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The National Court Reporters Association's certifications are developed, independently validated, and maintained on an ongoing basis through a nationally recognized certification entity, Professional Examination Services (ProExam).  In addition, NCRA strives to meet the highest credentialing standards, as established by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  NCRA is also a proud member of the Institute of Credentialing Excellence (ICE).


NCRA's certifications have set the standard for excellence since 1935. NCRA's certification program now has three tiers of achievement and proudly claims as of their last writing nearly 11,000 Registered Professional Reporters (RPRs) of its approximately 17,000 members. Over 2,100 reporters have earned the next level of certification, the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), and over 450 have become Registered Diplomate Reporters (RDRs). In addition, there are over 2,350 Certified Realtime Reporters (CRR), 289 Certified Broadcast Captioners (CBC) and 228 Certified Cart Providers (CCP). In order to maintain any or all of these certifications, a reporter must maintain NCRA membership and accumulate at least 30 hours of continuing eductation units over each three-year period.


Michelle Kirkpatrick is proud to have achieved all of the following national and federal court reporting certifications and, as of 2014, is among one of only 37 NCRA court reporters of the 37,000-plus certified and noncertified court reporters nationwide to have received all of these NCRA certifications:

Registered Professional Reporter

In its comprehensive study of the court reporting profession, Hay Management Consultants refers to the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification as an entry-level designation. This study, then, clearly establishes 66% of NCRA members as professionals. The RPR may be recognized in states where no CSR Act/licensure is enforced/administrated as proof of essential skills an individual should possess in order to hold her/himself out as a qualified court reporter.

Registered Diplomate Reporter

The Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR) is the highest cumulative level of certification a reporter can achieve. The RDR is actively involved in court reporter-related organizations and serves as a consultant to other reporters, attorneys, court personnel, and other consumers by providing direction and disseminating technological information. In its comprehensive analysis of the profession, Hay Management Consultants refers to the RDR as the epitome of excellence among court reporters. Less than 3 percent of NCRA-member court reporters in the United States are RDRs.

Certified Broadcast Captioner

The Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) exam measures the candidate's skills, knowledge and abilities to provide accurate, live captioning for television broadcasts. The exam consists of a written wnowledge portion covering the topics of writing realtime, realtime writing in the broadcast environment, language skills, and research; and a stenographic skills portion covering the tasks of setting up and operating equipment, accurately writing realtime for simultaneous translation and display of literary material at a speed of 180 words per minute utilizing realtime translation software.

Federal Certified Realtime Reporter

A Federal Certified Realtime Reporter (FCRR) is an individual that has taken and passed the Federal Certified Realtime Reporter Exam and is thus certified to do government court reporting work. The United States Court Reporter Association's FCRR test consists of five minutes of Q&A three-voice recorded dictation at speeds ranging from 180-200 wpm. A "first pass" accuracy rate of 96% or better is required to pass the exam. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts recognizes the FCRR as realtime certification.

Registered Merit Reporter

A Registered Merit Reporter is a court reporter who has passed the National Court Reporter’s Association Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) examination. The exam is similar in scope to the RPR examination but tests reporters at higher levels of knowledge and speed, including a testimony skills test at 260 wpm with 95% or greater accuracy. It is the second in the general certification series and comes after having attained the Registered Professional Reporter designation. It represents a high level of professional knowledge and technical competence.

Certified Realtime Reporter

The Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) exam tests a candidate's ability to write realtime at 200 words per minute at a minimum "first pass" accuracy rate of 96%. The CRR candidate must possess the requisite knowledge to implement the necessary technology to immediately generate and provide an electronic file of the realtime transcript. Although, with the help of NCRA's TRAIN (Taking Realtime Awareness and Innovation Nationwide) initiative, the numbers are growing, to date, less than 16 percent of NCRA-member court reporters in the United States to date are Certified Realtime Reporters.

Certified CART Provider

The Certified CART, or Communication Access Realtime Translation, Provider (CCP) exam is a two-part exam consisting of a written knowledge test -- testing a candidate's abilities at research, language skills, writing realtime -- and a stenographic skills test. A Certified CART Provider possesses comprehensive knowledge of the English language in order to detect and correct mishearings during realtime translation and anticipate and prevent mistranslations. A CART Provider possesses the knowledge, skill, and ability to produce accurate, simultaneous translation and display of live proceedings at a minimum of 96% accuracy utilizing a Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) IT system. 

NCRA National Realtime Contest

The NCRA Realtime Contest began in 1999 as a way to showcase members' instantaneous speech-to-text skills. Approximately 30 to 40 of the top reporters in the country come together each year to compete in a friendly atmosphere to invidivually test themselves against the best of the best. The contest has continued to be an exciting event for members and nonmembers alike. Held at the NCRA Convention & Expo, CRR and Merit or RDR writers test their realtime writing skills in this annual realtime contest. The competition consists of two five-minute dictations: straight matter at 180 wpm and a two-voice at 225 wpm.

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