute dictations at 160 words per minute. Able to do this, these 27 court reporters became Certified Professionals (CP).
The standards nowadays are much different. The NCRA, headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area has is an important organization for court reporting professionals. There are 3 certification levels today that the NCRA challenges aspiring court reporters to meet. The first is a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), then the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), and finally, the highest of the certifications, the Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR).
Different criterion for meeting each of these levels are judged through difficult, multi-skill testing. To pass the RPR examination, court reporters must score higher than 70% in this testing. To pass, court reporters much prove their knowledge in the areas of court reporting technology, standard reporting practices, and professional practices. And like the first court reporters from 1935, today, it is no surprise that certified reporters much be able to transcribe quickly. In transcribing dictated literary work they must exceed 180 words per minute. In a Jury charge the minimum words per minute is 200. Finally, in a testimony setting, 225 words per minute is the minimum required to pass. All of this must be completed with at least 95% accuracy.
As if the conditions for passing the RPR exam weren’t hard enough, the RMR exam takes it to another level. To be a Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), a court reporter is tested at the minimum words per minute of 200 for literary dictation, 240 for jury charge, and a whopping 260 words per minute in a court testimony setting. But the testing doesn’t stop there. To become a Registered Diplomate reporter, the criterion for passing only gets harder. These court reporters must pass an additional test to prove their understanding, skill, and practice in a written examination. These Registered Diplomate reporters have proven themselves within the court reporting professional and set themselves apart as highly skilled court reporters.
While RPR, RMR, and RDR certifications are the three main certification levels on the road to becoming a skilled professional in the industry, there are other certifications court reporters can earn to set themselves apart. These professionals can prove their skills in realtime court reporting by becoming a Certified Realtime Reporter (CPR). This is a growing component of the court reporting industry that requires certified reporters to write at a 96% accuracy level consistently, while proving their skill at operating realtime equipment and also the handling and conversion of files.
Additional certifications that the NCRA offers are a Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC), a Certified CART provider (CCP), a Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS), a Certified Reporting Instructor (CRI), a Master Certified Reporting Instructor (MCRI), and a Certified Program Evaluator (CPE).
In Washington, D.C., the professionals at the National Court Reporting Association are working hard to provide opportunities such as these to court reporters in the industry looking to distinguish themselves at top notch contenders in their field. Certification centers can be found, not only at several locations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, but across the country. From Washington, D.C. to Chicago to San Francisco, court reporters are earning valuable skills and experience to be great court reporters.