Arizona is an interesting state for those who are interested in becoming court reporters, because it has its own unique set of requirements for those who wish to work in the profession. In addition to having a formal education of some sort in the court reporting area, prospective court reporters are also required to be licensed by the state.
Licensing is often confused with certification, but they are not one and the same. Licensing is something that must be done in order to work in the field, while certification is optional and serves only to increase one’s career prospects, abilities, and salary.
Becoming licensed only involves the passing of a state examination which covers all of the basics of court reporting. Also, the state requires all prospective court reporters to take and pass an Arizona Written Knowledge Test as well. This test, on which they must score at least a 75 to pass, covers general codes and rules under state law.
For those who do not succeed at the licensure process or who simply do not feel that it is right for them, there is an alternative method of licensure available through the National Verbatim Reporters Association. This alternative method of licensure involves becoming certified in one of the following areas through extensive skill and proficiency testing: Certified Verbatim Reporter, Certificate of Merit, or Real Time Verbatim Reporter.
Different potential employers will prefer different methods of licensure. So, if you have an idea of where you want to work, you can earn your licensure based off of the preferences of your desired employer.
Really, though, all that will matter in the long run is whether or not you have pursued licensure in some way. Without a current, valid license, you cannot legally work as a court reporter in the state.
Let us back track a minute, however, to discuss the education you should have before you become licensed. There are many colleges and universities in the state of Arizona that offer educational programs in court reporting. These programs vary in length and are based in different areas of court reporting.
However, only one of these schools and programs is approved by the National Court Reporters Association. That school is Gateway Community College, which is located in Phoenix. While you do not absolutely have to go to this school to find success, keep in mind that a program certified by this organization is usually the best choice.
Finally, remember that once you have your education and are also licensed in the state, you can choose to earn a certification as well. Certifications are offered by a number of different bodies and organizations and in a number of different areas.
While they are not usually required by employers, they are an excellent way to prove that you know your stuff and that you have been extensively trained in a particular area of court reporting. They are a wonderful option for those who want to be afforded every possible opportunity.