In order to become a court reporter in Rhode Island you must make sure you are properly prepared for this demanding profession. There is no licensing requirement in the state of Rhode Island to become a court reporter, but there is much you can do in order to ensure that you are ready for the demands of the career.
The steps to becoming an effective court reporter in Rhode Island include
|Choose Your Focus|
|Complete a Court Reporter Degree or Diploma Program|
|Get Certified by Either the NCRA or NVRA|
|Find Employment as a Court Reporter in Rhode Island|
|Maintain Licensure in Rhode Island|
Being a court reporter can be a very exciting and rewarding career. Court reporters are vital to the nation’s court system due to their highly specialized skill set. In fact, in some jurisdictions in the country court proceedings have actually been cancelled as a result of a shortage of court reporters. In Rhode Island, court reporters play a vital role recording legal proceedings both in and out of the courtroom while using both stenography equipment and electronic recording devices.
Step 1. Choose a Your Focus
There are several kinds of court reporters in Rhode Island, all of which have a separate focus. For example:
- An electronic court reporter must have an intimate knowledge of electronic recording equipment and be extremely organized. They must be prepared to produce a verbatim transcript of court proceedings which they have recorded.
- A stenographer uses a typewriter like machine to type everything that is said or can be heard during the legal proceeding.
You will want to decide which focus best fits your personality and career desires. However, it should be remembered that it is best to have a resume with many different disciplines in order to increase your employment chances.
Step 2. Complete a Degree Program
One of the best ways to prepare for a career in court reporting in Rhode Island is to take an intensive training and instructional course. Perhaps the best way to do this is to pursue a degree in a court reporting related major at any of Rhode Island’s colleges, universities, or technical institutes.
Some titles of relevant degree and diploma programs include:
- Court Reporter Associate Degree
- Associates of Science in Stenography
- Associates of Electronic Court Reporting
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 3. Consider Getting Certified by the NCRA or NVRA Certified Reporter Company
An alternative, or supplement, to getting a degree in court reporting is to become certified. The National Court Reporters Association and the National Verbatim Recorders Accusation are the nation’s premiere court reporters’ industry groups. Each company offers various kinds of certifications.
The NCRA’s standard certification is called the Registered Professional Reporter certification. You will need to know technology, reporting practices, and professional practices, and score at least a 70% in order to pass the exam to become certified.
The NVRA’s certification is called the Certified Verbatim Reporter certification. This test includes three 5-minute sections which focus on literary, jury charge, and two-voice question and answer sections. A 95% is needed to pass this test and get certified.
Step 4. Find Employment as a Court Reporter in Rhode Island
Once you have obtained the relevant degree or certificate, the next step is to look for employment. It should be noted that court reporters employed by the state of Rhode Island might fall under a union agreement that determines pay, raises, and other matters. A copy of the previous agreement can be found here.
There are other employment opportunities in Rhode Island that should be explored. This can be achieved by using a variety of resources, such as those listed below:
Courts in Rhode Island hire court reporters and include:
- Rhode Island Supreme Court – This is the final stop for court challenges in the state of Rhode Island. Working at the Supreme Court is a real honor and is a highly esteemed position for a court reporter
- Rhode Island Superior Court – This is the first stop for all felony cases, and civil cases over $10,000. Court reporters in this court must be highly responsible and have a strong will, as testimony can be graphic, emotional, and disturbing
- Rhode Island Family Court – This court is the first stop for family cases. This is another court where emotional and disturbing testimony may be encountered at high rate.
Other potential employers of court reporters in Rhode Island include:
Step 5. Continuing Education in Rhode Island
It is important that court reporters in Rhode Island continue to learn and hone their skills, even after having found employment. This is best done by enrolling in periodic continuing education courses. Not only will these courses help you in keeping up-to-date with current events in the profession, but they also serve as invaluable networking opportunities. You can find an extensive library of court reporting CE by accessing this website.
Rhode Island Court Reporting Salary
The Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training lists the field of court reporting as one of its in demand occupations. This agency projects jobs in the legal field as whole to increase by 24% in the period of 2010 to 2020.
Salaries for court reporters in Rhode Island are available from Indeed.com for the year leading up to November 2013 for the following types of positions:
- Court reporter – $23,000
- Digital court reporter – $29,000
- Official court reporter – $46,000
- Registered professional court reporter – $66,000
Salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that court reporters in the Providence area made an average of $71,980 in 2012 with those in the 90th percentile making $84,530.
A common source of employment for court reporters is with state government. The official description of court reporters for the state of Rhode Island specifies that these professionals possess the skills of a stenographer.
Another frequent source of employment is with private firms that contract out the services of court reporters. The state of Rhode Island contracted $52,912 worth of court reporting to one private firm in Fiscal Year 2013. Other sources of clients for court reporting firms includes businesses that need a highly accurate record of their proceedings and those that need closed captioning on television and internet broadcasts.
Some of the court reporting firms that do business in Rhode Island include the following:
- A-1 Court Reporters, Inc.
- Allied Court Reporters, Inc.
- Catuogno Court Reporting
- Rhode Island Court Reporting
- The Varallo Group
A breakdown of the salary percentiles for court reporters as a whole in the Providence is available from the BLS and is shown below: