What is a Registered Merit Reporter?

A registered merit reporter is a court reporter who has passed the National Court Reporter’s Association Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) examination. This is a certification given by the organization that can be an invaluable asset from an employment standpoint. It is the second in the general certification series and comes after Registered Professional Reporter designation. It represents a high level of professional knowledge and technical competence.

The NCRA

The National Court Reporter’s Association, or NCRA, is a national organization that supports professionals in the court reporting industry. It mainly emphasizes support for reporters that use stenographic methods (as opposed to voice writing) as a main transcription technique. This organization offers memberships in exchange for yearly dues. Members are eligible to take a number of different certification exams offered b y the organization that provide credentialing for a number of facets and levels of the court reporting field. The website provides helpful information such as college listings and employment resources like classified advertising.

Registered Merit Reporter Exam

The registered Merit Reporter examination consists of a 105 question Written Knowledge Test, or WKT, as well as a skills exam that tests actual transcription ability. The WKT portion of the exam covers the subjects of transcript production, administration, and professional issues and continuing education. The scoring is scaled but it must be at least 70% to pass this portion of the test.

The skills section has three sub sections that deal with different transcription types and increase in speed from one sub section to the next. The first leg delivers literary content as 200 words per minute. The second leg moves up to Jury Charge content given at a speed of 240 words per minute. Finally, the last leg delivers testimony and question and answer content at 260 words per minute. After the dictation is finished, the tests taker has 75 minutes to transcribe the notes he or she has taken. An accuracy degree of 95% must be achieved on each leg.

The NCRA allows people to take or retake the sections of the exam at different times if they prefer. It does not all have to be completed successfully in one sitting. Any sections that an individual passes in a certain sitting remain valid as long as their membership in the NCRA remains in effect.

Exam Eligibility

As noted above, an individual must already have passed the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) exam in order to be eligible to take the RMR exam. The RPR consists of a 105 question multiple choice test and a three part skills test. The skills test uses the same content categories as the RMR exam but is delivered slower: the literary content portion is delivered at 180 wpm, the jury charge is delivered at 200 words per minute, and the testimony/question and answer is given at 225 words per minute.

In addition to this, the RMR candidate must have three continuous years of NCRA membership prior to taking the exam. This membership must also have started with Participating or Registered member status.

Advantages of CRR Certification

According to the NCRA website, CRR certification, while fairly basic in the hierarchy of certifications offered by the NCRA, opens a lot of doors and confers a lot of advantages. It notes that some of these advantages are

Increased Job Opportunities

Holding a CRR certification is said to boost employability. This is a nationally recognized organization, so this claim may well be true, especially given that the test combines both written knowledge and practical parts. The test proves court reporting transcription speed and competence as well as knowledge of important issues in the field, and employers may tend to hire people more easily if they possess these verifiable credentials.

RDR Eligibility

Successful attainment of the RMR certification allows the student to advance to the next certification level, which is the Registered Diplomate Reporter certification. This is the highest general certification given by the NCRA (the rest of the certifications deal with more specific concentrations, techniques, and technologies).

Speed Contest

RMR certification enables an individual holding it to compete in the NCRA’s National Speed Contest. This is an annual competition in stenotype transcription that tests speed on a words per minute basis. Winners have demonstrated the ability to stenographically transcribe speech at rates of up to 280 words per minute, which is around 5 words per second!

Continuing Education

As is the case with the other certifications, the RMR must be maintained by completing a specified number of continuing education credits called CEUs in NCRA terminology. These credits may be gained by attending NCRA classes and seminars or possibly other requirements.

According to the NCRA website, only about 16% of those holding Registered Professional Reporter certifications go on to complete RMRs, so this is definitely a fairly distinguished general certification level. If you’re completing an educational program in stenographic reporting or simply thinking of getting into this career path, an RMR certification is a definite goal to keep in mind.