Colorado Court Reporters Association
Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for its pay of court reporters, with an average salary of $70, 130 as of May 2012. Further, the BLS reported that Denver-Aurora-Broomfield ranked among the nation’s top-paying metropolitan areas for court reporters, with a mean, annual salary of $76, 000 during the same period.
Although court reporters are no longer certified to practice in Colorado, many employers in this state, including Colorado’s court system, requires court reporters to possess a distinct set of qualifications. Therefore, if you want to learn how to become a court reporter in Colorado, you must complete a number of steps:
Step 1. Complete a Course of Study for Court Reporters
Court reporter programs come in many shapes and sizes, with programs occurring in everything from dedicated court reporter schools to technical schools and community colleges. Comprehensive court reporter programs provide education and training in the areas of:
- Communication and English grammar
- Realtime writing
- Legal principles and medical terminology
- Legal and business ethics
- Machine shorthand speed
- Transcript preparation through CAT software
NCRA-certified schools must adhere to the General Requirements and Minimum Standards that were established by the Council on Approved Student Education, which is through the National Court Reporters Association.
Explore Other Education Options Related to Criminal Justice and Legal Studies
Here you’ll find schools that offer certificate and degree programs well suited to a career in legal assisting, law office management and the paralegal profession.
Step 2. Achieve Certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR)
Although court reporters in Colorado are not licensed or certified, many employers, including the Colorado court system, require court reporters to be certified as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) through the National Court Reporters Association.
The RPR consists of two, separate exams: a written exam and a skills exam.
- Professional practices: 16 percent
- Reporting practices: 62 percent
- Technology: 22 percent
You must register with NCRA and submit the exam fee ($185 if you are a NCRA member and $210 if you are not) to take the written exam, which is provided by Pearson VUE. You can find more about upcoming NCRA testing dates for the written exam through the Pearson VUE website.
Pearson VUE testing centers are located in:
- Greenwood Village
The skills exam portion of the certification process includes the following components:
- Literary at 180 wpm
- Jury charge at 200 wpm
- Testimony/Q&A at 225 wpm
After the completion of each component, you will be given 75 minutes to transcribe your notes, and you must achieve an accuracy of at least 95 percent to pass this portion of the certification exam. If you are unable to pass one or more legs of the exam, you can retake it. There is no time limit for passing all components of the skills exam.
The skills exam is taken at the Prince Institute in Westminster, Colorado.
Step 3. Get to Work and Maintain your RPR Certification
Maintaining your RPR certification requires the completion of at least 3 continuing education credits every 3 years. You can find a wealth of continuing education opportunities through the NCRA.