Articles in this issue -
1 - "How Long Does it Take..."
2 - "State Requirements"
3 - "Brief Contest"
4 - "New Online Program - SimplySteno.com!"
5 - "Problems Getting in the Message Board?"
How Long Does it Take... (back to top)
I'm a member of 7 court reporting-related forums, and at least once a month I see the same question - "How long does it take to get through school?" The easy answer is 5 1/2 years. Next question. Oh...wait...I guess I should go into that a little deeper, huh?
First things first. You need to know that less than 10% of students who start CR school actually finish. Discouraged? Don't be. There are about 500 members on this site and over 5,000 CR students in schools right now. That means that every single one of you reading this can be in that 10% - not a problem! If you have the proper mental attitude and a basic physical ability, you're in!
As for the 5 1/2 years, that's the average time it takes for a full-time student to get through school. Yes, I know it's sold as a 3 1/2 year program - kinda makes me want to puke. It was set up that way to work with financial aide. It's tough to get financial aide approval for schools that pass less than 10% of students - think about it.
That said, why do some students pass in 1 1/2 years (a student at my school) and others in 13 years (another student at my school)? Some of the blame can be placed on the schools. It takes a well-designed program to get students through. It takes the proper tools, guidance and structure. Some schools have it and others don't come close.
Another chunk of the blame can be placed on the Admissions Dept. They need to let the student know that just showing up isn't going to get you through. But schools are businesses and no admissions representative is going to reveal the "whole picture" if it means turning away a potential dollar - er, I mean student.
But the bulk of the responsibility rests on YOUR shoulders. The fact is that you are now in school (most of you). Admissions may have lead you astray. Your school may be severely lacking. But if you're in the proper frame of mind, neither of those things matters. It's about you now. Court reporting school is the most solitary schooling atmosphere I can think of. It takes a leader mentality - someone who can conjure up their own motivation and drive.
And most of all, it takes commitment, commitment, COMMITMENT! If you always have one eye on the exit door, you're not giving it your all. And this is one program you have to devote yourself to. To quote a movie, "Failure is not an option." Let's work together as a group and succeed!
State Requirements (back to top)
Another popular topic of conversation - "What are the requirements for each state?" Well, I've tried several times to assemble a master list, but some states just don't seem to want to divulge that information! It boggles my mind that some states make it so difficult to get this information! Don't they want reporters coming into the state? Is there some reporting cult I don't know about?
Whatever the case, I've listed the requirements for every state I know. In some states you can do depo work without any certification, but you need something for official reporting. If you're in a state that's not listed and you know the requirements, please let me know and I'll add it to the list. Thanks!
ARIZONA – The exam you must pass is basically
a copy of the RPR.
CALIFORNIA – The CSR exam is a 200 wpm 4-voice for 10 minutes at 97.5%.
COLORADO – Most agencies will let you work without certification, but you need an RPR to work in the court system.
FLORIDA - Nothing.
GEORGIA - There is an A and B certification test. The A and B certification tests consist of three skills test (Testimony, Literary and Jury Charge) and a written test. The speeds for the A test are: 225 Testimony, 200 Jury Charge, 180 Literary. The speeds for the B test are: 200 Testimony, 180 Jury Charge, 160 literary. Passing rate for skills test is 96% accuracy; passing rate for the written exam is 85%.
IOWA - The Iowa CSR tests consists of written knowledge test, technical q & a at 180 (transcribed), non technical q & a at 225 (transcribed); and non technical multi voice at 200, from which one minute is chosen for readback. The written knowledge consists of medical and legal terminology, court procedures, spelling, and Iowa code sections and Iowa rules of court
relating reporters. It has a 70 percent accuracy requirement. The transcription requirement is 95 percent. There is no reciprocity for other states' CSR's. However, if an individual holds the RPR from NCRA, they are only required to take the written knowledge test to become an Iowa CSR.
ILLINOIS - The Illinois CSR consists of General dictation at 200 words per minute for 5 minutes with an allowance of 50 errors. Definition: spoken words presented in court proceedings, depositions, arbitrations, speeches and hearings).
Testimony, 2-voice, 225 words per minute for 5 minutes with an allowance of 57 errors.
KENTUCKY - Currently, there are no certification laws by the State of Kentucky.
LOUISIANA - Louisiana has a required certification exam, same as RPR, but if you pass the RPR, they reciprocate and you receive your CCR state certification.
MARYLAND - Currently, there are no certification laws by the State of Maryland.
MASSACHUSETTES - There is a Massachusetts CSR exam that is given twice per year, the last Saturday in October and April. It consists of 5 minute dictation of literary at 170, jury charge at 190, and two-voice testimony at 210. Applicants must pass with 95 percent accuracy. There is no written portion. There is currently no requirement to pass this exam to work in MA; however, there is currently a licensure bill in Judiciary Committee regarding requiring all court reporters to pass a CSR exam to become licensed to work in MA.
MICHIGAN – The state exam is pretty much a copy of the RPR.
MISSOURI - Missouri's CCR (Certified Court Reporter) Exam consists of - Five minutes of opening statement or closing argument at 180 standard words per minute - Five minutes of two-voice medical dictation at 200 standard words per minute - Five minutes of two-voice dictation at 225 standard words per minute - Applicant will be given a total of three hours to transcribe the dictation, with an accuracy of 95% required to pass - There is also a General Knowledge Test which is given, that consists of 100 questions, and a minimum score of 80% is required to pass. Applicants are given one hour to complete this test.
NEVADA - Nevada requires a state CSR to work in any form of reporting. State courts for the most part are covered by per diem reporters. Your judge loses an election, you're out too. The test is 12 mins live dictation, 2 mins are lead-in, 4 voice at 200 wpm, and a written knowledge test.
NEW JERSEY – New Jersey doesn't have a written part but we must pass 180 medical two-voice, 200 literary, and 225 4-voice.
NEW YORK – No state requirements. Then again, I have another list that says there are requirements, so...
NORTH CAROLINA - You do NOT have to be certified to work in the freelance field; however, you DO have to have an RPR to work for the Administrative Office of the Courts as an official.
OREGON – The CSR is not mandatory to freelance in our state; although, the CSR and/or NCRA tests are favored by many freelance firms when hiring. Oregon's CSR test is mandatory for working in court. It consists of five minutes of literary at 180, jury charge at 200, and two-voice testimony at 225. Passing score for each segment is 95 percent, and you must pass all three in the same sitting, unless you pass two, and then you are given credit for the two, provided you pass the remaining segment within 12 months.
PENNSYLVANIA - Pennsylvania is one of the few states that has no requirements to be a court reporter. Of course, one must be a notary to swear in witnesses. But as far as court reporting skills, there is no requirement.
RHODE ISLAND – You are required to type from an actual trial in court. You will sit in on a trial with a qualified reported who will be taking down the legal record. You get to take your notes home for 2 or 3 days and transcribe 10 pages. Your transcribed pages are then compared to the official reporter’s notes to see how you did. There is no set percentage you must get, it’s up for interpretation.
TENNESSEE - TN at this time only has VOLUNTARY licensure by the Tennessee Court Reporters Association. They are pursuing mandatory but as of yet it has not happened. Reporters are eligible for the voluntary licensure by either having a CSR from another state or passing the RPR.
TEXAS - The oral portion of the test, Part A, consists of 5 minutes of 2 voice dictation of questions and answers given at 225 words per minute (wpm), 5 minutes of dictation of jury charge given at 200 wpm, and 5 minutes of dictation of selected literary material given at 180 wpm. Each applicant shall personally take down the test, either in his/her own writing or in his/her own voice, and shall reduce to writing the takedown on either a manual or electric typewriter, or computer. The minimum passing grade on each section of Part A of the test shall be 95% accuracy.
WEST VIRGINIA - West Virginia requires mandatory certification for reporters in state courts and voluntary certification for freelancers. The West Virginia CSR is given at lower speeds than the RPR, so I'm pretty sure that they would accept the RPR rather than the state CSR if someone wanted to work in court.
WISCONSIN - Wisconsin does honor other state's CSR exams as long as they match or are similar to RPR.
Brief Contest (back to top)
As you might have noticed, some of your brief requests are not being answered. Truth is, they're coming in faster than I can transfer them or look them up. Sooooooooo...
Today I transferred 380 brief requests to the Brief Contest section of the Board. The 3 people who contribute the most usable (by my judgment) briefs within the next 7 days will each get a FREE 12-week subscription of dictation from SpeedBuilders.com and 5 pades of paper! That's a $38 value. If someone has already posted a brief response, add another if you have a good one. Some words have several great briefs.
I've placed the briefs into groups because of convenience (for me). The groupings have no significance - just easier for me to post that way. So look through those briefs and I'll announce the winners in 7 days!
Over the last 3 years I've been asked 2 questions over and over
- why don't I speak in schools, and why don't I start a program. Well, I like
being under the radar, so public speaking isn't really something I see in
my future. But a program...
YES!!!!! I'm very happy to announce the launch of SimpleSteno.com! This isn't your typical online program. No degrees. No fluff. No high tuition. We realize that court reporting is not your typical occupation, so why should your program be? Our new program is designed with one purpose in mind - get you to pass the RPR exam! Based on my successful RPR and CSR prep courses, SimplySteno.com expands those programs into the lower speeds (starting at 100 wpm).
Our philosophy - Quality, Value, Structure and Guidance - the finest of each. If you're happy with your current program, stick with it! But if you feel you're not getting everything you need to succeed, check out SimplySteno.com today! Our official launching date is July 1st, but if you join in the month of June, we'll knock $100 off the initial payment. With a monthly tuition of only $120, and a "Pass or Don't Pay" approach to teaching, you may want to take a look!
Problems Getting in the Message Board? (back to top)
If you signed up for StenoLife.com, but you're being asked for a username and password when you try to enter the Message Board, you've encountered a little glitch we've been having. Just drop me an email at email@example.com - let me know your username and I'll fix it right away!