A court reporter, also known as a court stenographer, real-time writer, or certified shorthand reporter (CSR), plays a pivotal role in legal proceedings by transcribing every spoken word during trials and other legal processes.
This makes court reporters a crucial component of the justice system.
Individuals aspiring to become licensed court reporters in Washington must follow a specific path, which I will outline below.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Completing Your Court Reporter Education in Washington
- 2 Obtaining Your Court Reporter License in Washington
- 3 Court Reporter Salary in Washington
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Completing Your Court Reporter Education in Washington
Before pursuing licensure, aspiring court reporters must successfully complete an accredited training program.
These programs must have the approval of the Washington Board of Court Reporting.
To enroll in such a program, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Hold a high school diploma or GED
Training programs in Washington can focus on various areas, including:
- Judicial Reporting,
- Professional Transcription,
- Office Assistant,
- Court and Realtime Reporting
Prospective students should ensure that their chosen program’s curriculum has received the endorsement of the Council on Approved Student Education (CASE).
The curriculum typically covers subjects such as:
- Applied Writing I,
- Medical Terminology,
- Legal Terminology,
- Civil and Criminal Law Terminology,
- Realtime Reporting I,
- Realtime Reporting II
These programs are typically offered at the postsecondary level, although they may not necessarily lead to a degree.
Washington accepts a range of educational options, including certificate and diploma programs, as well as associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.
Below are some educational institutions in Washington where you can consider pursuing your training:
Cypress College, a spacious public educational institution situated in California, provides three distinct court reporting programs.
These programs include a one-year certificate program in Court Reporting, a one-year Captioning Certificate program, and a two-and-a-half-year Associate of Science Degree program in Court Reporting.
Notably, all of Cypress College’s court reporting programs hold accreditation from the National Court Reporting Association (NCRA).
Obtaining Your Court Reporter License in Washington
Upon completing your court reporter education in Washington, you must pass an examination to obtain your license.
This must be accomplished within 18 months of completing your training.
During this timeframe, you have the option to obtain a temporary license.
However, it’s important to note that temporary licenses cannot be renewed.
In Washington, you can earn one of the following certifications, both of which are nationally recognized:
- NCRA’s Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification
- NVRA’s (National Verbatim Reporters Association) Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR)
To obtain an actual license to practice as a court reporter in Washington, you must also pass a skills examination administered by one of these organizations:
This process includes submitting the necessary fees, which consist of a $200 license fee, a $50 application fee, and providing proof of graduation from your training program.
Completing the application form is also part of the process.
While the ACRA test closely mirrors the NCRA and NVRA exams, it’s important to note that the NCRA skills test can be taken online, whereas the other two exams must be completed in person.
The fees for those aspiring to become registered professional reporters are as follows:
- $120 (non-member)
- $95 (member)
- $77 (student member)
You’ll have to pay $125 for the NVRA exam.
For those aiming for certified verbatim reporter status, there’s a transfer fee of $50 if they’re already registered as professional reporters.
The fee for the Certified Court Reporter (CCR) skills exam is $75.
The CCR skills exam comprises three separate sections, each lasting five minutes.
To pass, candidates must meet the wordcount requirements in these 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 score in Washington is 95% accuracy.
Additionally, there is a knowledge written exam for the registered professional reporter, consisting of 120 questions covering technology, professional practices, ethics, and reporting practices.
The minimum passing score is 70, with corresponding fees ranging from $160 to $220, depending on your membership status.
Renewing Your Court Reporter License in Washington
As is the case with most licenses, court reporter licenses in Washington require periodic renewal.
The renewal deadline falls on September 30th each year, with a grace period extending until November 30th.
Licenses not renewed by this date will expire.
Renewal fees vary depending on the timing of renewal:
- $200 for on-time renewals
- $240 for renewals until September 31st
- $280 for renewals by November 30th
In addition to the renewal fee, individuals must complete five hours of continuing education annually as part of the license renewal procedure.
Any extra hours can roll over to the following year.
These continuing education hours must be completed through organizations like NCRA, NVRA, and ACRA, with personal development classes typically not accepted.
Court Reporter Salary in Washington
For those curious about the potential earnings in this occupation, court reporters in Washington can anticipate a median annual salary of approximately $66,328.
In the table below, you can find information on the cities within Washington where court reporters tend to earn the highest median salaries.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Frequently Asked Questions
What skills do I need to become a court reporter in Washington?
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 Washington?
Candidates for licensure must ensure they:
- Are an American citizen
- Have a photo not older than 6 months
- One year of reporting experience in a legal setting
- Willing to work overtime and be exposed to outdoor weather, hostile or violent situations, upsetting exhibits, and contagious health situations
- Knowledge of machine shorthand/state-of-the-art stenographic hardware and software
Which courts hire court reporters in Washington?
All of the state’s courts hire court reporters, but not only.
Here are some examples:
- Appellate Courts
- Superior Court
- District Courts
- Administrative and support services
- Federal government
- Local government
- State government