Everyone likes the idea of fancy initials following their name. Esq., JD, MD, Ph.D. They illustrate, at a glance, the work you put into a degree and exactly what that degree is.
Court reporters are no exception. Credentials are required in order to participate in the industry, along with continuing education to keep those credentials current. Some of them are determined on a national level, while others are state-specific. Florida, for instance, has the “FPR” designation, or Florida Professional Reporter. This voluntary certification is offered to anyone working in the state who serves as a Guardian of the Record in some capacity, along with scopists (transcript editors), students, court reporting instructors and more.
What Are They, and Who Needs Them?
What are some other certifications that the profession requires (or at the very least, suggests)?
Registered Professional Reporter (RPR)
This is the entry-level designation for professional and freelance reporters. There is both a skills test and a Written Knowledge test, which requires a score of 70 points or higher. The skills are tested in three areas: literary at 180 words per minute (WPM), jury charge at 200 WPM, and testimony/Q&A at 225 WPM. Testers are given 75 minutes to transcribe afterward and require 95% accuracy.
Registered Merit Reporter (RMR)
This is the next step up from the RPR. It designates you as a top reporter in the country and allows you to sit for the National Speed Test, open to NCRA members. This certification requires literary at 200 WPM, jury charge at 240 WPM, and testimony/Q&A at 260 WPM.
Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR)
This is voice-to-text transcription. Anyone interested must already hold an RPR certification and score 96% on a typing accuracy test with at least 200 WPM.
Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR)
This is the top level of court reporting, and anyone who wishes to apply must have been a member of the NCRA for five continuous years. The test is a 115-question multiple-choice exam that requires a score of 70 or more.
Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC)
Captioning in real-time is difficult, and it also opens up a whole world of employment opportunities. For instance, captioning is done for television, sporting events, concerts, speeches and more. Anyone sitting for this exam must be a current or aspiring stenographic reporter. Keep in mind that they don’t need to be a member of the NCRA to take the test. It is composed of an on-demand seminar after completing the CRC workshop, an online skills test (with a literary score of 180 WPM), and a written knowledge test.
Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS)
Legal video is different from a normal movie you record on your phone. Special attention must be paid to the capture and retention of these important trial records, and having a CLVS certification goes a long way toward showing people what you can do.
Certified Recording Instructor
Teachers need their own special designation. This requires NCRA membership and continuing education.
Having more initials after your name can only be a plus in today’s cramped job market. Make sure to check the individual requirements for your state, and always keep learning!