While violent crime in the U.S. is showing a downward trend, Maui has experienced a 50 percent increase over the past ten years.
This has created more work for courtroom employees, including court reporters sitting in on these cases.
As a result of this tragic, violent crime increase, court reporters are more in demand now than ever.
Luckily, as a state, Hawaii is the fifth least crime-ridden area in the U.S. and one of the fairest regarding litigation.
Given Hawaii’s high cost of living due to the importation of most goods, becoming a court reporter can be a lucrative career choice with plenty of job security while being well-respected and having interesting daily work.
Keep reading if you’re considering becoming a court reporter in Hawaii!
How to Become a Court Reporter
Complete the Required Training
Like most states, Hawaii has a governing body for court reporters called the State Board of Certified Shorthand Reporters.
This Board has aligned with the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) credentialing requirements.
During the training program, students will learn all the necessary information to pass the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification exam.
This means applicants will earn the RPR and be eligible for state licensure.
The NCRA has a national list of approved training programs, most of which are online, that meet the requirements of this certification.
These programs are available for certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees.
Opting for the certificate program is the quickest path to employment, but an associate degree provides more detailed information and core classes to make students more well-rounded.
Become an RPR
The RPR exam comprises a skills test and a Written Knowledge Test (WKT), both of which can be registered online.
The skills test evaluates the candidate’s word per minute (wpm) transcription accuracy and speed.
The test is divided into Testimony Q&A at 225 wpm, Jury Charge at 200 wpm, and Literary at 180 wpm.
The WKT has 120 questions covering machines and software used in court reporting, procedural knowledge and reporting practices, and professional ethics and practices.
In this section, testers will listen to a five-minute mock recording in each category and have 75 minutes to transcribe the conversation, boasting a 95 percent accuracy rating.
Decide Upon Freelancing or State Positions
For those candidates who have earned the RPR certification and are interested in becoming a freelance court reporter, they must fulfill the Hawaii Board of Certified Shorthand Reporters requirements.
This includes a $1,000 surety bond from an insurance company, a $100 insurance fee, passing the notary exam, paying the $10 examination fee, paying the $20 application fee, and completing the online notary application.
This step is unnecessary for those who want to enter the State judicial system or into a private court reporting company.
Apply to the Hawaii Board of Certified Shorthand Reporters
Those with the RPR certification and who have completed the freelancing requirements are eligible to complete their application with the Hawaii Board of Certified Shorthand Reporters.
The process includes filling out the application, providing proof of NCRA certification, paying the $125 application fee, and passing a written knowledge test, which includes:
- Geographic facts about Hawaii
- Hawaiian language vocabulary
- State trivia and history
Those looking for court reporter positions with the state can work in:
- Circuit courts such as:
- First circuit – Oahu
- Second Circuit – Maui
- Third Circuit – Hawaii
- Fifth Circuit – Kauai
- Intermediate Court of Appeals in Honolulu
- Supreme Court in Honolulu
Search for a Job
Court reporter positions are available wherever a court-related proceeding or courtroom is located.
Navigating Hawaii’s Judiciary job opportunities website is a great starting point.
Also, the Hawaii Court Reporters & Captioners Association is an excellent resource for continuing education options, professional development, remaining updated on the latest legislation, and networking.
Once all these steps are complete, court reporters must renew their certification by completing three continuing education units every three years, the exact requirement of the NCRA RPR certification.
Also, reporters must pay the $50 license renewal fee every January and become a member of the NCRA for $300 per year.
Court Reporter Schools in Hawaii
Hawaii Pacific University
HPU has a comprehensive online court reporter training program without any prerequisites.
To pass national and state certification requirements, the program aims to progress students to 225 wpm in typing with 96 percent accuracy.
Since most students require a steno machine, the maximum cost is around $7,900.
Also, students gain access to the CAT program throughout enrollment but must purchase it after graduation for professional careers.
University of Hawaii
The digital court reporter program offered by the University of Hawaii provides participants with a thorough understanding of how to become a digital court reporter and the training required for legal proceedings.
The curriculum includes digital reporting software, legal procedures, professionalism, ethics, laws, and the court system.
The cost is $795, and the self-paced program requires a time commitment of six months.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the minimum WPM Hawaii court reporters must meet?
Since the state and national requirements are aligned, the minimum speed on stenotype machines is 225 wpm.
Is it challenging to learn stenography in Hawaii?
While machine shorthand (stenography) is relatively easy to learn if dedicated, hitting the 225 wpm requires significant practice.
Stenography can be understood in only a few weeks, but balancing high accuracy with speed takes months or years.
Accuracy in typing is just as important as speed since critical and sensitive information is said in courtrooms and must be documented correctly.
Can Hawaii court reporter programs be taken at home?
Many of the best schools offer online court reporter programs.
Since the field requires stenography, reporting software, and the internet to access lectures, it is a perfect candidate for the online studying format.
Court Reporter Salary Information
Hawaii’s average annual court reporter salary is $65,138, with pay ranging from $32,229 to $103,573.
The U.S. yearly court reporter salary is slightly lower at $62,459, with pay ranging from $30,904 to $99,313.
Average Salary in Hawaii
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