Happy student raising arm to answer question while attending class with her university colleagues.

How to Become a Court Reporter in Ontario in 2024

Court reporters play a crucial role in the legal process as they must ensure accurate documentation of every word spoken during proceedings, from trials to depositions. If you are someone with an eye for detail and the ability to stay calm under pressure then pursuing a career in court reporting may be the perfect fit for you.

Let’s explore what it takes to become a court reporter in Ontario.

Research and Enroll in Accredited Programs

Begin your journey by researching accredited court reporting programs in Ontario. There are post-secondary institutions that offer court reporting courses, recognized by organizations such as the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). These programs meet the standards of quality and effectiveness set by the NCRA and provide comprehensive instruction in stenography, real-time transcription, legal terminology, and courtroom procedures.

To become a court reporter in Ontario, you must receive a certification from the NCRA or the Ontario Court Reporters Association (OCRA). While the NCRA offers educational programs at accredited institutions to prepare students for their certification exams, the OCRA does not provide any training. In order to be tested for a Certified Court Reporter (CCR) accreditation by the OCRA, members must be fully trained.

The only NCRA-accredited institution in Canada is the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). Their Captioning and Court Reporting program is a 1-year diploma program that is offered both in-person and online. To gain admission to this program, you must first obtain a Court Transcription certificate which is another 1-year program offered in-person and online.

However, you do not have to attend a NCRA accredited educational program to become certified; you only have to pass the certification exam. It is still recommended to attend some form of training, as court reporting is comprised of many difficult skills that take time to learn. There are many schools in Ontario that offer court transcription courses in less time.

If you are still unsure if court reporting is right for you, the NCRA offers a free 6-week online course to learn the basics of stenography writing to help you decide.

Complete Coursework and Training

The next step is to complete your coursework and training in your selected program. Accredited court reporting programs can take up to 2 years before taking the certification exam. The Captioning and Court Reporting program at NAIT teaches students to write machine shorthand at least 225 words per minute with 95% accuracy. Along with honing their shorthand skills, students will develop their understanding of legal terminology commonly encountered in courtroom proceedings.

Students will also acquire knowledge and apply understanding of court practices, procedures, and guidelines pertaining to different areas of law, such as criminal, civil, family, and small claims court while also developing strong listening and comprehension skills, essential for ensuring accurate and complete recordings of proceedings.

Obtain Certification

There are many different certifications you can obtain to become a court reporter. It’s important to find the right one that works for your goals, as each certification is unique. It is also important to note that each certification has its own certification exam with unique requirements to pass.

The NCRA’s certifications are as follows:

Registered Skilled Reporter (RSR): NCRA’s designation that will recognize those stenographic professionals who are looking to validate their beginning level of competency.

Registered Professional Reporter (RPR): NCRA’s foundational certification designed for entry-level freelance and official reporters, students, those looking for a salary increase, and those in need of a license requirement.

The Registered Merit Reporter (RMR): NCRA’s next-level skills certification designed for mid-career court reporters, those looking for the next level of networking, and those looking for a potential salary increase.

Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR): NCRA’s highest degree of certification designed for elite reporters desiring to join an exclusive club of reporting excellence.

Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR): NCRA’s realtime proficiency certification designed for those who want to demonstrate realtime competency, those looking for an additional salary increase, and reporters who wish to market themselves better as realtime reporters.

Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC): NCRA’s foundational certification designed for entry-level captioners who would like to begin working in the broadcast or CART captioning fields.

Certified Reporting Instructor (CRI): This program for teachers of court reporting encourages excellence in the educational programs that prepare tomorrow’s court reporters.

Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS): This certification is designed for legal videographers to showcase proficiency in video deposition practices.

Continuing Education

Your court-reporting education doesn’t have to stop after certification. Many professionals continue their education by attending workshops, seminars, and conferences to network with fellow professionals and enhance their professional development.

In this digital age, court reporters must also adapt to technological advancements in transcription software and equipment. Staying current with emerging technologies and leveraging them to enhance efficiency and accuracy in your work is crucial to remain at the forefront of your profession.


By following these steps with diligence and determination, you can achieve court reporting certification in Ontario and embark on a rewarding career journey filled with opportunities for growth and success. Remember to stay focused on your goals, embrace challenges as opportunities for learning, and remain committed to excellence in your work.


“Captioning and Court Reporting.” NAIT.ca, NAIT.ca, 2024, www.nait.ca/programs/captioning-court-reporting?term=2024-fall&intake=2bbda2fe-8299-4fd9-97b0-1baad90a3d17&overviewtabs=what-you-will-learn.

“NCRA Certifications | NCRA.” Ncra.org, 2024, www.ncra.org/certification/NCRA-Certifications.