In honor of the NCRA conference being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this week, I decided to research the requirements of becoming a court reporter in the State of Pennsylvania.
The uniform rules governing court reporting and transcripts for Pennsylvania is found in Chapter 50, Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania. Rule 5000.3 of this section of the code lists the qualifications of reporters, as follows:
“(a) After the effective date of these rules, no person shall be hired by a court as a shorthand reporter unless he or she is capable of recording proceedings at a 95% accuracy level at the following speeds:
(1) Literary or jury charge at 180 w.p.m.
(2) Medical testimony (two voices) 200 w.p.m.
(3) Ordinary testimony (up to four voices) 225 w.p.m.
(b) Each applicant must have a minimum of two years practical experience in taking and transcribing legal material and shall be required to pass a test establishing at least the foregoing qualifications, conducted by the court seeking to employ the reporter, prior to employment. A shorthand reporter may be provisionally employed for a period of not more than six months or until the next convenient certification exam. A reporter who holds a NSRA Certificate of Proficiency or Certificate of Merit shall be deemed prima facie qualified and need not be examined.
(c) A person may be employed by a court to record testimony by electronic means, such as multi-track audio recording devices, provided that the equipment incorporates the features required by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts for such use, and has been approved by the president judge or his designee. Prior to the employment or assignment of any person to operate and monitor such equipment, the district court administrator shall require proof that the reporter:
(1) is fully familiar with the controls of the equipment;
(2) has adequate hearing acuity to assure a high quality recording;
(3) will insist on clarity of the recording; and
(4) can quickly diagnose and correct routine malfunctions.”