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Certification FAQs
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Certification FAQs

If you still have questions regarding certification after reviewing the following FAQs, please contact Sherry Simmons, Certification Liaison, at or 302-475-2173.

If you have membership or LMS questions, please contact Maria Tannen, Membership Liaison and LMS Administrator, at or 302-475-2417.

Q. What states recognize the Reporter and Transcriber certifications and allow you to work?

A. Every state uses digital recording; however, not every court, county, or jurisdiction allows it. That goes hand-in-hand as to whether or not AAERT certification is recognized.

AAERT’s suggestion is to research the exact locations you are interested in working in to find out whether they use digital reporting methods first. Then ask if they recognize AAERT certification.

Q. I would like to have more information about the certification for a digital court reporter.

A. You can find a wealth of information on our website regarding the certification process. You'll find it under the "Certification" tab on our Home Page.

Q. I would like to take classes for legal transcription. Where do I find the best information for online schools, preferably those that are accredited?

A. Our list of approved schools can be found under the “Education” tab of our website. Click on the link to each one to explore which will be the best fit for you. Contact the schools directly to find out more information about their program. Check back from time to time, as we are adding more choices as they become available.

Q. I am interested in beginning my courses for legal transcription. How much does it cost to get my CET certificate and is it valid for the State of Florida?

A. AAERT is not a school, so we don't offer courses. We are a professional association whose membership is made up of digital court reporters, transcribers, and other industry-related fields. The list of AAERT approved schools is under the “Education” tab of our website.

To become an Individual/General member of AAERT, the annual dues are $125. We offer the Best Practices Guide, which will help you prepare for our exams. The cost of the guide is $50 for members and $75 for non-members. Testing fees are $275 per exam.

AAERT's certifications have been recognized in Florida, but you would have to check with the specific court or agency you are interested in to make sure they will accept our certification.

All of the above information can be found on our website.

Q. There is a page on the AAERT website that lists approved CEU courses and how much each class or course is worth. Since we only need 3.0 CEUs every 3 years, it's very confusing that most of the CEU classes listed on your "suggested CEU page" have 5 and even 10 CEs showing as available for taking the course. Are the 5 or 10 CEs showing (like from Lexical, for example) supposed to be .5 or .1?

A. First some definitions: A CE stands for Continuing Education, which is a contact hour of time. CEU stands for Continuing Education Unit. The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) defines a CEU as 10 contact hours of participation in an organized CE/T experience, delivered under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction. Therefore, 5 CEs equals .5 CEUs.

Our program rules for AAERT Continuing Education are posted on our website under the “Education” tab. Other useful general information can be found there as well.

The suggested ways to earn CEUs on our website are just that. They are suggestions. You can choose which one(s) interests you. You may find a course that offers 3.0 CEUs or more, which will fulfill your requirement of 3.0 CEUs every 3 years. We do have members earning more than the minimum required. We also have our Learning Management System (LMS) available for you to earn CEUs. Have you reviewed them yet? You can also earn CEUs by attending our annual conferences.

Q. Are there any type of review or study materials available for preparing to take the exams?

A. There are materials suggested by AAERT to help prepare you for AAERT exams. One is our Best Practices Guide, which can be found and purchased through our website at the “Resources” tab.

Other references to review are Morson's English Guide for Court Reporters, Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation by Margie Wakeman Wells, and the Chicago Manual of Style. Since the AAERT transcriber practical is based on the federal format, we suggest you review and understand formatting as well.

Q. I cannot find where online I go to find the deadline by which my 3 CEU credits need to be completed.

A. To locate your certification expiration date, sign into the website. Under "My Profile" click on the "Profile Home" tab. Click on "Bio". Scroll down. You'll see "Recertification (Not visible to others): XX/XX/XXXX”.

Q. I just finished a course and I'm not sure where or how I'm supposed to get it to you for credit.

A. To upload your certificate, log into the AAERT website. Go to "Manage Profile" and scroll down to "Professional Development" under “Content & Features”. You'll see a green cross and next to it will be "Add Entry". Click on the cross and fill in the required fields.

Q. The Standard for Coursework/Transcriber, is it offered online? What is the cost of the course? Do you use CaseCatalyst in your teachings?

A. The standards you refer to are for those wishing to start or open a school or training program for digital court reporters and/or transcribers. That document lays out the minimum standards necessary for consideration to be added as an AAERT approved school. Please visit the AAERT Approved Schools/Courses for a current list.

AAERT is a professional association for those involved in the digital court reporting and transcribing industry. We do not currently train or teach individuals.

CaseCatalyst is one of the software packages used by stenographic court reporters. AAERT does not use the CAT software since we are an organization in support of electronic reporters and transcribers. However, we do have members who are certified transcribers who use a steno machine to transcribe audio provided by an electronic reporter.

Q. I would like to take a Principals of Sociology class for CEU credit. Would that apply towards my recertification?

A. This course wouldn't apply. The continuing education classes/courses have to relate to the digital court reporting and/or transcribing industry.

Q. I am going to the Georgia LEAP Seminar - a seminar for newly registered reporters in Georgia. Is that already an approved CEU for AAERT? Also, when (and how many) are my CEUs due to AAERT next?

A. AAERT would need to see a copy of the agenda, which has to include the times of each session, topic, and a brief description of each seminar before reaching a decision on whether we can accept CEUs for attending this seminar.

To see how many CEUs you currently have, sign into the AAERT website. Under “Manage Profile” scroll down to Professional Development. Click on Professional Development. It will show all your current and expired CEUs.

To locate your certification expiration date, sign into the website. Under "My Profile" click on the "Profile Home" tab. Click on "Bio". Scroll down. You'll see "Recertification (Not visible to others): XX/XX/XXXX”.

You can earn CEUs using our Learning Management System (LMS) and by attending AAERT annual conferences.

Q. I am planning ahead for the next 3 CEUs I need to earn. Can you tell me if this class is acceptable?

And if so, would it be worth the full 3.2 CEUs and fulfill the CEU requirement for my next renewal?

A. The course you are looking at (office-2016-word-excel-powerpoint-outlook) for your next 3.0 CEU term meets AAERT requirements. You will earn 3.2 CEUs from upon successful completion.

Q. I am looking into taking a course on transcription. I'm wondering if either of the 2 training courses are recognized by your organization. The first is Transcribe Anywhere and the second is the Transcription Certification Institute.

A. We do know of Transcribe Anywhere, and the owner is an AAERT member. We are unaware of Transcription Certification Institute. Please look at our approved schools list for a complete list of recognized schools.

Q. I am interested in obtaining my Certified Electronic Reporter certification, and I am wondering what my options are for preparing for the exam. Are there online courses I can take?

A. To help prepare for the AAERT Digital Reporter Exam, AAERT offers the Best Practices Guide, which is a PDF downloadable document. It can be found under the "Resources" tab on our Home Page. I would also suggest you go through each tab and link on our website because it is packed with information about testing and digital court reporting and transcribing.

There is a list of AAERT Approved Schools/Courses on our website under the “Education” tab. Most, if not all, provide online training.

Becoming a member of AAERT can help with your preparations, too, by having the ability to network with other members. Membership with AAERT will allow you to take part in various Groups and Forums through our website that are only open to members.

We also suggest you check out the social media options open to you on our website as a non-member. Twitter, Facebook Page, Facebook Group Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and WordPress are great ways to network and find much more information regarding court reporting and transcribing issues.

Q. When and how often are the tests for reporters? How does the process work?

A. You can find out information regarding AAERT's certification testing on our website under the “Certification” tab. The link for Fees and Deadlines will tell you when our tests are held.

Briefly, the tester has to be either a Corporate or Individual/General member of AAERT before they can register for an exam during an open registration period. We offer the Best Practices Guide, which can be found under the “Resources” tab to help you prepare for the exams.

Q. To apply for certification for the CER® and the CET® is there a fee of $275 for each, as well as a membership fee for AAERT if you have 14 years experience as a court reporter?

A. There is a separate fee for each certification exam you register for. Each one is $275. You also need to be either a General/Individual member of AAERT or a Corporate member in order to register for an exam. This applies to everyone, no matter how many years you've been in the industry.

Q. I purchased and downloaded your Best Practices Guide and plan to take the certification test soon. Can you tell me what recording software you recommend to purchase?

A. Consider saving the Best Practices Guide PDF on a flash drive and take it to your nearest office supply store to have them print and bind it for you. It's a good investment. Ask for the least expensive way.

AAERT does not recommend any particular recording software. There are many to choose from. Some examples are JAVS, FTR, Visionary, Soniclear, and Superscope Technologies. There are still many more out there. Recording software is not required for taking the reporter exam.

Q. Can I use the Gregg Reference Manual or Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters during the Practical Portion of the exam?

A. No. Only a piece of paper to take notes is permitted.

Q. How many days after the knowledge portion of the exam do I have to schedule the practical portion?

A. Find more answers about the practical portion of the exam on the AAERT website. Hover over the “Certification” tab and click on Transcriber Practical Portion.

Q. Do I have to take the practical portion on a weekday?

A. No

Q. I am looking at the transcription course and it claims to be an approved school of AAERT. Is this a correct statement?

A. Yes. They are an AAERT approved school.

Q. I was wondering about the CEUs. Are they due every year and how many do I need? If my local state court reporting association, WCRA, offers CEUs, are they recognized by AAERT as well? I know that the CEUs offered locally are also approved by NCRA. I have also had one-on-one training by a Stenograph certified trainer on my software. Does that earn CEUs as well?

A. To locate your certification expiration date, sign into the website. Under "My Profile" click on the "Profile Home" tab. Click on "Bio". Scroll down. You'll see "Recertification (Not visible to others): XX/XX/XXXX”. You need to earn 3.0 CEUs by this date in order to retain your certification. If there are classes/courses you are interested in you will need to send AAERT a copy of the class/course, which has to include the times of each session, topic, and brief description of each class/course before reaching a decision on whether we can accept CEUs for attending this class/course. Continuing education classes/courses have to relate to the court reporting and/or transcribing industry. You can also earn CEUs through our Learning Management System (LMS). To see the available courses, you can find a link on the AAERT website in the 3rd grey box titled “AAERT LMS” on the homepage.

You can find suggestions for CEUs on our website by hovering over the “Certification” tab and clicking on Suggestions on CEUs.

Q. I registered for a certification exam and have been reviewing the Best Practices Guide in preparation for it. However, I just wondered if there was some sort of sample test that I could take beforehand. As you know, there is a lot of material in that guidebook and I'm not sure how technical the test will be. For example, should I memorize margins and settings, etcetera, for transcripts under the federal guidelines for this test, or will that be covered on the transcription portion of the test? Any guidance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

A. The only sample questions we have are located on our website under the “Certification” tab at the Sample Questions/Info link.

Since you have registered for the Digital Reporter Exam, the focus of the exam is on the court reporting sections, not the transcribing sections of the Best Practices Guide. We do feel strongly that reporters should read through the sections concerning transcribers, and transcribers should read through the sections on court reporting. If each one of us understands what the other is responsible for, it makes for a better end product, which is the transcript.

Q. What format is used for the AAERT transcriber practical test?

A. AAERT uses the federal format as our standard for testing.

Q. Is certification necessary?

A. Although it isn't strictly necessary, it's highly encouraged. Even those who have experience in the field are seeking certification now. It's the pathway to finding more and better-paying clients and jobs.

Q. My jurisdiction doesn't use the federal format. Can I use the template I usually use?

A. No. Since every jurisdiction has their own requirements, AAERT has to test with one overall format. Therefore, the federal format is the standard chosen for our transcriber practical.

Q. How are the test transcripts scored?

A. The AAERT Certification Committee has gone to great effort to prepare a grading key based on the following references: AAERT Best Practices Guide, Morson's Guide for Court Reporters by Lillian Morson, Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation by Margie Wakeman Wells, the Chicago Manual of Style, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and Oxford Dictionary.

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