Court Reporting School
Get in on the courtroom action
Court reporters have the job of transcribing everything that's said in a courtroom by the participants in a legal trial, so that it may be referenced at a later time.
Court reporting is an in-demand job, and as a result, positions are reasonably easy to find. If you have excellent language and keyboarding skills and an interest in courtroom life, you may be able to find a lucrative career as a court reporter. The skills that are necessary to perform the job include:
- Quick and accurate typing
- Excellent listening skills
- Strong knowledge of English vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
- Some understanding of legal terminology
There are various levels of court reporting qualification that can be achieved, depending on what type of job you hope to get. For example, a voice writer can require less than a year of schooling. On the other hand, training as a stenotypist can take as long as three years. Most court reporters attend a two or four-year college degree program.
You can receive training from any of about 160 postsecondary vocational and technical institutes in the United States. Of these, around 80 offer programs approved by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). Some offer online courses.
You'll be required to capture 225 words per minute in order to graduate from any NCRA-approved school. Depending on the school and program, graduates receive a specialized certificate, an Associate's degree or a Bachelor's degree.
Some states demand that court reporters be notary publics (which means that they are authorized to administer oaths). Still others require a designation called the Certified Court Reporter (CCR).
There are currently just under 20,000 court reporters employed in the United States. Most of them are employed by local and state governments, while others work with private agencies - in the latter instance, duties may include recording testimony in cases such as child custody, or other matters that are outside the jurisdiction of traditional legal courts. Some court reporters are self-employed.
Court reporters are paid quite well, earning a median salary of $43,000. The highest earners in this field (those working for the Supreme Court and other high courts) bring in over $100,000 per year.