You must be licensed as a Certified Court Reporter (CCR) if you want to work as a court reporter in New Mexico. Licenses are issued either by the New Mexico Supreme Court or the state Board Governing the Recording of Judicial Proceedings (Board). The Board also establishes a code of professional conduct and posts court reporting job openings. Getting the proper education and training is the key to a successful career.
Take the following steps to become a court reporter in New Mexico:
|Earn a Degree in Court Reporting
|Pass the Certification Exam
|Apply for a Certified Court Reporter License
|Go to Work as an Official or Freelance Court Reporter in New Mexico
|Take Part in Continuing Education
Step 1. Earn an Associate’s Degree or Certificate in Court Reporting
There is one accredited on-campus court reporting school in New Mexico. Located in Albuquerque, it offers two court reporter certificates. If commuting to Albuquerque is not viable, there are at least two online schools with accredited court reporting programs. In either case, expect to spend roughly two years completing your studies. You will graduate with knowledge and skills, including:
- Machine shorthand speeds of 225 wpm
- Transcript preparation using advanced technology
- Excellent English grammar, spelling, punctuation
- Legal principles/medical terminology
- Legal and business ethics
Requirements for a certified court reporter license in New Mexico are:
- Pass certification examination
- Be of good moral character
- Have a high school diploma or its equivalent
- Be in compliance with NM Supreme Court rules governing the recording of judicial proceedings
- Be in compliance with child support laws (if applicable)
Step 2. Pass the Certification Examination
The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) examination for Registered Professional Reporter or its equivalent is the standard for fulfilling the New Mexico examination requirement.
The two-part process consists of a written examination of your knowledge of technology (22%), reporting practices (62%) and professional practices (16%) and a skills test. The latter involves dictations of literary material, jury charges, and Q&A testimony with required speeds of 180, 120 and 225 wpm respectively.
Step 3. Apply for a Certified Court Reporter License
Complete a New Mexico Judicial Branch Employment Application form available from the state Human Resources department and return along with the indicated fee. Licenses are good for one year and must be renewed annually. Recent graduates who are not ready to take the certification examination can request a Provisional License which allows working under the direct mentorship of an experience CCR who is required to submit a training plan to the Board. Provisional licenses allow you to gain valuable experience and improve speed.
Step 4. Go to Work as an Official or Freelance Reporter in New Mexico
Official court reporters work directly for the courts while freelance court reporters are either employed by a court reporting agency or work on their own. Employers of freelance court reporters include but are not limited to law firms, hospitals/medical facilities, trade unions, corporations, non-governmental agencies, municipalities and TV stations. Activities transcribed include such things as depositions, formal statements, arbitrations, board meetings, TV programs (captioning for the hearing impaired), speeches, town hall meetings, etc.
Official court reporters in New Mexico work in district, magistrate, municipal or probate courts. There are 13 district courts with 89 judges who preside over general jurisdictional criminal and civil jury trials while the 66 judges in the 54 magistrate courts preside over limited jurisdiction jury cases involving first-appearance felonies, torts, landlord-tenant disputes, misdemeanors, DUIs and traffic violations. The 82 judges in New Mexico’s 80 municipal courts handle non-jury petty misdemeanor, DUI and traffic violation cases. In addition, there are 33 judges in 33 non-jury probate courts.
The qualifications for official court reporter in New Mexico are:
- Associate degree in court reporting or completion of an accredited court reporter program
- One year reporting experience in a legal setting
- New Mexico certified court reporter license
- Successful completion of a thorough background check
- Knowledge of machine shorthand/state-of-the-art stenographic hardware and software
- Knowledge of courtroom procedures, rules governing court reporting in New Mexico and legal research methods
- Ability to concentrate fully, pay attention to details, remain neutral, maintain confidentiality and communicate effectively and professionally
- Willing to work overtime and be exposed to outdoor weather, hostile or violent situations, upsetting exhibits and contagious health situations
A list of open official certified court reporter positions and application instructions are available from the judicial system branch of the NM Human Resources Department.
Step 5. Take Part in Continuing Education
New Mexico law requires certified court reporters to take five hours (10 credits) of continuing education every year to be submitted with each license renewal application. In addition to networking opportunities and job placement assistance, the New Mexico Court Reporters Association provides many educational classes, seminars and meetings applicable toward continuing education credits. The membership fee is $100 for CCRs and $25 for students.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean court reporter salary in New Mexico as $41,690. Other listings for median annual salaries in specific cities are:
- Albuquerque and Rio Rancho – $48,356
- Santa Fee – $45,745
- Las Cruces – $$40,596
- Clovis – $37,390
- Farmington – $35,301
- Roswell – $30,079
New Mexico Court Reporting Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides salary information for court reporters throughout most of the U.S. In New Mexico, the median annual salary of a court reporter in 2012 was $41,170. Experienced professionals in the top ten percent of their wage bracket made $58,530 that year.
According to New Mexico’s Workforce Connection, the estimated 2012 median annual wage for court reporters was $41,732 in the following areas of New Mexico:
- Central New Mexico
- Southwestern New Mexico
The state’s transparency website provides the salaries of the following types of positions in the New Mexico State Judiciary for fiscal year 2014:
- Certified court reporter: $49,722
- Certified real time court reporter: $56,607
Over thirty people worked as certified court reporters for this agency in 2013. These professionals must be able to type 225 words a minute to obtain this certification.
The largest categories of employers for court reporters in New Mexico in 2013 were provided by the state’s Workforce Connection are listed alphabetically:
- Administrative and support services
- Federal government
- Local government
- State government
Court reporting firms are a common source of employment for court reporters and stenographers. Some of these types of firms that operate in New Mexico are listed below:
- Albuquerque Deposition and Court Reporters
- Animas Reporting Service
- Bean & Associates
- CCI Court Reporting
- Kaplan Leaman & Wolfe
- New Mexico Deposition and Court Reporters
- Paul Baca Professional Court Reporters
- Trattel Court Reporting & Videography
- Williams & Associates Court Reporting