Though you might think that with the preponderance of recording devices in circulation today, there would hardly be a need for a live court reporter. Even though employment opportunities are projected to increase at a very slow pace, they are increasing. With an associate's degree or postsecondary certificate and certification, you may be qualified for work as a court reporter.
Court reporters produce verbatim reports of court proceedings, meetings and other spoken-word events. They're generally required to earn a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree in court reporting. Licensure or certification is required in some states, particularly for court reporters who work in a legal setting. On-the-job training is also often required.
|Required Education||Postsecondary certificate or an associate's degree in court reporting usually required|
|Other Requirements||Certification or licensure required in some states; on-the-job training is often necessary|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||2% for court reporters|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$49,500 annually for court reporters|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Court reporters can use letter combinations on a stenotype machine to represent words, sounds or phrases during court proceedings, or they can utilize computer-aided transcription tools. Court reporters may also be hired to record the proceedings of company board meetings or conventions. Some choose to work for cable stations and television networks to create closed captioning of television programs for hearing-impaired audiences. Others are freelance reporters.
Court reporters who work in legal settings may be subject to state licensing requirements. Requirements can vary by state; however, sitting for an exam is common. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in some states, earning voluntary Registered Professional Reporter certification through the National Court Reporters Association may be acceptable.
There are numerous voluntary certification options open to court reporters depending on their area of expertise and interest. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) offers the following certifications:
- Registered Professional Reporter
- Registered Merit Reporter
- Registered Diplomate Reporter
- Certified Realtime Reporter
- Certified Broadcast Captioner
- Certified CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) Provider
- Certified Legal Video Specialist
- Certified Reporting Instructor
- Master Certified Reporting Instructor
- Certified Program Evaluator
Membership in NCRA and a minimum number of continuing education hours are required for certification renewal.
Salary and Career Outlook
According to a 2015 BLS report, court reporters were expected to see 2% growth in job openings between 2014 and 2024. The agency also reported that court reporters earned a median annual salary of $49,500 as of May 2015. The highest employment of court reporters was found in business support services and state and local governments.
You may be able to secure a job as a court reporter with a postsecondary certificate or an associate's degree. In some states, on-the-job training is required, as is licensure and/or certification. As a court reporter, you may be able to secure employment with independent companies, businesses or corporations, television networks, cable stations and more.