In an era of 4K video capability and crystal clear audio recorders riding around in everyone’s pocket, court reporting can sometimes seem like a throwback to an earlier time. But court reporters know that the selectivity and sensitivity of the human ear is important for creating the definitive record of important courtroom interactions.
But as one Shawnee County reporter found in 2016, technology can come back to bite court reporters in unexpected ways. Social media is as pervasive in society today as smartphones, and sometimes it gets users into hot water… even people working in the judicial system.
The reporter had worked a first-degree murder case in 2012, and during the appeals process, was drawn into an argument on Facebook about the trial and sentencing. In the course of the argument, she made a number of comments that crossed the bounds of professional ethics, calling into question her impartiality in the matter and opening up the defendant’s chances of appeal.
Fortunately, the reporter is likely to receive only a reprimand, but it points to the need for court reporters to undergo extensive training on the ethical and legal requirements of the job, and just as importantly, to reorient their online lives to fit their chosen profession… it’s also a reminder that it might be wise to just steer away from Facebook all together.
Kansas requires all court reporters to become certified through an intensive process to ensure they have the right expertise and qualifications for the job. The job requires holding the Certified Court Reporter (CCR) designation granted through the Kansas Supreme Court after earning a recommendation from the State Board of Examiners of Court Reporters (SBECR), the agency responsible for approving CCR applicants who have successfully completed these steps:
|Get the Training You Need to Pass the CCR Exam Through the Kansas State Board of Examiners of Court Reporters|
|Pass the CCR Examination and Become Certified|
|Begin Working as a Court Reporter in Kansas|
Step 1. Get the Training You Need to Pass the CCR Exam Through the Kansas State Board of Examiners of Court Reporters
There are four ways you can qualify to take the CCR (Certified Court Reporter) Examination administered through the State Board of Examiners of Court Reporters so as to gain final approval from the Supreme Court of the State of Kansas:
- Graduate from a court reporting course in a state-accredited school and demonstrate your ability to type at least 225 words per minute
- Hold the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification through the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) (If receiving voicewriter certification, the Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) designation through the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) is accepted)
- Have two years of professional experience working as a court reporter
- Already be certified as a court reporter in another state or territory of the United States
There are a number of Kansas-based court reporting schools, as well as additional online schools and other training opportunities at campus locations throughout the region.
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Step 2. Pass the CCR Examination and Become Certified
The CCR Examination is administered by the Kansas State Board of Examiners of Court Reporters (SBECR) and is divided into a knowledge portion and a skills portion. You can check the Judicial Branch’s website for future examination dates.
You must get at least 70 percent on the written knowledge portion of the exam, and the skills portion will be dictated in five-minute segments, requiring you to demonstrate minimum typing speeds for each with a minimum accuracy rate of 95 percent:
- 180 words per minute two-voice medical testimony
- 200 words per minute one-voice solid matter
- 225 words per minute two-voice ordinary testimony
After you have passed the CCR Examination you will need to complete a final procedures examination on your own, which will be mailed to you. To prepare yourself for the procedures test and written portion of the CCR Examination you can familiarize yourself with the state Handbook for Official Court Reporters.
A complete application packet to take the CCR Examination will include:
- Completed application
- $125 filing fee
- Three Certificates of Character
- Evidence of training, certification, or education
Once you have passed the CCR Examination and the final procedures test you will have met all the license requirements in Kansas and be eligible for recommendation by the SBECR to the Supreme Court for certification.
Step 3. Begin Working as a Court Reporter in Kansas
As you begin searching for court reporter jobs in Kansas you may find it beneficial to join the Kansas Court Reporters Association (KCRA). A Regular Membership costs $100 and dues are collected once a year.
As part of the KCRA you will be privy to information regarding:
- Statewide employment opportunities
- Changes to the laws governing CCRs
- Networking opportunities with your colleagues
- Conferences, presentations, and workshops pertinent to court reporters
As you begin working, do not forget that you will need to renew your CCR Certification each year. To do this simply return the renewal form, which will be mailed to you by May 1st, making sure to enclose the designated renewal fee. Remember that you must keep the Clerk of the Appellate Courts informed of your current address. CCR Certifications expire on July 1st each year.
Just some of the firms that contract court reporting services and employ CCRs in Kansas include:
- Emerald Court Reporting in Leawood
- Court Reporting Services, Inc in Wichita
- AAA Court Reporting Company serving the Kansas City area including Olathe
- Kelley Reporting Associates, LTD in Wichita
- Harrison Elliott Reporting in Wichita
- Ireland Court Reporting in Wichita
- Pro-Depo Court Reporting, Inc in Wichita
- Appino & Biggs in Topeka
Kansas Court Reporting Salary
With approximately 230 court reporters working here in 2019 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kansas ranks third in the nation for the highest concentration of jobs in the field. Wichita has one of the highest concentrations of court reporter employment in the country, as well, coming in ninth among all cities coast to coast.
The Wichita area is where the best pay rates in the state can be found, with a median of $58,260 per year, or $28.01 per hour, compared to the state average of $53,270, or $25.61 per hour.
Topeka is actually lower, on average, but it’s the place you want to look for a job if you are confident in your skills and experience—at the top end there, reporters make $64,240 annually, or more than $30 per hour, far and away the best in the state. And the rural areas of the state do well on the national level, ranking fourth overall for nonmetropolitan pay levels for court reporters.
Annual Salaries For Court Reporters in Major Kansas Metropolitan Areas Including Wichita and Topeka
- Median – $48,520
- More experienced – $54,130
- Certified and experienced – $64,240
- Median – $58,260
- More experienced – $58,280
- Certified and experienced – $60,710
Hourly Wages For Court Reporters in Major Kansas Metropolitan Areas Including Wichita and Topeka
- Median – $23.33
- More experienced – $26.02
- Certified and experienced – $30.88
- Median – $28.01
- More experienced – $28.02
- Certified and experienced – $29.19
*Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s 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.
All salary and employment data accessed June 2020.