The role of a court reporter is vital.
These experts record all legal proceedings within a trial verbatim to be referenced and reproduced later.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 470 court reporters work in Colorado as part of trials, mediation, and other legal functions.
The anticipated growth of this profession over the next ten years is a whopping 14 percent.
Becoming a court reporter takes hard work and dedication but can be incredibly lucrative.
Keep reading to learn more about how to become a court reporter in Colorado!
How to Become a Court Reporter
Colorado has a rapidly growing population, and changing demographics means new legal precedents and history continue to grace the courtroom.
Since Colorado is the fourth highest paying state for court reporters (even better for those with additional qualifications), entering this profession is a great option.
The following steps are required to become a court reporter in Colorado:
Finish a Court Reporter Program
Court reporter programs are available at many community colleges and technical schools and in distance learning models.
The most comprehensive programs train students in:
- Business and legal ethics
- CAT software for transcript preparation
- English grammar
- Legal principles
- Machine shorthand speed
- Medical terminology
- Realtime writing
Entering the field requires a two-year associate degree, which delves deeply into these topics and offers liberal arts courses to ensure graduates are well-rounded.
Colorado is one of 37 states allowing voice writers to utilize stenomask machines in state courts.
Therefore, finding a program that provides stenomask training can be helpful.
Pass the National Certification Exam
Colorado does not require court reporters to become certified or licensed.
Still, most employers, such as the Colorado court system, require the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification offered through the National Court Reporters Association.
This process consists of passing a skills test and a written exam.
The skills exam is only available online and covers five minutes of Q&A/Testimony at 225 words per minute (wpm), five minutes of jury charge at 200 wpm, and five minutes of literary at 180 wpm.
Once the transcription is completed for these segments, testers have 75 minutes to transcribe the notes with an accuracy of at least 95 percent.
The written test is multiple choice and includes professional practices (16 percent), technology (22 percent), and reporting practices (62 percent).
This exam segment must be taken in person at one of Pearson VUE’s many testing exam segment centers across the U.S. The written exam costs $120 ($95 for existing members and $77 for students).
The written exam costs $220 ($195 for members and $160 for students).
Find a Job
Most graduates find work as traditional court reporters through the Colorado Judicial Branch in the Court of Appeals, Denver Juvenile Court, Denver Probate Court, Supreme Court, or Trial Courts.
Also, numerous court reporting agencies across the state, such as the Agren Blando Court Reporting and Video in Denver and the Denver Professional Court Reporting and Video companies.
These agencies offer many opportunities beyond legal transcription.
For instance, one expanding area for instant transcription is Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), the text captioning at the bottom of the TVs in airports or bars.
While this service was initially created for the hearing-impaired, it’s also useful for locations with background noise.
Maintaining the RPR certification requires three continuing education credits on a rotating three-year cycle, a job requirement in the state courts.
Those with a Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) credential must earn 20 continuing education credits every two years.
The RPR or CVR designations are not the end of the accreditation line for court reporters.
The top profession within this field requires a Certified Realtime Reporter (CRC) credential, which involves Q&A coverage at 200wpm with 96 percent accuracy.
Additional certifications include:
- CBC – Certified Broadcast Captioner
- CCP – Certified CART Provider
- Federal Certified Realtime Reporter
In addition to managing certifications, seasoned court reporters recommend joining the local professional society, the Colorado Court Reporters Association, for $110 per year.
This provides access to extensive networking opportunities, continuing education programs, and learning about the latest industry legislative and technological advancements.
Court Reporter Schools in Colorado
Colorado residents have plenty of court reporter educational options, including the following:
International Realtime Court Reporting Institute
Considered one of the most successful voice writing educational programs in the U.S., the International Realtime Court Reporting Institute is a comprehensive online training format focused on passing the RPR or CVR examinations.
The curriculum comprises 43 self-paced classes created by two exceptional court reporters.
Although the coursework is self-directed, the program takes most students 12 months to complete.
During the program, students will learn about the fundamentals of voice writing theory, proper punctuation, and how to prepare legal transcripts.
Other topics include using technology like Eclipse VOX and Dragon Professional and what it takes to pass the certification exams.
Instructors are available throughout the program to assist with all questions.
Pueblo Community College
PCC’s Digital Court Reporter course is an entirely online, self-paced program that utilizes digital court reporting software to teach each module.
The program comprises 120 class hours and helps students prepare for national examinations.
Most students complete the program within six months.
Graduates leave the school understanding the U.S. legal system and terminology, using digital reporting software and hardware, learning to adhere to confidentiality, ethics, and professionalism standards, and being immersed in reporting procedures for all case types.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is being a Colorado court reporter difficult?
Although court reporting is a predictable field, it can also be highly stressful due to tight deadlines that must be met daily and multitasking for extended periods.
These can lead to mental fatigue, but the field is highly lucrative, especially for those who achieve advanced certifications.
What average typing speed must a Colorado court reporter achieve?
According to the National Court Reporters Association, Court reporters are trained on stenotype machines and must achieve 225 wpm.
What skills are required to become a successful Colorado court reporter?
The best court reporters in the state have exceptional knowledge of the English language, are resourceful and dependable, deliver consistent work with quick turnaround, and have outstanding record-keeping skills.
Court Reporter Salary Information
The median annual U.S. court report salary is $62,500, with pay ranging from $30,900 to $99,300.
The median yearly wage for a Colorado court reporter is slightly higher at $63,500, with pay ranging from $31,400 to $100,900.
Average Salary in Colorado
Court Reporter Programs by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia