Before Becoming a Court Reporter

Before Becoming a Court Reporter

This article is information on what to know before becoming a court reporter. When you picture a court reporter, what do you imagine? A quiet and reserved person at the back of the courtroom taking testimony, right?  Well, the answer what is a court reporter is so much more than the average legal professional realizes. Yes, they are the sworn protectors of the record, but there is more to know before you know if becoming a  court reporter is right for you..

Court reporters in this day and age must obtain considerable education and multiple skill sets in order to successfully perform their duties. There are few professions that require one have such a strict understanding of language, grammar and the terminologies used by almost every professional out there. Court reporters must understand doctors and lawyers alike, and no matter the accent or any other barrier that exists, the record must be preserved accurately every time.


How to get certified

According to the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA, see, the first step to becoming a court reporter with a nationally recognized certification is to pass the exam for the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) Certification. To do this, a person must take dictation of literary matter at 180 words per minute (wpm), of jury charge at 200 wpm, and of testimony/questions and answers at 225 wpm. Allowing 3.5 hours to transcribe their notes, a minimum 95 percent accuracy is required to pass this first level. You must also take and pass a written knowledge and written skills test. Once a person achieves this certification, they must participate in the NCRA’s continuing education program to remain certified.

The next level is the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR). After becoming a RPR and maintaining that status for at least 3 years, or meeting certain other requirements, a person may apply to take the RMR exam. This consists of multiple components including a written knowledge test. To pass the skills test, you must handle literary at 200 wpm, jury charge at 240 wpm and testimony/Q&A at 260 wpm. You must still maintain a minimum 95 percent accuracy in transcription.

Reporters can obtain even higher levels of certifications that are primarily based on education and knowledge combined with length of time the above certifications are held. These include:

  • Registered Diplomat Reporter (RDR)
  • Certified Real-time Reporter (CRR)
  • Certified Manager of Reporting Services (CMRS)
  • Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS


We hoped you found our blog informative, and if you would like any more information on our Phoenix, AZ court reporters, visit our website.