Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for its pay of court reporters, with an average salary of $70,130 as of May 2012. Further, the BLS reported that Denver-Aurora-Broomfield ranked among the nation’s top-paying metropolitan areas for court reporters, with a mean, annual salary of $76,000 during the same period.
Although court reporters are no longer certified to practice in Colorado, many employers in this state, including Colorado’s court system, requires court reporters to possess a distinct set of qualifications. Therefore, if you want to learn how to become a court reporter in Colorado, you must complete a number of steps:
|Complete a Course of Study for Court Reporters|
|Achieve Certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR)|
|Get to Work and Maintain your RPR Certification|
Step 1. Complete a Course of Study for Court Reporters
Court reporter programs come in many shapes and sizes, with programs occurring in everything from dedicated court reporter schools to technical schools and community colleges. Comprehensive court reporter programs provide education and training in the areas of:
- Communication and English grammar
- Realtime writing
- Legal principles and medical terminology
- Legal and business ethics
- Machine shorthand speed
- Transcript preparation through CAT software
Although not required, many individuals seeking court reporter education may look to schools certified through the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).
NCRA-certified schools must adhere to the General Requirements and Minimum Standards that were established by the Council on Approved Student Education, which is through the National Court Reporters Association.
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. Achieve Certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR)
Although court reporters in Colorado are not licensed or certified, many employers, including the Colorado court system, require court reporters to be certified as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) through the National Court Reporters Association.
The RPR consists of two, separate exams: a written exam and a skills exam.
The NCRA written knowledge test is a 115-question exam that includes the following components:
- Professional practices: 16 percent
- Reporting practices: 62 percent
- Technology: 22 percent
You must register with NCRA and submit the exam fee ($185 if you are a NCRA member and $210 if you are not) to take the written exam, which is provided by Pearson VUE. You can find more about upcoming NCRA testing dates for the written exam through the Pearson VUE website.
Pearson VUE testing centers are located in:
- Greenwood Village
You may register and learn more about upcoming dates for the NCRA skills test online.
The skills exam portion of the certification process includes the following components:
- Literary at 180 wpm
- Jury charge at 200 wpm
- Testimony/Q&A at 225 wpm
After the completion of each component, you will be given 75 minutes to transcribe your notes, and you must achieve an accuracy of at least 95 percent to pass this portion of the certification exam. If you are unable to pass one or more legs of the exam, you can retake it. There is no time limit for passing all components of the skills exam.
The skills exam is taken at the Prince Institute in Westminster, Colorado.
Step 3. Get to Work and Maintain your RPR Certification
Maintaining your RPR certification requires the completion of at least 3 continuing education credits every 3 years. You can find a wealth of continuing education opportunities through the NCRA.
Work in Colorado as a court reporter may be achieved through the Colorado court system, which includes:
You may also seek employment through one of the many private court reporting agencies throughout Colorado, including:
- Fort Collins Reporting, Fort Collins
- Denver Professional Court Reporting and Video
- Agren Blando Court Reporting and Video, Denver
- Resling Reporting Services, Colorado Springs
Colorado Court Reporting Salary
The field of court reporting is lucrative in Colorado. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state had the fourth highest paying average salary for court reporters in the country in 2012.
The average annual wage for the 210 court reporters employed in Colorado in 2012 was $70,130. Experienced professionals earned even more with those in the 90th percentile earning $93,640 that year.
In particular, the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield area had the eighth highest average wage of any metropolitan area in the county in 2012. The average wage of a court reporter or stenographer in this area was $76,000 while experienced professionals averaged $101,270 a year.
According to Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment, the growth of jobs in this field is expected to grow substantially in the period from 2012 to 2022 in the following metropolitan statistical areas:
- Colorado Springs – 24.1%
- Denver-Aurora – 31.4%
This department reported that in 2013, the industries the employed the largest number of court reporters in Colorado were the following:
- Administrative and support services
- Motion picture and sound recording industry
In addition to having job opportunities with local agencies such as courts, a number of private companies employ court reporters in Colorado. Some of these potential employers include the following:
- Agren Blando Court Reporting
- Attorneys Service Center, Inc.
- Calderwood-Mackelprang, Inc.
- Kirkpatrick & Associates, Inc.
- VSM Reporting, LLC
A detailed breakdown of 2012 court reporter salaries in the Denver area is available from the BLS. Annual and hourly wage percentiles are shown below: