Court Reporter Jobs and Training Opportunities in Arizona

Arizona is no stranger to sensational courtroom drama, but in recent memory, maybe the most dramatic has been the trial of Jodi Ann Arias for the murder of Travis Alexander.

Lurid photos and testimony came out as Arias was tried for stabbing her lover to death in the shower, for motives that remain unclear to this day. A hung jury during the death penalty sentencing phase left Arias’ life in the balance until a retrial ended with her facing life in prison.

Someone dying at the hands of someone who claimed to love them always makes for big headlines. But the trial was sensational for another reason, one that drew at least one court reporter into the drama in a completely unacceptable way. Prosecutor Juan Martinez developed an obsession with one of the stenographers involved in the case, staring at her openly during the trial, and making disturbing comments to her about her appearance. It was only part of a litany of other misconduct accusations surrounding the trial that ended up getting Martinez fired, despite his success in putting Arias away.

Not all cases put court reporters on the spot like that, though, and most court reporters in Arizona enjoy the variety and responsibility that comes with the job. And, with average pay rate of $29.88 per hour, court reporters here make comfortably above the $24.49 state average. With the right certifications and experience, it can be significantly more.

Follow these steps to become certified as a court reporter in Arizona:

Complete a Program in Court Reporting
Pass Proficiency Exams Available through One of the National Certifying Bodies
Pass the Arizona Certification Examination
Apply for Certification in Arizona
Get to Work as a Court Reporter in Arizona
Maintain your Certification in Arizona

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Program in Court Reporting

Becoming a court reporter in Arizona involves completing an exam-based vetting process through the state’s Court Reporter Standard Certification Program. The program is all about verifying you have the skills, familiarity with the judicial process, and ethical grounding it takes for the job. But before the verification process can begin, you have to take it upon yourself to get the education and training you need. As a profession that’s primarily about typing skills using specialized equipment, as well as knowledge of courtroom procedure, the whole process starts with a formal court reporter training program to get you ready for the state certification exam.

Training takes place through associate’s degree programs offered at community colleges, or specialized court reporter trade schools that offer certificate and diploma programs in less time than it takes to earn a degree.

Featured Program

International Realtime Court Reporting Institute offers self-paced online programs at all levels, from basic and retraining courses in speech-to-text technology to advanced CAT system training in Eclipse Vox. Get started today.

 


 

Step 2. Pass Proficiency Exams Available through One of the National Certifying Bodies

Upon the successful completion of a court reporter program, your next step is to demonstrate your proficiency through a skills exam.

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) is an organization that you’re likely to hear a lot about as you get ready for a career in the field. They are the industry-leading national certifier of court reporters, offering credentials that are recognized almost everywhere in the country. In fact, about half of all states simply defer to NCRA certification as either the sole requirement for being certified at the state-level, or at least as a basis for state certification. NCRA isn’t the only national certification agency in the field, but they are the most widely recognized.

The Arizona Code of Judicial Administration rules on certification and licensing for court reporters states that either the NCRA’s RPR (Registered Professional Reporter) or the National Verbatim Reporters Association’s (NVRA) CVR (Certified Verbatim Reporter) designation are acceptable paths to qualifying for state-level certification. You can also qualify on the basis of your training program alone without actually being nationally certified through one of these organizations, though you would still need to pass proficiency exams administered through either NCRA or NVRA or an equivalent before you can go on to take the state exam covering the Arizona statutes relating to court reporters. This makes national certification a natural path to take when preparing to become certified in Arizona.

The NCRA’s RPR skills test is now delivered exclusively online. You can only register and pay for the exam during open registration times, which are also available on the website. After completing the skills test, you must complete the NCRA written knowledge test, which consists of 120 questions and is proctored through Pearson Vue testing locations in Scottsdale, Show Low, Mesa, and Queen Creek.

Arizona also accepts the NVRA’s Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) written knowledge test and skills exam, both of which follow a very similar format to that of the NCRA exams.

 


 

Step 3.  Pass the Arizona Certification Examination

Upon showing proof of passing either the RPR or the CVR examination, you must then successfully complete the Arizona Written Examination.

To apply to take the written examination, you must complete the application and mail it, along with the application fee of $50, to:

Arizona Supreme Court
Certification and Licensing Division
1501 West Washington, Suite 104
Phoenix, AZ 85007-3231

On the day of the exam, you must bring two photo IDs with you. The address of the test location is:

Arizona State Courts Building
1501 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007

 


 

Step 4. Apply for Certification

Upon successfully completing the Arizona written examination, you must apply for certification by completing the Certified Reporter Initial Standard Certification Application form and including the following documents:

  • 2”x2” color photograph
  • Photocopies of all diplomas/degrees/certificates/licenses
  • Verification of RPR/CVR
  • A complete set of fingerprints on an FBI fingerprint card (along with a $22 FBI processing fee)
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • $450 application fee

Mail the application and documents to:

Arizona Supreme Court
Certification and Licensing Division
1501 West Washington Street, Suite 104
Phoenix, AZ 85007-3231

 


 

Step 5. Get to Work as a Court Reporter in Arizona

Once you pass the Arizona written examination and achieve certification in Arizona, you may seek employment in the Arizona’s court system:

There is also a wealth of opportunities available in many of Arizona’s larger court reporting agencies, such as:

 


 

Step 6. Maintain your Certification in Arizona

Court reporter certifications are renewed every two years. To renew your certification, you must complete a renewal application, pay the renewal application fee of $400, and show proof of at least 10 hours of continuing education.

Assuming you attained national certification (either the RPR through NCRA or the CVR through NVRA), you will also need to meet the continuing education requirements of your certifying agency.


 

Arizona Court Reporting Salary

A court reporter starting out in Arizona today is looking at a bright future with many employment opportunities in the coming years. According to the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, the field is due to expand by nearly 7 percent by 2026 statewide.

Not only will the jobs be there for you, but so will the salaries. The average court reporter in Arizona in 2020 could expect to make $62,160 per year, or $29.88 per hour. With the right kind of certification, experience, and expertise, those at the high end could make more than $78,000, or $37.66 per hour.

As with most states, the biggest and best paying opportunities tend to exist in the major urban areas. The Phoenix metro area handily beats those statewide pay rates, with reporters anywhere in the Valley making considerably more whether employed by the court system or working on a freelance basis.

Annual Salaries For Court Reporters in Major Arizona Metropolitan Areas

Phoenix (including the Mesa and Scottsdale areas)

  • Median – $66,080
  • More experienced – $74,470
  • Certified and experienced – $79,720

Hourly Wages For Court Reporters in Major Arizona Metropolitan Areas

Phoenix (including the Mesa and Scottsdale areas)

  • Median – $31.77
  • More experienced – $35.80
  • Certified and experienced – $38.33

 

*Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which court reporters work. BLS salary data represents state and MSA (metropolitan statistical area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.

2019 job growth projections from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity are aggregated through the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource, Projections Central. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

All salary and employment data accessed June 2020.

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