Online court reporting diploma programs are available at a few for-profit schools. Courses and assignments can be completed fully online, but some programs include on-site practicums or apprenticeships that can provide students with hands-on experience at court trials, pre-trials, or depositions.
During an online program, students learn about computerized machine shorthand, real-time technologies, law and medical terminologies. Some programs provide preparatory courses for the National Court Reporters Association's Registered Professional Reporter Exam as part of their curriculum. Students in online court reporting programs will need access to special steno machines and CaseCATalyst software, which they may need to purchase.
Court Reporting Diploma
Online diploma programs prepare students for careers in court reporting by requiring only essential coursework. An aspiring court reporter that would like a more comprehensive education that includes general education may opt to enter an associate's degree program.
Courses teach students how to type out verbatim oral statements at high speeds. The National Court Reporting Association requires these court reporters to be able to type at least 225 words per minute. The online diploma programs help students to develop these skills using the stenotype and other forms of computer technology needed to do their job. A stenotype is a machine with buttons that stand for certain phrases, words or sounds, rather than just letters. Court reporters program the stenotype before transcription according to common vocabulary and correct grammar.
Program Information and Requirements
Students may be able to complete such an online program in a little under a year to about two and a half years, depending on their enrollment status. Although coursework can be taken online in a virtual classroom management system, some schools may require students to complete examinations on campus. Practicum or apprenticeship experiences are also commonly required.
Students in online programs need access to a computer with a reliable, high-speed Internet connection. A word processor, sound card, video graphics card, stenotype machine, voice chat software, and headphones are often required. The career-specific software CaseCATalsyt may need to be purchased. While some schools may offer students help in obtaining a steno machine or even provide free machines, other schools require students to purchase this equipment on their own.
List of Common Court Reporting Courses
Beyond transcription abilities, online diploma coursework supports students' development of solid English grammar and communication, computer skills and understanding of court procedures.
The course teaches students how to use computer technology to record language as it's being spoken. Students improve their speed and accuracy in transcribing testimony as it occurs.
Students study the origins of words and word parts as they relate to medical terms used today. Covering Latin and Greek roots, prefixes, suffixes and more, students learn the medical terminology used in reference to human anatomy and medical conditions. Since health issues are commonly resolved in the court, this is essential court reporter knowledge.
Court Reporting Procedures
This course covers the legal requirements, responsibilities and processes involved in working as a courtroom reporter. Students memorize legal terms and learn the differences between types of courtroom events, such as hearings, statements and trials.
Career Information for Graduates
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for qualified court reporters is high, particularly in rural or large urban areas. Based on BLS data from 2015, court reporters earned an average annual wage of $54,720.
Employment opportunities exist outside the courtroom for graduates of court reporting programs. Companies and organizations need meetings and other professional events transcribed as well. Some court reporters also use their skills in other government agencies or for television broadcasts.
Licensure and Certification Information
Graduates must find out if their state requires licensure to work as a court reporter and take appropriate measure to earn this status. They may also seek certification from the National Court Reporters Association or the National Verbatim Reporters Association. Written and transcription examinations are required to earn these credentials. These exams are conducted at various testing sites around the country.
Online court reporting diploma programs teach students skills needed to work as court reporters, such as high-speed typing and how to use the technology required for the job. Licensure and certification may be required to work in the field.