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Schools & Programs

General Requirements and Minimum Standards

General Requirements and Minimum Standards are established by the Council on Approved Student Education (CASE), part of the National Court Reporters Association.

Questions to Ask Your Prospective Court Reporting School

The Council on Approved Student Education (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? average time to reach speeds?
  3. What percentage of students who enroll graduate? 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 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's (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--counseling? financial aid? tutoring?

The Council On Approved Student Education Complaint Procedures

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

A. 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 [Acrobat]

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.

Click below to view available theories.

Theory Text Guidelines

Theory Text Guidelines are also available in Word Format.

Any computer-compatible theory taught in an NCRA certified court reporter education program should eliminate all conflicts in a consistent manner. The theory should also utilize 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 sound-alikes.
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
noboby 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 punctuation symbols. . end-of-sentence period
. decimal point (Ex. 1.4%)
? question mark
" opening quotation mark
" closing quotation mark
- hyphen
: colon (Ex. Frank:)
, coma (Ex. 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 intial long "E" sounds and the "y" suffix.
class evaluation classy valuation

Differentiate between RE prefix and RY suffix.
fact remain factory remain
bake release bakery lease

Not use 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 (now 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.
$250 million

Punctuation symbols.
/ slash mark (Ex. 3/4, and/or)
! exclamation point
. prefix decimal point (Ex. .22 caliber)
: colon (Ex. 8:25)
, comma (Ex. 1,750)
$ dollar sign