If you want to learn how to become a court reporter by meeting licensing requirements in Arkansas, you must complete a number of steps:
|Complete a Certificate or Degree Program in Court Reporting|
|Pass the Arkansas Certification Examination|
|Get to Work as a Court Reporter in Arkansas|
|Pursue Professional Certification/Membership in Arkansas|
|Maintain Your Certification in Arkansas|
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, court reporters in Arkansas earned starting salaries that ranged between $39,990 and $47,310, as of May 2012.
The Arkansas Board of Certified Court Reporter Examiners certifies court reporters in Arkansas. Only those who attain certification can hold the title of Arkansas Supreme Court-Certified Court Reporter, and are permitted to practice in the State of Arkansas.
Step 1. Complete a Certificate or Degree Program in Court Reporting
Although it is not a requirement to do so for certification in Arkansas, you may seek a court reporter degree or certificate program that has been approved by the Council on Approved Student Education (CASE), which is part of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). Only those schools that have been approved are considered NCRA Certified.
Explore Other Education Options Related to Criminal Justice and Legal Studies
Here you’ll find schools that offer certificate and degree programs well suited to a career in legal assisting, law office management and the paralegal profession.
Step 2. Pass the Arkansas Certification Examination
Upon completion of a program in court reporting, you may apply to take the Arkansas Certification Examination, which includes both a written and skills test:
The written test assesses individuals in:
- General knowledge
- Rules governing preparation of transcripts
You must score at least 75 percent to pass the written portion of the test.
The skills test requires individuals to successfully complete the following:
- 5 minutes of one-voice dictation at 180 wpm
- 5 minutes of one-voice dictation of jury charge at 200 wpm
- 5 minutes of two-voice dictation of Q&A at 225 wpm
You must achieve at least 95 percent accuracy to pass the skills portion of the test. If you fail one of the sections, you may retake the failed section of the exam. However, if you fail either portion twice, you will be required to retake the entire examination again, regardless if you have already passed one of the sections.
To apply to take the certification examination and receive the designation of certified court reporter in Arkansas, you must complete the Certification Examination application, pay the $75 application fee (made payable to: Les Steen, Supreme Court Clerk), and complete the Criminal Background Check form, which is required for all applicants. The form, which is attached to the examination application, must be completed and sent with the test application, along with $25 for the background check (made payable to: Les Steen, Supreme Court Clerk).
The completed application, criminal background check form, and related fees must be mailed to:
Leslie Steen, Supreme Court Clerk
ATTN: Renee Herndon
625 Marshall Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
You may prepare to take the examination by reading the CCR Exam Instructions.
Step 3. Get to Work as a Court Reporter in Arkansas
Employment opportunities may be found through Arkansas’ Judiciary:
Or through the private sector in one of the state’s many large court reporting agencies:
Step 4. Pursue Professional Certification/Membership in Arkansas
Many court reporters choose to become members and achieve professional certification through the National Association of Certified Court Reporters or membership through the Arkansas Court Reporters Association.
The Arkansas Court Reporters Association is an excellent resource for employment and networking opportunities.
Step 5. Maintain Your Certification in Arizona
All court report certifications must be renewed on an annual basis on January 1, and the cost of renewal is $50.
The reporting period for continuing education credits is every 3 years on January 1, at which time certification holders must show the completion of at least 30 continuing education credits. Any credits over the required 30 may be carried over into the next reporting period.
You can view a list of acceptable continuing education activities here.
Arkansas Court Reporting Salary
The field of court reporting is projected to increase substantially according to DiscoverArkansas. They predict a 32.32% increase in the number of court reporter jobs from 2008 to 2018. Sixty percent of these jobs are predicted to be new ones with the remainder coming from the replacement of people who are expected to leave the workforce.
The average salary of the 170 court reporters in Arkansas in 2012 was $44,290 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Professionals in the top tenth percent of their field earned $61,350 that year. Court reporter wages in the Little Rock area were about the same as for the state as a whole. The average salary was $45,670 while those in the top tenth percent made $60,160 a year.
The state of Arkansas uses court reporters for each judicial circuit. For instance, the 11th West Judicial Circuit covers Jefferson and Lincoln Counties. In 2013, a court reporter working in Pine Bluff for the state earned from $35,554 to $65,221 a year, depending on experience and length of employment. Such professionals are generally required to have the skills of a stenographer in addition to being able to operate computer systems.
Most of the major cities in Arkansas have private firms that hire court reporters. Some of these firms are listed below:
- Alexander Realtime Reporting
- Arkansas Realtime Reporting
- Bushman Court Reporting
- Dees Court Reporting
- Donald Court Reporting
- Fayetteville Court Reporters
- Flynn Legal Services
- Professional Reporters
- Todd Olivas & Associates
Detailed information on the annual and hourly salary projectiles of court reporters in certain regions of Arkansas is available from the BLS and is shown below: