Court reporters are responsible for putting together transcriptions related to court cases and proceedings. Training can take two years or less. To learn more about the job prospects and about what the academic programs entail, continue reading.
Court reporters assist judges and attorneys by creating transcripts of speeches, legal proceedings and conversations during meetings and judicial proceedings. They use several methods to record these conversations, including voice writing, stenography and electronic reporting. In addition to recording what people are saying, you may also need to describe their hand movements and emotional reactions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most court reporters work in courtrooms, but others work for medical offices or businesses to transcribe sales meetings or press conferences (www.bls.gov). You should be aware of the possibility that you could develop carpal tunnel syndrome or suffer from back, neck and wrist strain because you'll be sitting for many hours at a time.
To succeed as a court reporter, you must have superb vocabulary, punctuation and grammar skills. You must be a good listener, have excellent concentration and be able to meet tight deadlines. You must also need to understand legal and medical terminology.
The BLS reported that approximately 21,200 individuals worked as court reporters in 2012 and projected that between 2012 and 2022, the employment of court reporters would increase by 10%, which is considered average growth compared to all occupations. As of May 2013, the median annual salary for court reporters was $49,560, according to the BLS.
To become a court reporter, you can complete a 1-year certificate program in court reporting or a 2-year associate's degree program in court reporting or judicial reporting. You'll learn the skills necessary for job success and gain real-world experience through an internship. Many accredited schools offer court reporter training.
The court reporting programs include a series of labs and lectures. Through labs, you'll learn how to use the stenography and voice recording equipment. Lectures aid by covering shorthand skills, medical terminology, legal terminology, dictation techniques, vocabulary development and advanced punctuation. Other court reporting courses address court proceedings, civil and criminal law, and the most efficient speed and accuracy on the court reporting equipment.
Before you begin working, you may need to pass a state licensure exam. According to the NCRA, to earn certification as a court reporter, you must complete both written and skills tests (www.ncra.org). These involve answering questions related to court reporting and demonstrating that you can meet speed and accuracy requirements. Certification demonstrates your commitment to the field and can be a positive way to highlight your skills.