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Certification & Training

Benefits of Certification

Setting the National Standard

One of NCRA's primary objectives is to set national certification standards and assist states seeking to establish certification or licensing requirements. To that end, NCRA has administered its nationally recognized certification program for court reporters since 1937. In addition, 22 states currently accept or use the RPR in the place of the state certification or licensing exam.

NCRA takes seriously the need to develop and administer objective and valid exams. The judicial system, and society as a whole, depends heavily on the services that only a qualified court reporter can provide. Therefore, working with Professional Examination Services and Pearson VUE, two premier national testing authorities, we have established a test development and administration process that ensures that those who pass an NCRA certification are truly qualified to provide court reporting services based on that established standard.

NCRA also takes seriously the needs of states that use or recognize the RPR certification as their standard of practice. We work vigorously to maintain the integrity of the NCRA testing process while at the same time striving to provide the best customer service possible.

Based on its experience and knowledge; adherence to nationally recognized certification best practices for test development, administration, and security; and a clear emphasis on high-quality customer service, NCRA is uniquely positioned to offer the best certification exams in the field.

What Will NCRA Certification Do for You?

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, it’s harder than ever to impress your clients and employers. In this environment, there are only so many ways for you to differentiate yourself from other available options – whether that’s fellow reporters seeking the same opportunities or alternative technologies that might be under consideration.

Now more than ever, it’s critical that all stenographic reporters take the next step. It is crucial that you diversify your skills and add new services to your repertoire. It's time for you to add an NCRA certification to your list of career accomplishments.

Demonstrate Your Commitment, Build Credibility

It’s not enough to tell your clients and employer that you’ve got the skills. You must show them. Whether you’re looking for the baseline credibility provided by the RPR credential, the advanced recognition you earn through the RMR and RDR credentials, or the acknowledgement of expertise within specialty areas like broadcast captioning, CART, or legal video, NCRA has a certification program that will get you to that next step.

Build & Showcase Your Skills

Being part of the stenographic court reporting profession means continually working to advance your skills. Success requires constantly putting yourself to the test to ensure you are on the cutting edge. Whether it’s learning a new technology, branching out to new specialty areas, or simply conquering that advanced certification, it’s time for you to achieve and then to showcase that achievement.

Open the Doors of Opportunity; Enhance Your Career

Opportunity does not come knocking…you have to go find it. And it’s amazing how much easier it is to find opportunity when you have a new credential behind your name. Along with the skills and training that make you a better reporter, a new credential creates a “buzz” about you. That buzz brings recognition. And that recognition brings opportunity.

Realtime – It’s not Just the Gold Standard, It’s the Bottom Line

As study after study continues to point out, realtime is no longer just a gold standard, it’s the absolute key point of differentiation between stenographic court reporters and alternatives at the disposal of your clients and employers. So many of the services that reporters have to offer rely on realtime capability to make them happen. You’ve put it off long enough. It’s time for you to write realtime. It’s time for you to train for and sit for the Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) exam. Not next year...right now.

NCRA Certification History

In 1937 the National Shorthand Reporters Association introduced its Certificate of Proficiency, which consisted of five-minute dictations of literary material at 160 words per minute; jury charge at 180 wpm; and testimony at 200 wpm. There was no written knowledge component. All three portions had to be passed at once. The first year saw five test sites produce 27 certificate holders.

The Certificate of Merit was introduced in 1949 to recognize a higher level of proficiency. Speeds were literary at 200 wpm; legal opinion at 240 wpm; and testimony at 260 wpm. The Merit could be passed one leg at a time.

Standards for the CP were upgraded in 1973 to 180 wpm for literary; 200 wpm for jury charge; and 225 wpm for testimony. At the same time the association instituted additional rules and guidelines for grading the tests and verifying the results for both the CP and the CM. One result was that the Federal Judicial Center recommended that federal reporters with five years of satisfactory service and who are CM holders receive a 5 percent salary increase.

Adopting the recommendations of management consultant John Evans, NSRA in 1975 added a written knowledge component to the CP to create the Registered Professional Reporter designation. The written portion and all three skills portions had to be passed at once. NSRA began working with an outside testing agency to assure the validity of the program, a practice that has continued to the present.

The RPR also carried a continuing education requirement for holders to earn 30 continuing education credits every three years, with each credit representing an hour of approved continuing education. The requirement changed to the standard measure of continuing education units, or CEUs, in 1999, with one CEU representing 10 hours of continuing education. This change greatly expanded the sources of CEUs that reporters can tap to maintain their certifications.

The growth in realtime reporting and the diversity of specialties employing realtime led to creation in 1996 of the Certified Realtime Reporter designation. The CRR test originally consisted of five minutes of dictation at speeds that varied between 180 and 200 wpm. The test now is given at a fixed rate of 200 wpm. Candidates must already be RPRs to sit for the CRR and must earn 3 CEUs every three years to maintain certification. The federal court system and a few state court systems offer a salary increase to realtime-certified reporters.

The Certified Broadcast Captioner and Certified CART Provider designations were introduced in 2003 to provide a certification path for those realtime reporting specialties. Each consists of a written knowledge test in addition to a five-minute realtime test at 180 wpm. CBC and CCP holders must earn 3 CEUs every three years to maintain their certifications.

NCRA also offers certification programs for videographers, reporting instructors, reporting program evaluators, and managers of reporting services.