The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing regulates the court reporting profession. Despite this, the Utah government has not created an independent licensing course or exam, but rather instructs all potential court reporters in the state to become certified by the National Court Reporters Association or the National Verbatim Reporters Association, depending on the kind of license being pursued.
The steps to becoming a court reporter in Utah are as follows:
In Utah, court reporters are considered essential. So much so that in the government shutdown of 2013 the federal court in Utah ordered court reporters to appear for work, even though they would not be immediately compensated for their time. This was proof positive that the function of the court system cannot be completed without the hard and dedicated work of skilled court reporters.
Though being a court reporter is a very rewarding career, court reporters must deal with many of the frustrations of the legal system in the process of doing their jobs including, court delays, fatigue during long days of work, and irregular schedules. Under all circumstances, they are expected to remain neutral during recording and, at all costs, avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Step 1. Decide Between Shorthand and Voice Reporter in Utah
The state of Utah requires that you decide whether you want to become licensed as a shorthand reporter or a voice reporter. You should decide which of these best suits your abilities and interests. You can certainly become licensed in both areas, but it will require becoming certified by each respective national association, as will be seen in Step 3.
Step 2. Enroll in a Court Reporter Degree or Diploma Program
The best preparation for doing the job of a court reporter is to seek a degree or diploma in the field. There are a number of community colleges, universities, and technical schools in Utah that offer such programs.
The actual title of the program may vary from one institution to the next. Some titles for the court reporter program include:
- Court Reporting
- Applied voice reporting
Step 3. Become Certified by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) or National Verbatim Reporters Association
Shorthand – After becoming familiar with the guidelines which govern court reporters in Utah, and choosing your focus, you must become certified. If you have decided to choose the shorthand path, you will want to become certified with the National Court Reporters Association as a Registered Professional Reporter. This will involve studying, preparing, and taking an exam. The exam covers a variety of topics, such as technology and reporting practices. The minimum passing score for the exam is 70 percent.
Voice Recording – If you decided that you prefer the path of voice recording, you must become certified with the National Verbatim Reporters Association as a Certified Verbatim Reporter. The exam for this certification involves transcribing dictated materials, and must be accurate to 95 percent.
Step 4. Mail Proof of Certification to the Utah Division of Professional Licensing
After obtaining your certification, it is time to fill out the Utah CR application, and mail it in with the $45 fee and a copy of your certification credentials. The application should be sent to:
Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing
P.O. Box 146741
Salt Lake City UT 84114-6741
Step 5. Find Work as a Court Reporter in Utah
After receiving your license from the state of Utah, it is time to find work. Work can generally be found in two areas, the private sector or the courts.
A list of potential employers in Utah includes:
The list of Utah Courts includes:
Step 6. Maintain Licensure
The state of Utah requires that both shorthand and voice reporters both renew their licenses every 2 years on a given day. All licenses of a given kind, such as court reporters, expire on the same day every other year, and all professionals in that career must apply for a renewed license. Court reporter licenses expire on May 31 on every even numbered year. Shorthand licensees must fill out and return this application in order to renew their license. Voice court reporters must fill out and return this application.
In addition to renewing your license every two years with the state, the NCRA requires that 3 continuing education credits be obtained every three years for your certification to remain valid. The NVRA requires that 30 CE credits be obtained every 3 years in order to maintain that license.
The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing has published a set of laws and rules which govern the licensing of court reporters in the state. Before applying for your court reporter’s license, you should read the material and familiarize yourself with it.
Utah Court Reporting Salary
The field of court reporting is growing in Utah, and the state’s Department of Workforce Services projects an annual increase of 2.8% in the number of court reporter jobs through 2020.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that one hundred court reporters were employed in Utah in 2012. The annual salaries of these professionals are shown below:
Nationally, state governments are a major employer of court reporters, and the 2013 salary for a court reporter for the state of Utah ranged from $38,230 to $57,470 a year. The requirements for this type of position entail the following:
- Working as a stenographer to record verbatim court proceedings
- Working with computer-aided transcription to produce transcripts
- Certifying transcripts
Applicants to be a court reporter for the state of Utah must be one of the following:
- A registered professional reporter (RPR)
- A certified shorthand reporter (CSR)
Employment opportunities with the courts in Utah have been diminishing as the state moves towards electronic recording of its trials.
Additional employment opportunities in this state are found with the private companies that hire court reporters to contract out their services. Professionals such as attorneys hire these professionals, as do businesses that require one of the following:
- Documentation of their proceedings by transcription or videography
- Closed captioning for the hearing impaired
Some of the court reporting firms that are active in Utah include the following:
- Alpine Court Reporting
- CitiCourt, LLC
- Harrington & Associates, LLC
- Intermountain Court Reporters
- Professional Court Reporting & Video
- Regional Reporting Services
- St. George Court Reporters
- Todd Olivas & Associates
The BLS provides an analysis of the wage percentiles of all types of court reporters who worked in Provo-Orem in 2012 in the following table: