What is AAERT?

What is The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) and Why Do You Need to Know about It?

The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) is a national professional association that deals with the electronic court reporting industry. Electronic or digital court reporting is one of the main branches of the field. It sometimes has preferred status in government work and the AAERT even notes on its website that it is the method used exclusively by the Unites States and United Kingdom Supreme Courts. This organization offers a number of advantages and opportunities to its members. If you’re an electronic court reporter or are considering getting into the field, the AAERT is definitely an organization that you should be familiar with.

Electronic Court Reporting

Electronic court reporting is different from both stenographic and voice writing methods in that it records court proceedings with digital recording technology. Often court dialog and interchanges are recorded using a multi track system in which each participant’s voice is individually recorded. The reporter using this method simultaneously oversees the recording process and takes digital notes that are automatically linked with portions of the audio.

After the recording is made, either the reporter or another specially trained individual (called a digital transcriber) converts the audio into a clear and readable printed transcript. The transcriber refers to the notes the reporter has made during the testimony or other court interactions in preparing the final document.

Membership

Membership in the AAERT has a number of different facets and benefits. The following are some of these:

Certifications)

The AAERT offers several different certifications in electronic court reporting, discussed in further detail below. Examinations are given annually and test a reporter’s practical skill and ability. Successful completion of these exams results in certification. These certifications will be discussed in further detail below.

Annual Conference

The Association holds an annual conference for AAERT members in E-Reporting and E-Transcribing. These conferences open various avenues for discussion, continuing education, and networking to professionals in the industry.

Newsletter

Four times a year, the AERT publishes its newsletter The Court Reporter, and a subscription is included with membership. This publication discusses news, legal issues, and other points of interest affecting the court reporting industry.

Technology Reviews

Membership in the AAERT helps keep electronic reporters up to date on the latest technologies and digital recording products on the market. Since digital technology is such an important part of the electronic court reporting process, it’s important for a digital reporter to stay informed about technical advances and the evolution of the industry as a whole.

Insurance

The AAERT offers professional liability and disability group insurance plans.

Online Directories

This organization maintains directories of professionals in the electronic court reporting field, which is useful for networking and maintaining a sense of professional connectivity in the industry.

Types of Membership and Cost

There are four levels of membership in the AAERT. General memberships are for individual digital court reporters that are currently practicing in the industry. The cost for this membership type is $125. Apprentice/Intern/Learner memberships are for electronic court reporting students or newcomers. Anyone with less than two years’ experience doing digital court reporting is considered to be in this category. This membership costs $75. Corporate memberships cost $200 and are for corporations, small or midsize companies, or even sole proprietorships. Membership at this level gives a company one vote in deciding Association issues and also includes a free public web link on the AAERT website. Finally, a vendor membership, costing $500, allows vendors access to the benefits of AAERT membership. It does not, however, give them any voting privileges.

Certifications

The AAERT offers three types of certifications: Certified Electronic Court Reporter (CER), Certified Electronic Court Transcriber (CET), and Certified Electronic Court Reporter and Transcriber (CERT). As the names imply, these certifications offer credentialization of either the digital court reporting skill set, the transcription skill set, or both combined. There are two exams – one for reporting and the other for transcription. Examinations for these certifications consist of both written and practical portions. The written portions cover technical aspects, legal procedures, and vocabulary. In the practical sections the student is asked to demonstrate skill and ability in either digital recording or transcription during times test sessions. Those passing the exams become certified and receive a certificate to display in their home or office. More importantly the credential can be shown to employers or clients enhancing the certificate holder’s chances at various reporting jobs.

Electronic reporting is a widely accepted and sometimes preferred method of court reporting. The American Academy of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers is a great place to either start a career or revitalize and enhance an existing career in court reporting. It serves a number of different useful functions in the industry and acts as an essential resource. Further information on this organization and on electronic reporting in general can be found at the Associations’ website: http://www.aaert.org/