How to Become a Court Reporter in Washington

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The state of Washington offers several ways for residents to become court reporters.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that there will be an increased need for court reporters over the next several years.

Court reporters in Washington have a crucial role in a variety of legal proceedings.

They work in the courts, in legislatures, for attorneys, or in law firms.

Freelance Washington court reporters have flexibility in their work environment and schedules.

The median salary for Washington court reporters exceeds the median salary that court reporters earn in many other states.

A good salary is one reason that people choose this career.

The fact that court reporters do not have to earn multiple degrees provides a pathway to work in the legal profession for Washington residents.

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How to Become a Court Reporter in Washington

People who want to become court reporters in Washington are required to complete several steps, based on the laws and regulations that govern court reporters.

They must also follow the state standards of professional practice.

Submit Application and Documents

Washington requires all prospective court reporters to complete an application, which they can submit online.

Applicants who want to apply online create an account with SecureAccess Washington (SAW).

The state also allows court reporter applicants to submit their application, along with their required documents, by mail to the state’s Department of Licensing.

Court reporter applicants include the required application fee with their application.

The application for certification must include the applicant’s proof of their birthdate, full name, social security number, and personal affidavit.

Court reporters who hold certification from the National Court Reporter’s Association (NCRA) as a registered professional reporter (RPR), or who hold a certificate from the National Stenomask Verbatim Reporters Association should submit a copy of their certification with their Washington court reporter application.

Pass Required Exam

Applicants to become Washington court reporters must take and pass an exam that the state offers at least twice each year.

The state schedules applicants for the next exam date.

Applicants receive notification of their exam date and other details by mail.

The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) sets the standards for the required exam.

The WAC 308-14-085 (2) requires that the exam be a timed tape with content, speed, and quality approved by the department.

Court reporter applicants taking the exam must be able to “report and transcribe at least two hundred words per minute of two-voice testimony for five consecutive minutes.”

They must have a minimum of 95 percent accuracy to pass the exam.

Education Requirements

The state of Washington does not have specific educational requirements for court reporters.

Applicants who complete a certificate of proficiency, registered professional reporter, registered merit reporter, or registered diplomate reporter program that is approved by the National Court Reporters Association will be issued a Washington court reporter certificate.

People who want to become a court reporter in Washington often choose to complete an educational program so that they have the knowledge and skills that are necessary to pass the state exam and excel in their chosen careers.

Court Reporter Schools in Washington

Washington has only one school with approved court reporter programs.

Green River College Green River College 

Green River College offers court reporter programs that are approved by the National Court Reporters Association.

The school is unique in its court reporter program because it offers several certificates and degrees.

The options allow court reporters to choose programs that allow them to gain immediate entry-level employment or to complete a degree to gain advanced skills and better job opportunities.

The 44-credit Court Reporting and Captioning – Scopist/Text Editor Certificate program prepares students to assist with real-time editing during certain live captioning events.

The program prepares students to work with court reporters and captioners.

Students take courses such as Legal Terminology and Court Reporting Procedures.

The Associate in Applied Arts in Realtime Transcription program is a 150-credit program.

The program prepares skilled real-time court reporters for a career that includes recording the verbatim proceedings in a courtroom, and in other proceedings.

Green River College indicates that students who complete the program will have the foundation for easy entry into the school’s bachelor’s degree program, Realtime Reporting: Court Reporting and Captioning.

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Realtime Reporting: Court Reporting and Captioning program is a 180-credit program.

Students who complete the program will have the knowledge and skills to gain employment in real-time official and freelance judicial reporting, broadcast captioning, or educational captioning, which is also known as CART.

Students choose between a concentration in court reporting or captioning/CART.

Students must have an associate degree in court reporting, captioning, or real-time transcription from an accredited institution.

The program requires that students complete classwork and a 60-hour internship.

The tuition is $195.08 per credit hour.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have a Washington court reporters license if I am licensed as a court reporter in another state?

Washington’s law requires that all court reporters must have certification in Washington to work as a court reporter in the state.

Are there any benefits for veterans who want to work as court reporters in Washington?

Military personnel and veterans may help applicants to meet their licensing requirements.

They may also receive partial reimbursement for licensing fees.

How often do court reporters have to renew their license?

Washington court reporters must renew their license every year.

They must also complete the required continuing education units.

Court Reporter Salary Information

Washington court reporters earn a salary that exceeds the average salary for court reporters in many other states.

The median salary for court reporters in Washington is $67,012.

The salary that a court reporter earns depends on their experience and other factors, such as the city where they work as a court reporter.

One example is that court reporters who work in Clinton, Washington earn an average salary of $67,680.

Court reporters who work in Olympia earn an average salary of $64,984.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Washington

City Name Salary
Seattle $69,042
Spokane $61,596
Tacoma $67,291
Vancouver $65,022
Bellevue $69,042
Everett $67,803
Federal Way $67,291
Kent $67,157
Yakima $63,135
Bellingham $64,311

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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