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Becoming a Registered Professional Reporter

With the economy as it is today, it is increasingly difficult to find good jobs. Therefore, you should do whatever you can to get a leg up on the competition. That is why it is a wise decision to attend court reporting school to become a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). When an employer evaluates applicants, that employer will most likely choose the applicant with the most education and qualifications. Passing the RPR exams will prove to that employer that you know what you are doing when it comes to court reporter training, as the exam will test you on both knowledge and practice.

The RPR is achieved with two separate exams. First, there is what is called a Written Knowledge Test, which is exactly how it sounds. The person taking the test will be asked 105 multiple-choice questions that quiz you on four basic categories. The majority of the test will be centered on the categories of reporting (which includes questions on captions and appearances, reporting spoken words, reporting nonverbal actions, reading back, transcript distribution, and record verification) and transcript production (which includes questions on information sheets, computer-aided transcription, research, and proofreading). The other two smaller categories are operating practices (filing, storage, and destruction of notes, as well as record keeping) and professional issues (like professional responsibilities and continuing education). Then, the aspiring RPR must pass a skills test which is broken up into three sections: literary at 180 wpm, jury charge at 200 wpm, and testimony at 225 wpm. The test taker is given 75 minutes to transcribe their notes and they must achieve at least 95% accuracy in order to obtain their RPR.

When this certification exam first began, one had to be a member of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) in order to be eligible to take the exam. Recently, that stipulation has been overturned and the exam is open to the public. However, one must be a stenographic reporter. To register for the exam, one must go to the Certification Test Center website at http://www.ncra.org/Certifications/content.cfm?ItemNumber=8594&navItemNumber=11217. You may sign up for the Written Knowledge Test and the Skills Test on different days, so as not to overwhelm yourself. The cost varies per test. For the Written Knowledge Test the cost is $175 for a reporter member, $200 for a nonmember, $140 for a student member, and $200 for a student nonmember. The Skills Test costs $160 for a member, $200 for a nonmember, $125 for a student member, and $200 for a student nonmember. This may seem steep, but in the grand scheme of things, if this certification helps you get a job or a promotion, that money will come back to you.

In order to maintain your RPR certification, it is imperative that you take at least 3.0 continuing education credits (CEUs) every three years. These can be earned at state and national conventions, NCRA webinars and teletrainings, college court reporting courses, and even approved independent studies. All these trainings are probably things that you should engage in anyway if you want to be knowledgeable in your field.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get certified!

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