Stenography Classes and Career Options

Stenography, or court reporting, is a field that uses various devices to record proceedings word-for-word, such as trials and other legal events. Read on to learn about the field, training requirements and certification. Schools offering Legal Transcriptionist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Stenography, or court reporting, involves the taking of notes to record legal proceedings in arbitrations and trials or in creating the on-screen captions on television programs. Some of the classes stenographers take include a review of the English language, the specific legal and medical terminology used on the job and different reporting techniques. While stenographic jobs are officially expected to grow, advances in technology and budgetary restraints may negatively affect employment opportunities.

Responsibilities Recording legal proceedings, producing closed captioning for television, transcribing events or speeches
Courses Voice theory, law, Word, punctuation/grammar, proofreading, computer usage
Certification Registered Professional Reporter exam by the National Court Reporters Association available, in addition to several others
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 3% (court reporters)
2017 Median Salary $55,120 (court reporters)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Career in Stenography Look Like?

Stenography is one of the techniques used to record government and legal proceedings. As a stenographer, you would take notes not only for trials, but for depositions, arbitrations and other legal proceedings. You may also work outside the courtroom for speeches, press conferences or government hearings. Some stenographers work with television companies to produce closed captioning.

You would take notes in shorthand on a stenographic keyboard, and a computer immediately translates them (called computer aided-transcription). You then proofread the translated document before entering it into the official record. Typing skills and a knowledge of legal terminology and procedures are important.

What Kind of Training Would I Need?

You can find schools that specialize in stenography training, or you can take stenography courses at a community or technical college. Court reporting programs may include such related stenography concepts as:

  • Court reporting techniques, such as electronic reporting and voice writing
  • Using stenographic equipment
  • Building your typing speed
  • Phonetic techniques
  • Legal and medical terminology
  • Shorthand
  • English grammar

What Certifications Are Available?

As a stenographer, you are eligible to sit for the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) exam offered by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). Many states accept this national certification in place of a state-specific licensing exam. Various certifications related to this field may also be earned through the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) and the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA). Earning any of these certifications will include passing a written test and one that checks your skills for accuracy. Certification renewals will require a set number of continuing education credits.

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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