NCRA Certification History
In 1937 the National Shorthand Reporters Association introduced its Certificate of Proficiency, which consisted of five-minute dictations of literary material at 160 words per minute; jury charge at 180 wpm; and testimony at 200 wpm. There was no written knowledge component. All three portions had to be passed at once. The first year saw five test sites produce 27 certificate holders.
The Certificate of Merit was introduced in 1949 to recognize a higher level of proficiency. Speeds were literary at 200 wpm; legal opinion at 240 wpm; and testimony at 260 wpm. The Merit could be passed one leg at a time.
Standards for the CP were upgraded in 1973 to 180 wpm for literary; 200 wpm for jury charge; and 225 wpm for testimony. At the same time the association instituted additional rules and guidelines for grading the tests and verifying the results for both the CP and the CM. One result was that the Federal Judicial Center recommended that federal reporters with five years of satisfactory service and who are CM holders receive a 5 percent salary increase.
Adopting the recommendations of management consultant John Evans, NSRA in 1975 added a written knowledge component to the CP to create the Registered Professional Reporter designation. The written portion and all three skills portions had to be passed at once. NSRA began working with an outside testing agency to assure the validity of the program, a practice that has continued to the present.
The RPR also carried a continuing education requirement for holders to earn 30 continuing education credits every three years, with each credit representing an hour of approved continuing education. The requirement changed to the standard measure of continuing education units, or CEUs, in 1999, with one CEU representing 10 hours of continuing education. This change greatly expanded the sources of CEUs that reporters can tap to maintain their certifications.
The growth in realtime reporting and the diversity of specialties employing realtime led to creation in 1992 of the Certified Realtime Reporter designation. The CRR test originally consisted of five minutes of dictation at speeds that varied between 180 and 200 wpm. The test now is given at a fixed rate of 200 wpm. Candidates must already be RPRs to sit for the CRR and must earn 3 CEUs every three years to maintain certification. The federal court system and a few state court systems offer a salary increase to realtime-certified reporters.
The Certified Broadcast Captioner and Certified CART Provider designations were introduced in 2003 to provide a certification path for those realtime reporting specialities. In 2015 the two certifications were combined to form the Certified Realtime Captioner. All CBC And CCP holders were converted to CRC in January 2016. The CRC consists of a CRC Workshop, written knowledge test and a five-minute realtime test at 180 wpm. CRC holders must earn 3 CEUs every three years to maintain their certifications.
NCRA also offers certification programs for videographers, reporting instructors, reporting program evaluators, and managers of reporting services.