To become a court reporter, you will need to complete a training program, which may lead to a degree, and receive on-the-job training. In some states, you may need a license or certification. Court reporters need to be able to record and type with speed and accuracy.
Court reporters listen to and document legal proceedings and other events. They use reporting equipment like stenotypes to accurately record a high number of words per minute. Aspiring court reporters typically need to complete a court reporting program that leads to a certificate or associate's degree; on-the-job training is also required. Depending on the state where the court reporter works, licensure or certification may also be required. Qualifying for licensure or certification usually requires passing exams and skills tests, which require individuals to be able to type quickly and accurately.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate's degree in court reporting; additional on-the-job training|
|Other Requirements||State licensure or certification|
|Projected Job Growth||2% from 2014-2024*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$49,500 annually*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), during the decade between 2014 and 2024, job openings for court reporters are expected to increase by 2%, which is slower than the average. This growth is affected partially by new federal laws mandating that television programs and real-time broadcasts be captioned for the hearing-impaired.
Court reporters record everything that is said during trials and other public meetings. The majority of reporters use stenotypes, a special kind of typewriter that allows workers to type out words phonetically instead of including every letter and punctuation mark. After typing the transcripts into the stenotype, computer programs translate the stenotype code into actual words. Court reporters are responsible for verifying that transcripts are free of errors.
Some court reporters use other equipment, such as voice recognition software. Through a technique called voice writing, court reporters can use specialized equipment that allows them to verbally dictate the court proceedings. To minimize the disturbance during voice writing, the microphone equipment has a specialized mask that creates a sound barrier around the court reporter's mouth.
As of May 2015, the BLS reported that the annual median salary for court reporters was $49,500. Data from the same year showed that court reporters working for state government agencies earned a mean salary of $59,340 per year, the highest salary among all industries. Other top-paying industries for this career included local and the federal governments, with mean salaries of $57,320 and $56,480 per year, respectively.
According to the BLS's May 2015 salary statistics, the states that paid the highest annual salaries were New York ($89,560 per year mean salary) and Colorado ($78,670 per year mean salary). Data from the BLS showed that court reporters working in the New York City-New Jersey metropolitan area earned a mean salary of $90,160 per year, the highest reported annual mean salary of all metro areas.
Court reporters record everything that is said during trials and meetings, and they must record or type it quickly and accurately. They use equipment such as a stenotype or voice recording software, and they typically hold a degree from a training program. Job opportunities for court reporters are expected to only increase by 2% through the year 2024.