What is a Federal Certified Realtime Reporter?

A Federal Certified Realtime Reporter (FCRR) is an individual that has taken and passed the Federal Certified Realtime Reporter Exam and is thus certified to do government court reporting work. The field of government court reporting is an important branch of the court reporting industry as a whole, and one in which there are a many jobs available. Getting a certification in Federal Certified Realtime Reporting can be a valuable credential that helps a court reporter secure this kind of work.


The United States Court Reporters Association is a national professional organization for the government court reporting industry. It administers the FCRR examination. It upholds standards in the government court reporting industry, and insures that it is practiced ethically. It promotes continuing education and keeps verbatim court reporters up to date on the latest technologies. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts recognizes the USCRA as a reputable credentialing association and accepts the FCRR certification it confers as acceptable proof that a government court reporter is competent.

The FCRR Exam

The FCRR exam is basically simply either one of two 5 minute dictation sessions. That is to say, the student can register for either one or two tests. If they take two tests, the one with the higher score is the one that will be graded. The exams require the test taker to transcribe 3 voice question and answer court exchanges at speeds between 180 and 200 words per minute. In other words three recorded voices exchange question and answer information, requiring the test taker to follow the interchanges and record them. The individual being tested must take down the spoken interactions with at least a 96% accuracy.

If someone has only registered for the first test, they must still take the second one, even though it will not be graded. Perhaps this is both to offer practice to the test taker and to avoid the disruption of people getting up and leaving the room.

A few other points about the exam:

– Wireless electronic links such as Bluetooth, audio sync, wireless internet connections, and digital recorders are prohibited during the exam

– Writing in all capitals is allowed

– If a stenography machine has a Test mode, it must be used during the exam.

– The exam is given twice a year: at the springtime Midyear Board Meeting and Seminars, and at the annual USCRA Convention in the fall.

– The cost of the exam is $150 to register for one test, $250 to register for two

– Registration is done by mailing in the form with the brochure for either the Midyear Board Meeting and Seminars or the annual USCRA Convention in the fall.

– The registration deadline is the Monday prior to the exam.

– Bring the following items to the exam: confirmation letter, picture ID, writer (i.e. stenotype machine), computer, realtime software, the cable that connects writer to computer, and a blank diskette or CD.

– If you cannot make the exam and need to cancel, you should contact the Chief Examiner before the exam and you will be issued a voucher for the test, enabling you to take it sometime within the ensuing two years. The USCRA charges a $25 dollar fee for this rescheduling and the test taker is also responsible for any differences in testing fees.

– Practice materials can be purchased from the USCRA. This is a CD or cassette called the FCRR Practice Series, and consists of the material from previous exams. The cost is $25 for one and $40 for two.

Yes. Each volume of the FCRR Practice Series consist of one cassette or CD containing previously administered FCRR exams. Cost for each cassette or CD is $25 for one and $40 for two and can be ordered by following this link .

Exam Eligibility

There are no special exam eligibility requirements for this exam other than that the test taker is a member of the USCRA. They need not have government court reporting experience or even any special background in the industry. Thus presumably they can be fresh from an educational program or even simply have learned on their own to use a stenotype machine or other reporting method and simply take the exam and become certified. It is important to realize, however, that employers do not only look at the certification status of a job candidate when considering them for a job, but also the candidate’s education and experience.

Advantages of FCRR Certification USCRA Membership

The main advantage of having an FCRR certification is, as indicated, that it useful in gaining government court reporting employment. The USCRA is a respected organization and its credentialing is highly regarded by government organizations at the local, state, and federal levels.

USCRA membership in general is beneficial to government court reporters, whether they are just starting out in the field or already have experience in the industry. The UCRA is the only national organization that deals exclusively with government court reporting. Some of the perks of being a member include access to the UCRA private library, Job Share access, subscription to the USCRA’s quarterly publication The Circuit Rider, current news and professional updates, opportunity to site for FCRR exams (four per year). Membership can usually be applied for or renewed online.

Anyone interested in getting into government court reporting should look into FCRR certification and USCRA membership. More information on the topic can be found at:http://www.uscra.org/faqs.shtml