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What is a Court Reporter

Court ReporterA court reporter, also known as a court stenographer, is someone who sits in on court trials, depositions, hearings and other ceremonial or legal proceedings, and transcribes spoken or recorded speech into written transcripts. This can be done in a number of ways by using written shorthand, voice recording instruments or machine shorthand. Court reporters are also used to write out spoken words onto TV for people with hearing problems at live events.

Court reporting is a job that has very good potential for future growth, and if you possess sharp listening and typing skills then it is an extremely feasible career to look at going into.

Everyday Activities of a Court Reporter

The everyday activities for a court reporter will vary, especially if they are working full time as a transcriber for the deaf or hard of hearing. But if they do work in a legal context then their day is expected to include the following tasks.

  • Sit in on legal events such as hearings, trials and depositions
  • Record verbal exchange using recording equipment such as covered microphones, stenograph machines and other video/audio recording instruments
  • Identify and record the speaker’s identification and what their actions are while speaking
  • Play back any material as requested
  • Edit scripts for spelling and grammatical mistakes
  • Get transcript ready for the records
  • Supply courts, and all other groups involved, with the written transcript

Job Outlook for a Court Reporter

Job growth as for Court Reporters looks promising in the next few years, and people who have training and experience should not find it difficult to gain employment. Employment is projected to grow 10% from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the national employment growth rate.

This growth is due to the increasing need away from the legal sector. There is a growing elderly population and court reporters specializing in Communication Access Real-Time Translation, or CART, will see an increasing need for their services. They will be responsible for helping their clients with everyday activities such as doctor consultations, meetings and other important appointments. It is also becoming more popular for television, stadiums and religious events to broadcast written words for people who have trouble with their hearing.

What is the Salary of a Court Reporter?

The salary of a court reporter can vary according to the field that they specialize in, as well as if they are freelance or full-time. Most court reporters in the legal context work full-time and they make a median annual wage of $52,983. The bottom 10% of earners make about $26,200 and the top 10% bring in $84,274.

Court reporters generally get paid for their time, but they are also allowed to sell their transcripts for a fee. The median hourly wage for a court reporter is $25, with $13 being in the lowest 10% of earnings and the top 10% got $41 an hour.

The best states to work in as a court reporter, with regards to pay, are as follows:

  • New York: $86,130
  • California: $78,220
  • Maine: $78,200
  • Colorado: $69,390
  • Kansas: $64,260

How To Become a Court Reporter

To become a court reporter a certificate or associate’s degree must be completed. Most schools and community colleges offer court reporting programs. Completion of these programs will permit most graduates to entry-level jobs.

These programs coach students to pass their written exam and typing speed tests that are a requirement in almost every state. The course focuses on English language and phonetics, as well as legal methodology and terms. Throughout the course students practice preparing transcripts to up their speed and accuracy.

Many programs also offer training in the different ways to transcribe spoken word. Students are taught how to use the various different machines such as a stenograph machines and masks, covered microphones, as well as oral and video recording machines.

In many states court reporters are required to get a license from a professional association. These associations will differ according to the machine that the court reporter intends to use for their work.

Court reporters, CART providers and broadcast captioners can get certified through the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). They will be accredited with a National Professional Reporter certificate after they complete a written as well as a skills test.

Court reporters using voice or digital machines can gain a Certified Electronic Reporter (CER) or a Certified Electronic Transcriber (CET) certificate from the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers. Both certificates require applicants to pass a written and skills test.

Schools Offering Court Reporter Programs

Sage College, California

Sage college is accredited by the NCRA and the Court Reporters Board, and it offers and excellent court reporter program. Students can choose to do a diploma or a degree, and there is the option of online and on campus training.

MacCormac College, Chicago

This college has the oldest court reporting program, and it offers students a 40 hour internship and weekly speed writing tests. Graduates leave with an Associate of Applied Science in Court Reporting.

John. A. Logan College

The best thing about this college is the options for different courses in court reporting. Students can choose between a 16-hour Certificate in Real-Time Captioning Technology and an Associate in Applied Science in Real-Time Captioning Technology, which takes 2 years to complete.

South Suburban College

This college offers students various different courses for court reporting, and they are able to choose between the following programs:

  • Court Reporting/Verbatim Technology Machine Shorthand Secretarial Certificate
  • Court Reporting/Verbatim Technology Certificate
  • Court Reporting/Verbatim Technology Basic Certificate

Court reporting is a job that has very good potential for future growth, and if you possess sharp listening and typing skills then it is an extremely feasible career to look at going into.