Court reporters in Nevada must be licensed and certified. The State Board of Certified Court Reporters is the governing agency for certification and licensing in Nevada. Education is the primary consideration. Court reporters must have an associate’s degree or certificate in court reporting from a community college or vocational school before beginning the licensing process.
You need to take the following steps in order to become a court reporter in Nevada:
Step 1. Attend a Court Reporter School or Program
There is one on-campus school in Nevada with an accredited court reporter program as well as several accredited online schools. All programs take at least two years to complete and include such courses as:
- Computerized Machine Shorthand Theory – Focuses on hearing speech as sounds that are transmitted through the fingers to the keyboard and practicing speed building techniques as applied to literary material, jury charges, question and answer testimony and legal opinions. Emphasis is also placed on listening and concentration skills, grammar, spelling and punctuation.
- Medical and Legal Terminology – Includes learning to use medical and legal reference materials.
- Court Reporting Procedures – Focuses on the court reporter’s role in the judicial process; differences between trials, depositions, statements and hearings; transcript preparation; and the NCRA’s code of ethics.
- Computer Technology – Emphasizes the use of macros, keyboard maps, indexing and speaker identification options.
Online schools have up-to-date technologies that give students access to hundreds of hours of dictation materials at different speeds as well as ways to evaluate at-home practice sessions. There is active interaction with faculty as well as student chat rooms. Both on-site and online schools include on-the-job internships under the guidance of experienced court reporters.
Step 2. Apply for the Nevada Court Reporter Certification Exam
All applicants for a court reporter license must first successfully pass a certification examination administered by the Nevada State Board of Certified Court Reporters, which is responsible for guaranteeing a standard of excellence in the court reporting profession.
Applications and the $150 testing fee must be submitted to the Board at least 30 days before the examination date.
Examination dates and application forms are available online.
Step 3. Take and Pass the Nevada Court Reporter Certification Exam
The two-part examination consists of both a written and a skills test. You are given one hour and 45 minutes to complete the written test of between 150 and 200 questions which cover the following topic areas:
- Vocabulary, grammar, spelling, punctuation
- Medical and legal terminolo9gy
- Duties of a court reporter
- Nevada rules of civil procedure pertaining to court reporting
- Supreme Court rules pertaining to court reporting
The skills test consists of a 10-minute four-voice video of question and answer dictation. You are allowed three hours to complete and transcribe the dictation. Passing requires a speed of 200 to 225 words per minute and 97.5 percent accuracy. Written notices of the results are mailed to all candidates. Individuals who fail are eligible to retake the examination at a later date.
Step 4. Meet Nevada Requirements and Apply for Court Reporter License
Persons who pass the certification examination are eligible for a court reporter license as long as they meet the following requirements:
- At least 18 years of age
- Citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
- Good moral character
- No unpaid child support
- Pay required fees
Licenses expire and must be renewed on June 30 of each year. The Board of Certified Court Reporters has the sole authority in Nevada to grant deny, suspend or revoke all court reporter licenses.
Step 5. Find a Job in Nevada as Either an Official or a Freelance Reporter
Official court reporters are employed by the courts and usually work for a particular judge. The Nevada judiciary system consists of:
- Supreme Court
- District Courts – Nevada’s nine judicial districts each have a district court which handles criminal, civil (over $10,000), family and juvenile cases. There are 82 district court judges.
- Justice Courts – The 43 county courts handle misdemeanor, traffic and civil (under $10,000) cases.
- Municipal Courts – Nevada has 18 municipal courts that deal with misdemeanor and traffic cases in incorporated communities.
Contact the specific district, justice or municipal court(s) for open positions and application information.
Freelance court reporters can either work for a court reporting agency or on their own. Dictation jobs are available for such functions as:
- Board Meetings
- TV Captions for the deaf or hearing impaired
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $45,740 is the annual mean wage for court reporters in Nevada. An online salary research firm lists the annual median wage for court reporters in specific Las Vegas cities as follows:
- Carson City, Reno, Sparks, Sun Valley – $52,639
- Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson – $51,220
Step 6. Participate in Continuing Education in Nevada
Certified court reporters in Nevada are required by law to attend 15 hours of continuing education every two years. Education must pertain to the practice of court reporting and include at least two hours reviewing Nevada statutes, regulations and rules. Continuing education hours must be reported to the Nevada State Board of Certified Court Reporters. The current reporting period is July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015.
The Nevada Court Reporters Association (NVCRA) is an excellent source of continuing education, information about job opportunities and networking. Continuing education credits are given for attendance at the NVCRA’s annual convention as well as their regularly scheduled seminars on topics like “Nevada Statutes and Ethics.” Memberships are open to all Nevada Court Reporters, associates and students.
Other sources of continuing education include attendance at meetings of the Nevada State Board of Certified Court Reporters and Court Reporter Home Study programs.
Nevada Court Reporting Salary
According to Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, the field of legal support workers is expected to increase 9.8% in the ten years leading up to 2020. This category includes court reporters and stenographers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides salary information on court reporters throughout the state of Nevada and in the Las Vegas area. Their 2012 salaries are shown below:
One employer for court reporters in Nevada is the state’s court system. These professionals must be certified to work for the Nevada Judiciary. The certification process is administered by the Nevada State Board of Certified Court Reporters and involves taking both a written section and a test of their ability to transcribe.
In 2012, twenty one court reporters worked for the state of Nevada. The highest and lowest salaries of these professionals are presented below:
Another source of employment for court reporters is in the business and support services industry. A number of companies retain court reporters and stenographers, so they can contract out their services as needed. Clients run the gamut of the following:
- Legal professionals
- Businesses that need meetings recorded
- Video companies that need closed captioning of dialog
- Nevada State agencies
- Court System
- Higher education
- Legislative Counsel Bureau
Some of the court reporting firms in Nevada include the following:
- All-American Court Reporters
- Bonanza Reporting
- Todd Olivas & Associates
The BLS has a highly detailed analysis of the 2012 salaries of all types of court reporters in Las Vegas-Paradise that is shown below: