Court Reporter Certificate and Training Programs

Court reporters need quick fingers and a finely tuned ear to record, word-for-word, courtroom proceedings. Learn about training programs in court reporting, as well as salary and job outlook info. Schools offering Legal Transcriptionist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Court Reporting?

Court reporting is the process of writing verbatim transcripts of courtroom proceedings, although court reporting may also be employed during speeches, legal proceedings, business meetings or any other event for which a written account could be useful. Court reporters may use many different methods of reporting. One common method is stenography, which uses a special machine called a stenograph, allowing a court reporter to hit multiple keys at the same time to record phonetic combinations. Another method uses audio recording equipment to create transcripts. Additionally, some court reporters use a voice recording technique. After information is recorded, professionals in this field are usually responsible for creating a finished transcript.

Licensure and certification requirements vary by state, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In some states, court reporters must also be notary publics. Additionally, you can earn certifications through the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) that can help further your career, reported the BLS. The NCRA also certifies individual court reporting study programs.

Licensure Varies by state, but certification or licensure may be required
Program LevelsAssociate's degree, certificate, diploma
Common CoursesMachine theory, legal terminology, business English, machine shorthand, medical terminology
Median Salary (2015)$49,500 (for court reporters)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Degree Do I Need?

If you want to be a court reporter, you typically need an associate's degree; however, you could also earn a diploma or undergraduate certificate in the field. Certificate programs are often geared towards students who have already completed some education, though specific requirements vary by program. Associate's degree programs in court reporting are 2-year courses of study that are available on campus and online. Online classes may be administered using virtual classroom software, which could include Internet-based discussion forums and online exams.

What Classes Could I Take?

Coursework in court reporting associate's degree programs trains you in industry-standard court-reporting techniques and technology. You could learn about stenography, professional communication and transcription. You could also learn about the structure of courtroom proceedings. The following are examples of classes common to these programs:

  • Machine shorthand
  • Medical terminology
  • Composition and rhetoric
  • Business English
  • Machine theory
  • Legal terminology

Diploma programs cover much of the same material as associate's degree programs, but they take less time to complete and require fewer general education courses. If you're looking for a certificate program, your courses build on prior education and give you skills in machine shorthand and court transcriptions. Practicums are often included in these programs, giving you an up-close look at court proceedings and court reporting duties.

What Is the Job Outlook and Pay?

According to the BLS, court reporters earned a median annual salary of $49,500 as of May 2015. Additionally, the BLS reported a below-average expected employment growth rate of 2% between 2014 and 2024, due mostly to budgeting constraints and increased use of digital audio recording technology.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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