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Interview with a teacher

Aimee Adams

By Mary Beth Johnson

Aimee Adams, RMR, CRR, is a 2018 honors graduate of the Associate in Science in Court Reporting program at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in Pittsburgh, Pa. Having taught Aimee, it is my pleasure to share her journey to success with you — the result of hard work, tenacity, and her mother’s prompting. 

MBJ | How did you hear about court reporting?

AA | When my mom was in high school, she wanted to become a court reporter, but mistakenly she was informed like most that court reporters would be replaced by technology. When I was a junior in high school, my mom discovered that in fact court reporters were still extremely relevant and in high demand.

MBJ | Please share your practice strategy.

AA | While in court reporting school, I practiced every single day on my theory. I truly believe that having a solid foundation assists with speedbuilding. Once I had completed theory and entered into the speedbuilding phase of my studies, I practiced at my test speed as my lowest speed. As I went through this strategy of practicing, I would look at words or phrases that I had difficulty writing and/or understanding my notes.

MBJ | How old were you when you graduated, how long did it take you, and what is your current job?

AA | I graduated from court reporting school when I was 20 years old. I began the court reporting program at CCAC fresh out of high school at 18 years old. I didn’t finish the program in the traditional order as a result of completing my speed classes at such a fast pace. I completed my speeds in about 12 months but completed the entire program in about 16 months and graduated with an associate degree within 2 years. Before officially graduating with my degree, I was offered a job as an official court reporter of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County after completing an internship there as well.

MBJ | What certifications do you hold, and what testing guidance can you offer? How did you prepare? How many times did you take the tests?

AA | I currently hold the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), and Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) certifications. To prepare for certification testing, I highly recommend making practice a top priority. As a working reporter, it is not always easy to practice for your certification goals in addition to your already heavy workload. Practicing for a test at a constant speed for five minutes is drastically different than the day-to-day as an official reporter. That being said, I practiced every day before my court assignment as well as on the weekend.

I took every single certification test multiple times, but each time I received a fail, my score improved which motivated me to take it again.

MBJ | Discuss the importance of professional certifications and what the designations of RPR, RMR, and CRR mean to you.

AA | I believe that obtaining professional certifications is vital to our profession. After receiving your certification, you display that you are continuing to work on your craft after becoming a professional reporter. 

Since I live in Pennsylvania where obtaining the RPR certification to work as a reporter is not required, it made getting the certification even more special. 

MBJ | Comment on the profession of court reporting as it relates to the courtroom.

AA | Court reporters are the most important individuals in the courtroom even though many believe it is the judge. Although this may be true in some respects, we, the reporters, have a duty to make an accurate and verbatim record of the proceedings. The reporter has control of the record and must ensure that it is taken accurately.

MBJ | How did you move from student to official?

AA | Transitioning from a student to an official reporter for me was not entirely clear-cut. Even though I had become a working reporter, I still had a lot to learn. Many of the skills I use on a daily basis as a reporter I learned either during my internship or on the job. As a young reporter fresh out of school, I absorbed as much information as I could from my colleagues. I continue to this day to learn new information every day in this career.

Mary Beth Johnson, CRI, is Department Head, Business and Technologies; Professor, Court Reporting; and Program Coordinator, Court Reporting at Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, Pa. She can be reached at

Aimee Adams, RMR, CRR, is an official from Pittsburgh, Pa. She can be reached at