Are Court Reporters Certified?
Court Reporting Agency New Jersey
Court Reporters and Certification
Often, one way to determine if a service provider is qualified is through required certification. This is partially true with court reporters in that not all states require reporters to obtain certification. And, to make matters more complex, there are various levels and types of certifications that candidates can seek to obtain. We explore some of those below to help you understand a little more about the professionals providing you with your court reporting and stenographic services.
In 1937 the first certificates for court reporting qualifications were issued. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) bestowed them to 27 court reporters. These court reporters earned their certifications by transcribing five minutes of literary dictation at rates of 160 words per minute (wpm); those successful candidates became known as Certified Professionals (CPs). Since that first year of issuance, the standards for certification have evolved and thousands have earned their certification as the need for reporters increased.
Today there are three main tiers of court reporting certification and various additional certifications all of which require mastery in specific areas. The three main tiers are as follows:
- Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). This is the foundation level of certification and is basically the present-day equivalent of a CP (though with tougher standards). To obtain RPR certification, a court reporter must transcribe 180 words per minute in literary settings, 200 words per minute in jury charge and 225 words per minute in testimony settings. They must achieve a minimum accuracy rating of 95%. Currently, 22 states use the NCRA’s RPR exam as their standard of certification. However, many states have their own state licensing and certification requirements. So it is quite possible that a court reporter in New Jersey may have to fulfill different requirements from one in Washington DC.
- Registered Merit Reporter (RMR). To become an RMR, a candidate must demonstrate proficiency in literary, jury charge and testimony transcription at a higher rate than that of an RPR—200 wpm, 240 wpm and 260 wpm respectively. Again, the reporter must transcribe this information with 95% accuracy.
- Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR). RDR is the highest level of certification and identifies outstanding professionals. As with an RMR, an RDR must be able to transcribe literary, jury charge and testimony at a respective 200, 240 and 260 wpm. But an RDR must also sit for a written exam and demonstrate additional skills involving various technologies, reporting practices and professional practices. To be able to sit for the RDR exam, a court reporter must be an RMR with 5 continuous years of NCRA membership.
The NCRA estimates that today there are over 11,000 Registered Professional Reporters in the United States, 2100 Registered Merit Reporters and 450 Registered Diplomate Reporters.
There are additional qualifications a court reporter can seek to improve his/her skills and what he/she can offer to a client. A reporter can become a Certified RealTimeReporter by successfully setting up and operating RealTimecourt reporting equipment (define real time here), writing a minimum 200 words per minute with 96% accuracy, and then converting the written files into a final text format. RealTimecertified reporters are often the most sought after reporters and provide a superior product to those in need of that type of reporting service.
NJ Court reporters may also seek to become a Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC), a Certified CART Provider (CCP), or a Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS).
Court reporters who are especially qualified and enjoy teaching may seek to obtain an instructor certification. Those certifications include: Certified Reporting Instructor (CRI), a Master Certified Reporting Instructor (MCRI) or a Certified Program Evaluator (CPE).
As you can see it takes hard work, skill and commitment to be a qualified court reporter and at Veritext we work with only the best—whether certification is required or not. Want to learn more about our court reporting company and our professionals’ abilities? Give us a call and find out!