Court Reporter Salary
One of the most important jobs in the courtroom belongs to the court reporter. They are an integral part of the judicial system because they produce permanent records of court proceedings. In short, a court reporter records verbatim the conversations that take place in a courtroom (or other meeting place) and then produces an accurate written account that becomes part of the official public record.
Many times court reporters must record events that occur prior to and after legal proceedings (e.g. a meeting in the judges chambers). The duties of a court reporter also include helping judges, attorneys and other legal personnel with searching for and obtaining information from existing records, and assisting with courtroom procedure and administration. If there are hearing-impaired people in the courtroom, the court reporter is responsible for translating the information so the person can understand what is going on.
Because of the way they are designed, court reporters are tasked with maintaining the dictionary installed on the machine. They must update the computer program with new words and names so it can properly translate the keystrokes or voice files into readable text. Another duty of court reporters is to create procedures for storing and retrieving data from the archives whether they are voice files, audio recordings, or stenographic notes. This is to ensure that the transcripts are easy to find and do not get lost.
After recording the raw data, a court reporter must go back and convert that stenographic text to grammatically-correct English. The document should accurately reflect what occurred in the courtroom (or other meeting) and contain no spelling errors. The names of people and places should be correct and the transcript as a whole should be readable. As the official transcript, this document will be used in a variety of ways. It is important that you submit the most correct version to the court and relevant parties.
Court Reporter Wages
There are a number of factors that influence how much you will be paid as a court reporter. These factors include your level of education, credentials obtained, and employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average wage for court reporters was $45,610 in 2006. The highest 10% made $77,770 and the lowest 10% made $23,430 annually. Court reporters that held jobs with the local government averaged $45,080 while those working for corporations made $41,720.
Although most court reporters are paid a salary, they may also be paid by the page completed. Typically, official government court reporters are paid this way in addition to their salaries and freelance court reporters are paid by the page instead of a salary.
Job Outlook for Court Reporters
The BLS reports that about 19,000 people held court reporter jobs in 2006. Approximately 50% of them worked for the local, state, and federal government in courthouses and legislative offices. About 42% worked for court reporting agencies while about 8% were self-employed. Job opportunities for court reporters are expected to grow 25% by the year 2016. There will be an increasing demand for people with training and/or experience in real-time broadcasting and translating.
Fueling this growth is the increasing number of civil and criminal cases flowing through the U.S. court system. Due to budget constraints, however, the number of government workers may be limited. Luckily people in this career can also find employment in the private sector with corporations and captioning agencies. People with a formal education that terminates in a degree (associate’s, bachelor’s), credentials, and specializing in broadcast captioning, CART, or webcasting will do the best in this field.
Want To Become A Court Reporter?
if you have ever wanted to start a career as a court reporter, now is the time to do it. Job opportunities for court reporters are slated to increase 25% by 2016, and it has become one of the fastest growing professions....