Court Reporter Training
Stenography has been around for thousands of years. In those years, the profession has been called many names. Today we call stenographers court reporters. Many in the legal community call them “guardians of the record” because of the nature of the work and the responsibility associated with creating accurate records of legal proceedings. No matter what they are called, there is no denying that court reporting is an essential job that can provide workers with significant amount of personal and financial reward.
How to Become a Court Reporter
Becoming a court reporter requires training. There are many schools that offer court reporting degrees which can be completed online, on campus, or a combination of both. Like other post-secondary schools, you are usually required to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent (GED) to enter the school. Getting into court reporting also requires a certain of persistence and dedication because of all of the skills you must develop to be successful in the field. These skills include listening, grammar and spelling, legal research, business communication, legal terminology and procedures, operating relevant computer programs, and typing speed.
Once you master the skills need to be an effective and efficient court reporter, you may be required to obtaining licensing or certification depending on which state you live in. Getting certified or licensed typically requires demonstrating your knowledge and skills by passing a test. In addition to certification, many states also require court reporters to become notary publics so they can swear in witnesses before collecting their testimony. If court reporting seems like a career that interests you and you are willing to put in the time and effort to obtain the skills needed to enter the profession, then take time to find a good school.
Stenographer Degrees and Certification
There are a variety of stenography degrees you can earn. The degree types range from certificate to master’s and you can specialize in one of several types of stenography. A sample of possible degrees includes an Associate in Judicial Reporting, Associate of Applied Science in Real-time Reporting, or a certificate in court reporting. Though the names of the degrees are different, the skills needed to do the various jobs are essentially the same.
It typically takes about two years to complete a court reporting degree. For those that want to get into the workplace quickly, there are accelerated programs that can be completed in 18 months or less. At the other end of the spectrum, you can take classes on a part-time basis and complete the degree in three to four years. The length of time it takes to finish a program is also affected by whether or not you obtain specialized training such as community access real-time translation (CART).
After completing your degree, it is advisable to pursue certification even if it is not required by the state. Many employers prefer to hire people that have credentials because the certifications confirm the person has achieved an acceptable level of education and skill. Credentials are offered by a few organizations including the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) and the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA). Some certifications are also offered through state licensing boards. It is worth researching the credential programs available and pursing at least one to give your resume a boost.
National Court Reporters Association
The NCRA awards one of the most recognized credentials for court reporters, the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). To obtain this certification, you must pass a four-part exam and maintain it through continuing education. Getting this credential is not required to work as a court reporter. However, it does add a certain amount of prestige and distinction to your resume.
Other certifications you can obtain through the NCRA include the Registered Merit Reporter, Certified Real-time Reporter, Registered Diplomate Reporter, Certified Broadcast Captioner, Certified Legal Video Specialist, and Certified CART Provider.
Some states will accept credentials earned from the NCRA in lieu of state licensure. However, other states require applicants to still pass the state exam. Passing the RPR is helpful in this situation because it satisfies some of the eligibility requirements for getting licensed by the state. Since speed is critical in the court reporting profession, applicants are frequently required to pass either state or national tests measuring their typing speeds.
National Verbatim Reporters Association
The NVRA focuses mostly on awarding credentials to voice reporters. The main credential the organization awards is the Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR). To obtain this certification, you must attend a workshop offered by the organization and pass a four-part exam that tests your knowledge, and diction and transcription speed. Other credentials you can earn through NVRA include the Certificate of Merit, Registered Broadcast Captioner, Real-time Verbatim Reporter, and Registered CART Provider.
In many areas, credentials earned through the NVRA are just as prestigious as those obtained from the NCRA. As voice reporting gains acceptance in the legal community, the credentials earned through the National Verbatim Reporters Association will be highly valued by all.
American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers
The AAERT (American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers) offers credentials in a sister profession called electronic court reporting. This job involves monitoring the recording of legal proceedings and making notations that will be used later to produce an accurate and complete transcription. Some of the certifications available include Certified Electronic Reporter, Certified Electronic Reporter and Transcriber, Certified Electronic Transcriber, and a variety of credentials for digital court reporting and transcribing. To earn these credentials, you must sit for practical and knowledge exams.
Going Beyond Court Reporting
The skills you develop as a court reporter can be used in other professions as well. You can find work as a broadcast captioner that creates the closed-captioning text for television programs and movies. There is a tremendous amount of work available in webcasting, which is translating Internet media to make it accessible for the hearing impaired. Many court reporters move into medical transcription and similar professions. Continuing education and earning additional credentials is an excellent way to develop skills and clout that will help you expand your career opportunities.
Court Reporter Salary
Did you know that some court reporters make up to $77,770 a year?
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....