How 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. There are a number of things driving the demand for court reporters. One is the uptick in criminal and civil cases, all of which requiring people to record what is said and done during the proceedings. There is also a demand for people who can do captioning for broadcast and live television events. The coming requirement for Internet media to be captioned is also having a stimulatory effect on this profession.
To qualify for the best opportunities in the field, you will need to obtain a formal education, training, and/or credentials. Specializing in a particular field such as broadcast captioning, CART services, or webcasting is also a good idea. Here is more information about how you can become a court reporter.
What a Court Reporter Does
A court reporter records the dialogue and actions going on in a courtroom, boardroom, or (in the case of a television program) onscreen. Accuracy is critical, particularly for court cases. The transcripts from those cases will become a matter of official public record and play a large role in legal proceedings. For businesses, the notes recorded from meetings will be used to make critical decisions. Needless to say, having the right training is key to being successful in the field.
Education and Training Requirements
The level of education and training required depends heavily on the field of court reporting you want to enter. At minimum you will need one year of formal education to enter the field as a basic court reporter. For people who want to get into transcribing and electronic reporting, they will need on-the-job training. A real-time stenotypist for live action events requires at least 33 months of training.
More information about education and training:
- There are over 130 court reporter schools and programs
- The National Court Reporters Association has certified over 70 real-time and stenotype computer-aided transcription courses. People that graduate from these courses must type a minimum of 225 words per minute.
- Electronic court reporters can learn via on-the-job training, which typically consists of reading manuals, observations, and working with a trainer with experience in the field.
- Private firms may provide training by a reputable third party rather than require formal education through a school.
To be successful as a court reporter, you will need these additional skills:
- Above average hearing and listening capability
- Accurate typing skills at high rates of speed
- Knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar
- Ability to stay abreast of current laws and business practices
- Knowledge of legal and/or business terminology
- Knowledge of court procedures if you are working in a courtroom
- Ability to follow directions
Licensing and Credentials
Some states require court reporters to be licensed. Typically, this involves passing a state administered exam. However, some states allow court reporters to obtain credentials instead of licensing. These credentials are offered by the National Verbatim Reporters Association. They offer several certifications including Certificate of Merit, Real-Time Verbatim Reporter, and Certified Verbatim Reporter. Certain states may also require you to become a notary public.
Although not required, you can obtain additional certifications from other court reporter associations. An important one that many employers are requiring is the Registered Professional Reporter. Others that look very impressive on the resume include the Registered Merit Reporter, Certified Broadcast Captioner, and Certified CART Provider.
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....