How to Become a Court Reporter in Rhode Island

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Court reporters are responsible for documenting each word spoken during court proceedings, and creating a legal record of the proceeding.

This allows officials to reference the testimony when needed.

It’s essential to be completely accurate, because an error can affect a case.

Rhode Island has a small but talented pool of court reporters.

The field can be competitive, but you can find a job as a court reporter if you follow the steps below.

How to Become a Court Reporter in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is one of a few states that doesn’t have certification or licensing requirements for court reporters.

However, some employers, including the Rhode Island State Court, have some requirements.

Meet the Basic Requirements for Being a Court Reporter

Before you begin the process, you should be sure you can meet the requirements to be a court reporter.

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You’ll need excellent listening and verbal processing skills.

You will need the capacity to type at 70 wpm for proper training.

You’ll need a clean background, and you should be at least 18 years old.

The legal right to work in the U.S. is also required.

Complete a Training Program

If you don’t have any experience as a court reporter, completing a training program should be your first step.

This will allow you to learn the skills you’ll need to be a court reporter.

You’ll also work to increase your speed and accuracy during the course.

Some courses have strict requirements for graduation, including the ability to transcribe at 225 words per minute (wpm).

Get a Certification

You don’t have to be certified to work as a court reporter in Rhode Island, but it’s strongly recommended.

It also makes it easier to find a job.

You have several options when choosing a national certification.

You can choose the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), or the National Verbatim Reporters Association certification (NVRA) as a Certified Voice Reporter (CVR).

Written Knowledge Test

To get a RPR or CVR certification, you’ll need to pass a written exam.

The exam has 100 graded questions and is multiple-choice.

You must get a score of 70% or better to pass this exam.

The NCRA test covers technology, reporting practices, and professional practices.

The NVRA exam tests your knowledge of verbatim record reporting, transcription, vocabulary and punctuation, professional responsibilities, and ethics.

The cost for NCRA certification ranges from $173-242, depending on your membership.

The cost of the NVRA written test is $160.

Skills Test

Both certifications also require a skills test, which has three components.

You’ll need to reach 180 wpm on the Literary portion, 200 wpm on the Jury Charge portion, and 225 wpm on the Question and Answer portion.

Each portion is 5 minutes long.

You’ll have 75 minutes to transcribe each section.

You will need an accuracy rate of 95% or better to pass this portion.

The online skills test from the NCRA costs $86-$137, depending on membership level.

The NVRA skills test costs $185.

You can also take a practice test with the NVRA for $125.

AAERT (American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers)

AAERT, or the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers, is another option for certification.

The AAERT offers a Certified Electronic Reporter (CER) certification.

If you plan to focus on remote or digital reporting, this is a good option.

Start Working as a Court Reporter

Once you’ve completed your education and received a certification, you are ready to begin working as a court reporter.

You can choose to work as a freelance court reporter, with an agency, or with a court as an official court reporter.

Court reporters can work in the Rhode Island Family Court, Rhode Island Circuit Court, Rhode Island Superior Court, and the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Court Reporter Schools in Rhode Island

Community College of Rhode Island Community College of Rhode Island 

The Community College of Rhode Island offers a court reporting certificate program.

The program begins in the fall, and classes are held in the evenings.

Students will learn to use Case CATalyst Software.

They will also learn proper grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, and proofreading.

Medical and legal terminology are also included.

Before graduating, students will need to be able to take dictation at 225 wpm with 95% accuracy and use a stenography machine effectively.

Once you complete the course, you are qualified to take the NCRA or NVRA certification.

The course has a total of 5 semesters, including one summer semester.

Courses include Steno Machine Shorthand Theory, Legal Terminology, Medical Terminology, Court Reporting and Computer Aided Technologies 1-4, Court Reporting Procedures, and CART and Captioning for the Advanced Court Reporter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be certified to be a court reporter in Rhode Island?


You don’t have to be certified to work as a court reporter in Rhode Island.

However, it is easier to find a job with a national certification.

Which Certification is Better?

Many states recognize NCRA and NVRA certifications, but NCRA is considered the most prestigious.

AAERT certification is a good option if you plan to focus on digital court reporting, rather than in person proceedings.

Are court reporters in demand in Rhode Island?


There’s a shortage of court reporters throughout the country.

Rhode Island is a small state, but they do need court reporters.

Court Reporter Salary Information

Court reporters in Rhode Island earn an average of $65,457 a year.

There’s a wide variation, depending on your experience, training, certifications, and where you work.

Salaries typically range between $47,228 and $85,673.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Rhode Island

City Name Salary
Providence $65,888
Warwick $65,888
Cranston $65,888
Pawtucket $65,888
East Providence $65,888
Woonsocket $65,825
Coventry $65,762
Newport $66,251
Cumberland $65,888
Westerly $66,578

Court Reporter Programs by State

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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