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Schools & Programs

General Requirements and Minimum Standards

The Council on Approved Student Education (CASE), part of the National Court Reporters Association, establishes the General Requirements and Minimum Standards (GRMS).

View the General Requirements and Minimum Standards

Questions to ask your prospective court reporting school

CASE has developed a comprehensive list of questions that a student might want to ask a prospective school.

  1. How long has the school been in existence?
  2. What is the length of the program? What is the average time to reach speeds?
  3. What percentage of students who enroll graduate? What percentage become reporters?
  4. What types of reporting jobs do your graduates get?
  5. If the state has a reporter certification requirement, what is the success rate of the school’s graduates? After how many attempts?
  6. How many hours of live and taped dictation are there per day per quarter/semester?
  7. How often is multi-voice dictation given?
  8. How many days a week will I be expected to attend classes?
  9. What are the class sizes?
  10. How many teachers are employed in the program?
  11. What are the teacher’s credentials and/or teaching or reporting experience?
  12. How many court reporting instructors are CRI (Certified Reporting Instructors)?
  13. Is theory taught using realtime? If not, is realtime training given?
  14. At what point in the curriculum is extensive computer-aided transcription (CAT) training introduced?
  15. What are the school’s graduation requirements?
  16. Does the school have an internship program? Note: All NCRA-approved programs must have an internship program.
  17. Is employment assistance available?
  18. What are the entrance requirements of your institution?
  19. Am I required to purchase or rent a stenotype writer?
  20. What student services are available (e.g., counseling, financial aid, tutoring)?

The Council on Approved Student Education complaint procedures

Each institution with an approved program shall publish a procedure for resolving and handling student complaints including provisions for a final written decision.

Complaints must be handled in the following manner:

  1. The student must file the complaint in compliance with the institution’s published grievance procedure.
  2. If the final written decision of the institution is deemed unsatisfactory by the student, then the student must file an NCRA Complaint Form. The NCRA Complaint Form must be accompanied by the final written decision of the institution.
  3. The NCRA Complaint Form will be submitted to CASE for consideration. If it appears that the General Requirements and Minimum Standards have been violated, CASE will discuss the seriousness of the alleged violation and determine whether any further action is necessary or indicated. Repeated complaints may result in a CASE visitation at the institution’s expense.

Download the Complaint Form.

NCRA steno theory clearinghouse

Over time, NCRA’s role regarding steno theories has shifted from one of a regulator to that of a clearinghouse. NCRA serves as a central source of information for stenographic court reporters on all available theories.

View vailable theories below.

Theory text guidelines

Theory text guidelines are also available in Word format.

Any computer-compatible theory taught in an NCRA-approved court reporting program should eliminate all conflicts in a consistent manner. The theory should also use uniform methods to create easy-to-learn outlines rather than relying on arbitrary memorization.

It is mandatory that a computer-compatible theory consistently:

  • Use long and short vowels.
  • Differentiate words ending in -ST and -S.
    past/pass
    chest/chess
    mist/miss
    • Resolution of this conflict must not create alternate conflicts, i.e., PAS/-T/ as a potential outline for past, pass the, and pass it.
  • Differentiate words ending in -TH and -T.
    both/boat
  • Differentiate words ending in -NK and -NG.
    rank/rang
  • Differentiate words ending in -S and -Z.
    rice/rise
    race/raise
    ice/eyes
  • Differentiate words ending in -X and -KSHUN.
    sex/section
    fix/fiction
  • Differentiate words ending in -F and -V.
    relief/relieve
    safe/save
    leaf/leave
    life/live
  • Differentiate words beginning with S- and Z-.
    sip/zip
  • Differentiate words beginning with EXP- and SP-.
    express/suppress
  • Differentiate words beginning with EX- and COMP-.
    exact/compact
  • Differentiate between the article A and the syllable A.
    a dress/address
    a long/along
  • Differentiate soundalikes.
    threw/through
    blew/blue
    wrap/rap
    whole/hole
    whine/wine
    not/knot
    sale/sail
    road/rode
    sell/cell
    serial/cereal
    brake/break
    stake/steak
    right/rite/write
    sent/cent/scent
    sight/site/cite
  • Differentiate words beginning with SHR- and SL-.
    shred/sled
    shrug/slug
  • Differentiate contractions, two words, and single words.
    your/you’re/you are
    yours/yourself/yourselves
    there/their/they’re/they are
    its/it’s/it is/itself
    who’s/whose
    can’t/cannot
  • Differentiate between briefs, phrases, and other words.
    Ed he had
    nobody knob
    physical fizz
  • Differentiate between singular words and plurals.
    tense/tens
    guise/guys
    tax/tacks
    pulse/pulls
  • Differentiate common words from names.
    ray/Ray
    bill/Bill
    fill/Phil
    done/Don
  • Differentiate plurals from single and plural possessives.
    houses/house’s/houses’
  • Include the following punctuation symbols:
    . end-of-sentence period
    . decimal point (e.g. 1.4%)
    ? question mark
    “ opening quotation mark
    ” closing quotation mark
    dashes
    - hyphen
    : colon (e.g. Frank:)
    , comma (e.g. one, two, or three)
    ( opening parenthesis
    ) closing parenthesis
    ; semicolon
  • Include alphabetic spelling of words.
  • Differentiate between the following words and suffixes:
    Al/all/-al
    necessary/-ness
    meant/-ment
    err/-er
    go/-ing
    had/-ed
    is/-s
  • Differentiate between the pronoun I and the -Y suffix.
    treat I/treaty
    room I/roomy
    bush I/bushy
  • Differentiate between the initial long E- sounds and the -Y suffix.
    class evaluation/classy valuation
  • Differentiate between the RE- prefix and -RY suffix.
    fact remain/factory remain
    bake release/bakery lease
  • Avoid using the same steno outline for more than one English translation

In an effort to provide ongoing quality improvement in the area of computer compatibility, the following theory suggestions are at this time merely recommendations (to be included by April 2003):

  • Differentiate one- and two-word combinations.
    takeover/take over
    sometime/some time
    maybe/may be
    pickup/pick up
    outcome/out come
    overall/over all
  • Differentiate between the following words and suffixes:
    less/-less
    or/-or
    full/-full
    able/-able (-ible)
    ability/-ability (-ibility)
  • Differentiate between the following words and prefixes:
    in/in-
    for/fore-
  • Differentiate between the initial EN- sound and the -EN suffix.
    threat encourage/threaten courage
  • Incorporate a method for writing numbers that will result in proper translation.
    1,458
    $250 million
    $1.75
  • Include the following punctuation symbols:
    / slash mark (e.g. 3/4, and/or)
    ! exclamation point
    . prefix decimal point (Ex. .22 caliber)
    : colon between numbers (Ex. 8:25)
    , comma between numbers (Ex. 1,750)
    $ dollar sign