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Certification Program

Established in 1995, AAERT’s ongoing certification program for digital (electronic) reporters and transcriptionists is a test of our members’ professional skills.

Individuals with AAERT certifications are required to keep their annual Professional level membership dues active and current to maintain earned certifications.


AAERT does not require any specific type of exam preparation or training, and the exams are not based on any single reference. AAERT credentialing programs and examinations are based on an Exam Specifications “blueprint.” The blueprints govern the competency requirements for each credential and provide the outline of topics for the examinations. Examination questions are developed from the blueprints and applicants should base their examination study on the blueprint.

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AAERT publishes and offers for sale a Best Practices Guide, which covers a wide range of professional standards. Candidates are not required to purchase or use the guide in order to qualify for or take the certification examination. PLEASE NOTE: As standards change and the profession evolves, some of the information in the guide may become outdated.

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As a courtesy to individuals interested in taking a certification examination, AAERT may publish on its website a list of courses and/or approved schools for examination preparation of which it is aware. AAERT does not endorse any specific person, product, resource, or service as a means of preparing for or achieving certification. Candidates are encouraged to plan their own course of study by reviewing the examination blueprint, identifying any areas of weakness, and securing the necessary resources to adequately prepare for the examination.


CER®

(certified electronic reporter)

CET®

(certified electronic transcriber)

CDR®

(certified deposition reporter)


Register for an exam

Exams are done remotely and registration is always open.

Breakdown of the Certification Exams

Certified Electronic Reporter (CER®)

The Certified Electronic Reporter captures the record by digitally recording court and non-court proceedings, including trials, hearings, depositions, EUOs, statements on the record, aids of execution, meetings, arbitrations, etc.

To obtain your CER® certification, you are required to pass an online multiple choice knowledge examination. The knowledge examination includes questions covering:

  • court and non-court proceedings,
  • reporting protocols and digital reporting software and equipment,
  • general legal procedures,
  • ethical and professional behavior, and
  • vocabulary

The exam consists of 190 questions of which 172 are scored and 18 are not scored. You will need a score of 80 percent or higher to pass. Only the questions that are scored contribute to your overall score. The questions that are not scored are being tested for use in future exams. You will have 120 minutes to complete the exam.

Once you’ve passed the certification examination, you are awarded the CER® certificate.


Certified Electronic Transcriber (CET®)

The Certified Electronic Transcriber captures the record by transcribing digitally recorded court and non-court proceedings verbatim.

To obtain your CET® certification, you are required to pass an online multiple-choice knowledge examination and produce a transcript from a digitally recorded proceeding (practical examination). These two test portions take place on different days; you must pass the knowledge portion of the exam prior to sitting for the practical portion.

The knowledge examination includes questions covering:

  • transcript formatting and proofreading,
  • transcription software and equipment,
  • general legal procedures,
  • ethical and professional behavior, and
  • vocabulary

The exam consists of 165 questions. You will need a score of 80 percent or higher to pass. You will have 120 minutes to complete this portion of the exam.

Once you have received a passing grade, you will be instructed on how to schedule a time to take the second portion of the exam, the practical examination. If you did not receive a passing grade, you will need to retake the knowledge portion of the exam again prior to moving on to the practical exam.

The practical examination entails creating a transcript using the federal format. You will be given a mock court proceeding recorded on four-channel digital software. You are required to complete all of the audio files supplied to you at the time of your exam. The transcript will be approximately 10-20 pages and must include a title page, index page, and certification page. You will have 150 minutes to complete the transcript.

In order to pass, you will need to demonstrate 98 percent accuracy. If you do not receive a passing grade, you will only need to retake and pass this portion of the exam in order to receive your certification.

  1. Review all information found on the Sample Questions page of AAERT website. You will find many federal formatting examples, Word templates, as well as a practice Sample Transcript with answer key.
  2. CET Practical Transcript: You must use federal formatting and your transcript must include a title page, index page, and certificate.
  3. CET Practical Exam Overview recorded presentation

Once you’ve passed both portions of the certification examination, you are awarded the CET® certificate.


Certified Deposition Reporter (CDR®)

The Certified Deposition Reporter captures the record by digitally recording depositions and other out-of-court legal proceedings, including EUOs, statements on the record, and aids of execution. The knowledge examination includes questions covering:

  • depositions and other non-court proceedings,
  • reporting protocols and digital reporting software and equipment,
  • general legal procedures,
  • ethical and professional behavior, and
  • vocabulary

The exam consists of 155 questions. You will need a score of 70 percent or higher to pass. You will have 120 minutes to complete the exam.


FAQs and Tips

Tips for Success?

To help you have a positive testing experience, we recommend the following:

Am I eligible to take the exam?
  • Testers do not need to be a member of AAERT in order to sit for an AAERT exam. If they pass the exam(s), they must become a Professional Member within 30 days in order to receive their certification.
  • In order to sit for the exam(s), testers must:
    • be eligible for a notary public commission AND
    • have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • For a greater likelihood of passing the exam, the following is recommended (not required) for testers:
    • have one year of experience as a reporter or transcriber; OR
    • have completed a course of study in court reporting.
  • Testers are not required to be a US citizen.
What is an Online Proctored Exam?
  • An online proctored exam is an exam that can be taken from your home or office. There will be a person, a proctor, who verifies your identity and secures your testing environment. The proctor will be able to see you and your screen.
What are the fees for the examination?

Information on Fees and Deadlines can be found on our Fees and Deadlines page.

Can I appeal my score if I do not receive a passing score?

AAERT shall provide candidates with an opportunity to provide feedback on its examination content and procedures regarding:

· The technical accuracy of the examination.
· Fairness in the administration of the examination.

A candidate who has a concern about administrative procedures at a testing site or who has observed a breach of security or other improper conduct during a test should submit a report in writing to the AAERT Certification Director within 5 calendar days after taking the examination. Candidates may also report such concerns by completing the electronic comment form which is available at the end of the examination.

A candidate who has a question or a concern about the reliability, validity, and/or fairness of the test may submit the question or concern in writing to the AAERT Certifications Director no later than 5 calendar days after taking the examination. Candidates may also report such concerns by entering comments in the space provided after each item on the test, or by completing the electronic comment form which is available at the end of the examination.

AAERT will not consider reports about improper test administration procedures or test content which are not submitted within the 5-day deadline.

What are the recertification rules and process?

Click here for the recertification rules and process.

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