On January 31, 2002, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled, through Administrative Directive No. 132, that all court reporters in the state must be certified by the Board of Certified Court Reporters. Certification included achieving and maintaining a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification through the National Court Reporters Association.
This order was disputed by Esquire Deposition Services and was rescinded on May 12, 2009 by the Delaware Supreme Court. To date, there is presently no certification or licensing requirement for court reporters practicing in Delaware.
It is important to note that this directive may eventually be reinstated, thereby requiring court reporters to meet a specific set of requirements to practice in Delaware. As such, it may be in your best interest to continue to complete the requirements of the original Administrative Directive No. 132.
A reinstatement of administrative Directive No. 132 would require would-be court reporters in Delaware to follow these steps:
|Complete a Degree or Certificate Program in Court Reporting|
|Attain Certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR)|
|Get to Work in Delaware and Stay Informed|
Step 1. Complete a Degree or Certificate Program in Court Reporting
Court reporter programs in the form of associate degrees or professional diplomas or certificates are plentiful throughout the United States, as well as Delaware. There are also a number of online programs in court reporting. Although the type of program, the degree or certificate acquired depends on the school or college in which the program is located, all programs are designed to educate and train individuals on how to become a court reporter, which includes transcribing verbal speech into written text for judicial processes.
You may seek a court reporter program that has been accredited by The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), through the Council on Approved Student Education (CASE). Only those programs that have met the General Requirements and Minimum Standards (GRMS) are allowed to call themselves NCRA-accredited.
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. Attain Certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR)
Although attaining RPR certification through the NCRA is no longer a requirement for practicing court reporting in Delaware, many employers still seek individuals who possess this credential. Therefore, many of Delaware’s court reporters still pursue an RPR certification as to increase their chances of success in the Delaware workforce.
The RPR certification includes two separate tests: a written knowledge test and a skills test, both of which must be passed to achieve certification.
The NCRA written knowledge test, which consists of a 115-question, multiple-choice exam, includes assessment in the following areas: professional practices: 16 percent; reporting practices: 62 percent; and technology: 22 percent.
Pearson VUE is the test provider for the written knowledge test, so you can learn more about upcoming testing dates through the Pearson VUE website. Pearson VUE test sites are located in Dover and Newark (Wilmington), Delaware, and in nearby Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Salisbury, Maryland.
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.
The skills exam includes the following components:
- Literary at 180 wpm
- Jury charge at 200 wpm
- Testimony/Q&A at 225 wpm
You will have 75 minutes following each leg of the skills exam to transcribe your notes. You must achieve a 95 percent accuracy to pass this portion of the RPR certification exam. However, you are permitted to retest any leg of the skills exam you are not able to pass.
You may register for the skills exam online through the NCRA during open registration times, which are also posted on the NCRA website. Although there are not testing sites for the RPR skills test in Delaware, there are sites located in:
- Baltimore, MD
- Marlton, NJ
- Piscataway, NJ
Step 3. Get to Work in Delaware and Stay Informed
Because the Administrative Directive No. 132 may be reinstated, it is best to stay informed and stay connected with the Delaware court reporting community through the Delaware Court Reporters Association.
Within Delaware there are a multitude of professional opportunities for court reporters, whether in the judicial system or in the private sector.
Delaware court systems:
Stenography firms in Deleware:
Delaware Court Reporting Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that fifty court reporters were employed in Delaware in 2012. Salary information for 2012 for he state as a whole and for the Wilmington metropolitan division is provided below:
Court reporters are also known as stenographers and work throughout the state of Delaware. Each of the state’s three counties has a Superior Court that employs court reporters. The Superior Courts are located in the following cities:
- New Castle County – Wilmington
- Kent County – Dover
- Sussex County – Georgetown
In 2001, the Supreme Court of Delaware provided official definitions of court reporters in the state. One of the main purposes of this was to establish certification procedures for “official court reporters” who work full-time for the state and “freelance court reporters” who do not.
2013 salary ranges for the state distinguish between several levels of electronic court recorders. They are provided below:
- Electronic court reporter I: $25,663 – $38,495
- Electronic court reporter II: $27,458 – $41,188
- Chief electronic court reporter: $31,440 – $47,160
In addition to working for judicial agencies, many court reporters work for private firms that provide court reporting services to attorneys and businesses. Some of the major court reporter firms in Delaware include the following:
- Kaplan, Leaman & Wolfe Court Reporters
- Todd Olivas & Associates
- Wilcox & Fetzer Ltd.
The BLS has a detailed breakdown of court reporter salary information for the Wilmington metropolitan division that is shown below: