How To Become A Certified Court Reporter

How To Become A Certified Court Reporter

Struggling to boost your career as a court reporter? The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) certifies reporters for success. This article guides you through getting certified, from choosing a path to passing exams.

Key Takeaways

  • To start your career as a court reporter, you must choose between national and state-specific certification paths. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) offers several options like the RSR, RPR, and CRR for working anywhere in the U.S.
  • Complete an accredited court reporting program that teaches machine shorthand skills at speeds needed for certification exams. Programs approved by the NCRA are recommended.
  • You need to pass required exams such as reaching a speed of 225 words per minute for literary materials with 95% accuracy for some certifications. Tests can be taken through NCRA or state-specific organizations.
  • After getting certified, maintain your status by completing continuing education credits every three years to keep up with changes in court reporting practices.
  • There are special certification options available for military spouses and veterans which might waive some exam requirements.

Understanding Court Reporter Certification

To become a certified court reporter, you must understand the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) certification and state-specific requirements. It involves completing accredited court reporting programs and passing required examinations.

National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Certification

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has set the standard for court reporting excellence since 1937. The first Certificate of Proficiency marked a significant milestone with 27 skilled professionals achieving this honor.

It didn't stop there—over the years, NCRA introduced additional certifications to meet evolving industry needs: the Certificate of Merit in 1949, Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) in 1975 for those who mastered both practical skills and written knowledge, Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) in 1992 focusing on live broadcast captioning precision, and later extensions like Certified Broadcast Captioner and Certified CART Provider in 2003 to embrace broader communication access technologies.

The most recent addition came in 2018 with the Registered Skilled Reporter (RSX), further diversifying certification options available.

These certifications require passing rigorous exams that assess typing speed, understanding of stenotype machine operation, judicial reporting proficiency, closed captioning ability, and more.

They also signal to employers across courts and legal settings—a certified reporter meets high professional standards necessary for accurately capturing spoken words as textual records.

As requirements vary by state beyond these national credentials, it's key to check local mandates next.


Achieving NCRA certification is a career milestone for court reporters.


State-specific Certification Requirements

Every state has its own rules for court reporter certification. For example, in Texas, the Judicial Branch says you need to pass the CSR Exam, have a high school diploma or GED, and clear both state and national background checks.

You must apply online with your legal name matching your government ID. This is key if you want to do shorthand reporting in that state.

Some states might let NCRA certifications like RPR stand in for their own exams. So, it's smart to check what your specific state needs. This way, you make sure you're following the right path to become a certified court reporter where you plan to work.

Whether through NCRA or directly within your state's requirements, getting certified is an essential step on this career journey.

Steps to Become a Certified Court Reporter

To become a certified court reporter, you need to select your certification path. Then, complete an accredited court reporting program and pass required examinations.

Choose Your Certification Path

First, decide if you want a national or state-specific certification. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) offers several options like RSR, RPR, and CRR. These are good for work anywhere in the U.S. State certifications might have different needs but focus on local court systems.

For digital court reporters, programs train you in using technology to record words spoken in court.

Next step: Complete an accredited course in court reporting. Look for schools with NCRA-approved curricula like Anoka Technical College. These programs teach machine shorthand and communication access real-time translation skills at speeds needed for certification tests.


Choosing the right certification path opens doors to various court reporting careers.


Complete an Accredited Court Reporting Program

To become a certified court reporter, you must complete an accredited court reporting program. The National Court Reporters Association provides certification testing and offers in-person skills testing in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as online options.

These certification programs include practical and theoretical components to ensure the best practices and high-quality member service.

Completing an accredited program is necessary to advance your career prospects as a court reporter. The NCRA's continuous skill advancement and advanced certifications also provide further opportunities for professional growth.

Pass the Required Examinations

To become a certified court reporter, you need to pass the required examinations. For example, RPRs must hit speeds of 225 words per minute for literary and jury charge material, and 200 words per minute for question-and-answer testimony at 95% accuracy.

CRR candidates should achieve these speeds as well. As technology evolves, some tests are now conducted using digital recording equipment.

After completing an accredited court reporting program, you'll be ready to sit for the NCRA exams or other state-specific tests. Once you pass these exams and meet all certification requirements, you can become a certified court reporter.

Maintaining Your Certification

To maintain your certification, you need to stay updated with the latest changes in court reporting by completing continuing education courses. These courses are essential for enhancing your skills and staying current in this field.

Continuing Education Requirements

To maintain your court reporter certification, you must complete continuing education requirements. Here are the details:

  1. RPRs need 30 continuing education credits every three years.
  2. CRR candidates must be RPRs and require 3.0 CEUs every three years.
  3. CRC holders and RSR holders also need 3.0 CEUs every three years.
  4. You can fulfill these requirements through online learning, third-party education, or events.

Ensure to keep track of your continuing education to maintain your certification as a court reporter.

Recertification Processes

To maintain your court reporter certification, you need to follow recertification processes after obtaining the initial certification. This ensures that you stay updated and qualified in your field. Here's what it involves:

  1. Renewal Requirements - Fulfilling continuing education requirements by attending approved courses and programs.
  2. Timely Submission - Submitting recertification applications and fees before the expiration date.
  3. Professional Development - Engaging in activities that promote skill enhancement and knowledge expansion.
  4. Compliance with Standards - Adhering to the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) guidelines for maintaining certification.

Following these processes will help ensure that you remain a certified and competent court reporter.

Special Considerations

For individuals from military families or veterans, there are unique certification options available. Those starting their careers can explore apprenticeship and provisional certifications.

Certification for Military Spouses and Veterans

Military spouses and veterans have specific pathways for court reporter certification. There are conditions that waive the examination requirement, and online submission of application and fees is necessary.

Additionally, a criminal history check and electronic fingerprinting are mandatory for these applicants.

Provisional and Apprentice Certifications

With a provisional certification, expired over 1 year ago, pass a background check and written exam. The certification is non-renewable and expires upon full certification or after three years.

For the apprentice certification, valid for up to two years, undergo oral and written exams along with a background check. During this time, holders cannot report court proceedings but may work outside of court settings.


Becoming a certified court reporter involves choosing the right certification path, completing an accredited program, and passing required exams. To maintain certification, continuing education is necessary.

Military spouses and veterans have special options for certification. If you're interested in this career, check out NCRA's certifications to open new opportunities and enhance your skills.


1. What do I need to start my journey as a certified court reporter?

First, grab an associate degree or complete the general education requirements. Then, dive into a certification program recognized by the NCRA (National Court Reporters Association). It's your ticket in.

2. Can internships boost my chances of becoming a successful court reporter?

Absolutely! Internships give you real-world experience, letting you interpret and research right in the heart of action—district courts, state courts, you name it. Plus, they're great for networking.

3. How important is certification from the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA)?

Think of it as your golden key—essential! Certification sets you apart, showing you've got what it takes to excel in district and state courts alike.

4. Where should I look for job opportunities once I'm certified?

Start with LinkedIn; it’s a goldmine for professional connections and job listings tailored to stenographers and court reporters like yourself. Don’t forget about the National Center for State Courts too—they often list openings.

5. Is there more than one type of court reporting?

Yes! From capturing testimony in divorce cases to assisting judges across various district courts—the scope is broad. Each setting demands unique skills but hinges on accuracy and speed above all else.