Court Stenography Programs & Training

Learn about court stenographers, what they do, and whether that career is a good fit for you. Discover the education and training needed, in addition to the programs available to help reach that goal. Schools offering Legal Transcriptionist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career at a Glance

Court stenographers, also known as court reporters, are individuals who create transcriptions of the events that take place within a court of law, from criminal trials to civil lawsuits and other legal procedures. Stenographers play an important role within the court, since an accurate record of the events of the proceeding are necessary for both the judge and the lawyers participating. The following table offers more details.

Education Required Associate's degree or certificate
Education Field of Study Court reporting
Key Skills Accuracy, typing ability, strong focus and concentration
Licensure Required Varies by state
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 3% (court reporters)
Median Salary (2017)* $55,120 (court reporters)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind Of Training Is Needed To Become A Court Stenographer?

A certificate in court reporting can be obtained from many community colleges, and some even offer a two year associate's degree program. These programs focus heavily on the English grammar and spelling, to ensure clear and legible transcripts, as well as typing. Students studying to become court reporters will also need to take classes on basic legal terms and how law proceedings work, both of which help the stenographer to keep up with the flow of the trial and understand what's happening as they record. After completion of the degree, training in the courtroom will typically be required for a few weeks to develop familiarity with the particular equipment they will be expected to use.

What Certifications and Licenses Should A Court Stenographer Hold?

Certification requirements vary by state, but there are several organizations that offer widely accepted certifications. The National Court Reporter's Association (NCRA) offers certifications in many states, most commonly the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), the basic level needed to work as a stenographer. Alternatively, the National Verbatim Reporter's Association (NVRA) offers several certifications, including the Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR), and is accepted in many states and the District of Columbia.

The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) also offers two certifications, the Certified Electronic Reporter (CER) and Transcriber (CET), which may be valid in limited locations, but can be used to demonstrate skill level and achieve pay raises anywhere in the country. All certifications require continuing education or recertification on a two to three year basis.

What Employment Options Exist for Court Stenographers?

Court stenographers can work for state governments, in the courtroom alongside the judge and bailiff, recording the proceedings as they occur each day. They might also be able to work in federal courts, or in military courts. Some law firms will hire court reporters for their staff to transcribe depositions, meetings, etc. Freelance court reporters also exist, often working for smaller law firms on an as-needed basis. Court reporters may also work for television stations or newsrooms, providing a transcription directly to them, which can be used for closed captioning or as part of a story.

How Well Are Court Stenographers Paid?

The median annual income for court reporters in 2017 was $55,120, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those whose income fell in the bottom ten percent brought home less than $26,160, while stenographers in the ninetieth percentile or above made $100,270. Pay may be influenced by experience, as well as what certifications are held. Freelance court reporters are often able to determine their own hours and may work less than full time.

What Are Some Similar Careers?

Some of the aforementioned certifications are applicable to other jobs that require the ability to quickly take down what is being said during a live event, such as closed captioning for news or sports programs, typically called broadcast captioning. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is a technology used to aid the deaf or hearing impaired, wherein the spoken word is recorded and displayed to the deaf individual in the form of text. It shares some certifications as well, and offers a more personal connection than the detached recordings of a stenographer, since they will be helping a small number of people face to face. Medical transcriptionist is an equivalent position in the healthcare industry, which involves transcribing and interpreting recordings made by doctors as they describe the conditions of patients.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Post University

    Post University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Post University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • New England College

    New England College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at New England College:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »