Court Reporting

Court reporting is a lucrative career option and there are a variety of courses that offer this program. Learn more about the career opportunities and course specifications of court reporting by reading on.

A court reporter is a trained official present during legal proceedings such as court hearings and depositions. The main task of a court reporter is to transcribe the proceedings – everything that is said as part of the court work – to create an official record. However, the legal arena is not the only one that relies on court reporters – business service providers and large corporations are also major employers of trained court reporting personnel. In fact, any event where an accurate transcript is required will utilize the services of a court reporter.

Speech transcription, gesture and action record-keeping, editing of record for errors and spelling mistakes, and ensuring records are filed according to procedures are some of the main duties of a court reporter.

A Closer Look
A career in court reporting requires a lot of patience. Legal proceedings, government meetings, and business negotiations are the main work environments where court reporters can be found, and as you probably know, these can often go on for hours without breaks. The ability to focus intensely, without getting distracted or bored, is another vital characteristic that will benefit anyone wishing to embark upon this career.
Other skills such as typing and shorthand are essential to this field, but those are something you’ll pick up during a college course. However, don’t underestimate the importance of good hearing – a court reporter’s main task is to transcribe whatever is being said as part of the legal proceedings, so a powerful hearing is indeed an asset.

Court reporters can also be found in the private sector. As a trained court reporter, you’ll be experienced at transcribing speech into written form. This skill also translates well to medical transcription and providing closed captioning dialogue.

Course Information
There are a range of certificate courses and Associate’s degrees that prepare you for a court reporting career. As this vocation is closely allied to stenography, the skills you’ll pick up will be similar. Some study areas your course might cover include:

  • Typing skills
  • Using a stenotype machine
  • Using new technology such as Communication Access Real-Time Translation
  • Language skills
  • Court procedures and rules
  • Legal (and other) terminology
  • Ethical issues

There are also several organizations that offer training and certification assistance for court reporters like the National Court Reporters’ Association, the American Association of Electronic Reporters & Transcribers, and the National Verbatim Reporters Association.

Career Prospects
According to the Department of Labor, state governments are the biggest employers of court reporters. Close on the heels of the public sector are business service providers. Allied fields such as business outsourcing (which includes medical transcription) are also popular destinations for trained court reporters. Court reporters can also find work in the medical industry – assisting deaf people or the elderly – or in the entertainment industry – proving close captioning dialogue. Knowing other languages is also a major bonus for a court reporter as it might be possible to make a transition to a career as an interpreter or translator.

As far as the financial aspect goes, court reporters earn a median pay higher than the average, while many also freelance with business service providers or healthcare providers.