How to Become a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania

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How to Become a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania

A court reporter, also known as a court stenographer, real-time writer, or certified shorthand reporter (CSR), plays a crucial role in legal proceedings by transcribing every spoken word.

Their role is integral to the functioning of the justice system.

For those interested in pursuing a career as a court reporter in Pennsylvania, this article outlines the necessary steps for licensure, so read on!

Complete Your Education as a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania

Becoming licensed as a court reporter in Pennsylvania requires the completion of a comprehensive training program.

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Importantly, the chosen program must be approved by the Pennsylvania Board of Court Reporting.

To enroll in such a program, prospective students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Hold a high school diploma or a GED

Training programs in Pennsylvania cover various specialized areas, including:

  • CART/Captioning
  • Judicial Reporting
  • Scoping/Proofreading
  • Professional Transcription
  • Office Assistant
  • Court and Real-time Reporting

Prospective students must ensure that the curriculum of their chosen program has been approved by CASE (Council on Approved Student Education).

Typically, these programs cover subjects such as:

  • Applied Writing I
  • Medical Terminology
  • Legal Terminology
  • Civil and Criminal Law Terminology
  • Real-time Reporting I
  • Real-time Reporting II

These programs in Pennsylvania are typically offered at the postsecondary but non-degree level, providing options such as certificates, diplomas, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees.

The schools where you can get training are below.

University of Pennsylvania Arms of the University of Pennsylvania

This institution offers courses in court reporting, closed captioning, and CART, which can be taken online at one’s own pace.

There are no specific prerequisites for enrollment. The primary objective of this course is to enable students to write at a speed of up to 225 words per minute.

The program fee is $6,104 for those not requiring a steno machine, while students needing the machine will need to pay $7,899.

Students have access to the CAT program during enrollment, but they will need to purchase it for their professional careers.

Philadelphia Community College

This college provides an Associate in Applied Science degree in Court Reporting Technology, catering to individuals who aspire to become court reporters.

Enrollment typically takes place during the fall semester, and successful graduation necessitates meeting specific requirements.

These requirements include scoring at least a “C” in all Court Reporting courses and any other courses mandated by NCRA’s Council.

Additionally, candidates must achieve a minimum accuracy rate of 96% in four tests, each lasting five minutes.

These tests encompass transcribing at speeds of 225 words per minute (two-voice), 200 words per minute for a jury charge, and 180 words per minute for literary material.

Completing a mandatory 50-hour internship, with 40 hours dedicated to writing, is a requisite.

School Name Address
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104
Community College of Philadelphia 1700 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
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Becoming Licensed as a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania

Upon the successful completion of your education, you must pass an examination to acquire your court reporter license.

You have an 18-month window from the conclusion of your training to achieve this milestone.

During this period, you can secure a temporary license.

However, it is essential to note that this temporary license cannot be renewed.

There are two nationally recognized certifications available:

  • NCRA’s Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification
  • NVRA’s (National Verbatim Reporters Association) Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR)

To obtain a license in Pennsylvania, you must also pass a skills examination, which can be administered by any of the following organizations:

  • NCRA,
  • NVRA,
  • ACRA.

This process involves the following steps:

  • Payment of the requisite fees, including $200 for the license and $50 for the application
  • Providing proof of completion of the approved training program
  • Completing the application form

The ACRA test closely mirrors both the NCRA and NVRA examinations.

While the NCRA skills test is available online, the other two must be taken in person.

For those aiming to become a registered professional reporter, the fee structure is as follows:

  • $120 for non-members
  • $95 for members
  • $77 for student members

The fee for the NVRA examination is $125.

If you aspire to become a certified verbatim reporter, a transfer fee of $50 applies if you are already a registered professional reporter.

The Certified Court Reporter (CCR) skills examination carries a cost of $75.

The examination comprises three distinct sections, each lasting five minutes.

To pass, you must meet specified word count requirements in these three areas:

  • Literary at 180 words per minute
  • Jury charge at 200 words per minute
  • Testimony/Q&A at 225 words per minute

Candidates have 75 minutes to transcribe their notes, and the minimum passing accuracy score in Pennsylvania is 95%.

Furthermore, there is a knowledge written examination for registered professional reporters, consisting of 120 questions covering technology, professional practices, ethics, and reporting practices.

The minimum passing score is 70, and the associated fees are as follows:

  • $220 for non-members
  • $195 for members
  • $160 for student members

The NVRA exam costs $125.

Court Reporter License Renewal in Pennsylvania

In this state, you need to renew your license every year.

A reminder email is typically dispatched around August 1st.

A grace period is in effect until the end of November 30th, following which unrenewed licenses expire.

The renewal process encompasses fees, which are structured as follows:

  • $200 for timely renewals
  • $240 for renewals up to September 31st
  • $280 for renewals completed by November 30th

Individuals must complete 5 hours of continuing education annually for the license renewal process.

These educational hours must be accrued through NCRA, NVRA, and ACRA.

Court Reporter Salary in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, the median annual salary for a court reporter is $61,697.

Check out the table below for more info.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Warrington $66,278
Ackermanville $66,112
Abington $65,555
Wayne $65,506
Bangor $65,307
Avondale $64,838
Zieglerville $64,040
Stroudsburg $63,420
Allentown $62,303
Whitehall $62,303

Regional Salary in Pennsylvania

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ40$65,060$31.28$90,280$53,900
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA30$60,840$29.25$75,350$37,330
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD280$62,180$29.89$74,060$47,230
Pittsburgh, PA130$60,820$29.24$71,760$43,150
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA40$54,000$25.96$63,080$29,050
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners, OCC Code 27-3092, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What skills do I need to become a court reporter in Pennsylvania?

Here are some of the main skills and abilities of a court reporter, regardless of state:

  • Good hearing
  • Able to sit for long periods
  • Word knowledge
  • English / grammar skills
  • Good use of both hands
  • Able to handle stress
  • Good organizational skills

What other requirements are there to become a court reporter in Pennsylvania?

Candidates for licensure must ensure they:

  • Are an American citizen
  • Have a photo not older than 6 months

Which courts hire court reporters in Pennsylvania?

All of the state’s courts hire court reporters.

Here are some examples:

  • Appellate Courts
  • Superior Court
  • District Courts

USA Court Reporter by State

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