Court Reporters have a very complex job. As they translate the spoken word into the written word, accuracy is paramount and imperative. They are, in fact, recording history. Although you can start a career as a Court Reporter after graduation from an online certification or associate degree program, some states require that you obtain a license to obtain gainful employment as a transcriptionist, also known as a stenographer. Some states provide their own court reporting examinations, or some allow testing given by accredited National Reporting Associations. In addition, your state may require you to be a notary public, as well.
Do I need a certification to be a Court Reporter?
As with most careers, pursuing additional education is a must to maintain your licensure and must be renewed periodically. There are three National Reporting Associations in the United States: The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) and the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT). With any of these certifications, you must take a written and practical exam exhibiting a minimum typing speed of at least 225 words per minute with 98% accuracy. You will be required to type, record, and transcribe, in addition to having a working knowledge of equipment, courtroom etiquette, and the English language.
By passing your tests and continuing your education, the NCRA will offer you the title of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). The NVRA offers the title of Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR). The AAERT offers three certification titles, which are as follows: Certified Electronic Reporter (CER), Certified Electronic Transcriber (CET) or Certified Electronic Reporter and Transcriber (CERT).
Are there ways to make more money with special certifications?
As a Court Reporter, starting salaries may begin at approximately $40,000 per year; however, the BLS reports that the average salary is at $60,130 annually. For those that would like to earn more, for example, upwards of six figures, it can be accomplished with additional educational certifications, actual courtroom experience, and as with most careers, it may be dependent upon which area of the country you are working in.
If you would like to increase your annual salary, you may want to consider one or more of these additional certification opportunities: Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS), Certificate of Merit (CM), Registered Broadcast Captioner (RBC), Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), Certified Real-time Captioner (CRC), Real-time Verbatim Reporter (RVR) or, perhaps, a Registered CART Provider (RCP).
For those who have some experience under their belt, the distinguished certification title of Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR) is for you. With this title, you can expect a very lucrative pay raise, as well as the distinction of being the best of the best among Court Reporters. The RDR title is considered the highest level of certification for a Court Reporter.
Best Online Schools for Court Reporting
As you can see, the sky is the limit when entering the field of Court Reporting. If you would like to learn more about the field of stenography or transcription, please see our choices for the Best Online Schools for Court Reporting that we have compiled for your convenience.