Stenography Classes and Career Options

Stenography is a field that uses shorthand to record proceedings, such as trials and other legal proceedings. 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

While stenographic jobs are officially expected to grow, be certain that advances in technology might make the prospects of finding a good job in this career a difficult one sooner or later.

Responsibilities Recording legal proceedings or produce closed captioning for television
Courses Stenographic equipment, reporting techniques, typing, phonetic techniques, legal and medical terminology, shorthand, English grammar
Certification Registered Professional Reporter exam by the National Court Reporters Association available

What Is Stenography?

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 stenography among other types of court reporting techniques, such as electronic reporting and voice writing.

In these programs, you can learn how to use stenographic equipment and build your typing speed. Phonetic techniques, medical and legal terminology, shorthand and English grammar are typically covered. Your program may also prepare you for one of several professional certifications, including the Registered Professional Reporter.

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. The exam includes 105-110 questions; 100 are scored, the others are pretest questions. You will also be required to complete skill tests that measure your skill and accuracy in literacy, jury charge and testimony.

Membership renewals are required every three years. You may also be eligible for the Federal Certified Realtime Reporter (FCRR) Examination. The exam consists of five minutes of dictation from real, recorded federal proceedings. To sit for this exam, you must be a member of the United States Court Reporters Association.

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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