Who Offers Certified Court Reporting And What Are Their Credentials?

Court reporting can be used in more situations than just the courtroom.  There are many businesses and legal firms who use court reporters for meetings and depositions.  If you are thinking about hiring a court reporter, then you need to know who offers this service and what credentials they will need to have.  If they are not properly qualified, they could provide a poor service and provide you with transcripts that you cannot use.

Who Are Court Reporters?

Court reporters (click here for more info) are individuals who are responsible for the creation of a verbatim transcript of court proceedings or legal depositions.  Some of these individuals will use a stenotype machine to create their notes and then transcribe them at a later date.  Court reporters will provide accurate and grammatically correct transcripts to the court or lawyers and could be asked to read back testimony during the court proceedings.

Anyone can train to become a court reporter and they will typically have to complete a certification or associates degree in court reporting or stenography.  They will also have to pass a licensing examination or the examination set out by the National Court Reporters Association.  Many court reporters will work on a freelance basis to increase the flexibility they have but will require experience if they are hired by a court reporting service.

The Training Programs

To work as a court reporter, the individual will need to complete a certification or associates degree.  These certifications will be completed in a formal training program and will teach the person the skills they require to be court reporters.  There are different training programs available for court reporters based on the methods of reporting they will use and whether they are looking to further their studies.

There are many vocational colleges that offer training programs for court reporting as do many community colleges.  The programs can take 1 to 2 years to complete depending on the certification the person is looking to gain.  Some of the certified schools will offer the courses online.

Training courses will cover the use of a stenotype machine which works in shorthand to record court proceedings. They will also cover CAT which is computer-aided transcription which utilizes software to translate stenographic and text combinations.  Electronic court reporters will use an audio-recording device during the proceedings.

If you can get information about the court reports training program, then you should consider whether or not it is from a school accredited by the NCRA.  The NCRA has a listing of accredited school on their website.  The schools on this list will provide the training that the NCRA find to be the best and properly prepare court reporters for licensing.

State Licensing

Each state will have different licensing requirements for court reporters, and the court reporter will need to adhere to them for the state they wish to work in.  Some states will require any applicants to earn a certification from a professional organization.  The most commonly used professional organization for this will be the NCRA and the certification needed is the Registered Professional Reporter designation.

Court reporters that have this designation will have passed a skills exam and a written knowledge exam set by the NCRA.  For the skills test the reporter will need to be able to record and transcribe a dictation with an accuracy level of 95%.  They will also be required to record at a speed of 225 spoken words per minute.

There are some states that also require court reporters to be notaries public.  The requirements to become a notary public will vary depending on the state.  However, this will comprise of a training period, the passing of a written exam and pass a criminal background check.

Further Certification

There are many court reporting services that require their reporters to have further certification.  These certifications will be through trade organizations such as the NCRA, the United States Court Reporters Association and the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers.  The certifications offered by the associations will vary depending on the reporter’s experience and specialties.

Maintaining Certification

Annual training will need to be undergone for a court reporter to maintain their certification.  This is particularly important for stenographic reporters.  The RPR credential requires that certified reporters complete three units of continued education every three years.  The court reporters will also need to maintain their membership status with the NCRA.

If you are thinking of hiring a court reporter to record and transcribe your depositions, then you need to consider the certifications that they have.  The court reporter will need to be a member of the NCRA and have a certification from them.  They will also need to hold a license for the state that you operate in.


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