School and Ranking Information
Students who want to earn a court reporting certificate or degree can choose from about three schools within a 100-mile radius of the downtown Houston area. Based on rankings and program offerings, the top schools are Alvin Community College, Mark Kislingsbury's Academy of Court Reporting, and the Realtime Academy of Court Reporting. Alvin Community College is the only public school on this list, but all three of the schools have court reporting programs that are approved by the state of Texas.
- Winner: Alvin Community College takes first place on this list for its low tuition and variety of court reporter program options. It is also the only school on the list that meets the minimum standards for education according to the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). Receiving certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) from the NCRA may improve a candidate's chances of employment. The school offers a certificate and an associate's degree program.
- Runner Up #1: Mark Kislingsbury's Academy of Court Reporting is a for-profit school located right in Houston and offers the lowest tuition among the two for-profit schools. It offers a certificate program that can be completed in about two years.
- Runner Up #2: Also located in Houston, Realtime Academy of Court Reporting offers a training program that includes an internship but also has the highest tuition among schools on this list. This for-profit school offers a 3-year certificate program.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Alvin Community College||Mark Kislingbury's Academy of Court Reporting||The Realtime Academy of Court Reporting|
|Location||Alvin, TX (25 miles from Houston)||Houston, TX||Houston, TX|
|School Type||2-year, public||Private, for-profit||Private, for-profit|
|Tuition & Fees|| $1,432 (in-district);
$3,544 (out-of-state) for 2012-13 school year*
|$12,000 for 2-year program duration**||$19,005 for 3-year program duration***|
|Court Reporting Degree Levels Offered||Certificate and associate degree||Certificate||Certificate|
|Court Reporting Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||29*||N/A||N/A|
|Most Popular Court Reporting Degree Program 2011-2012||<1-year certificate (18 awarded)*||N/A||N/A|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2009 Entering Class||12%*||N/A||N/A|
|Noteworthy||Internships connect students with professional court reporters||School founder holds a Guinness World Record for typing quickly and accurately||Faculty represent professional court reporters with years of experience|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Mark Kislingbury's Academy of Court Reporting, ***The Realtime Academy of Court Reporting.
Winner: Alvin Community College
- School offers career services and job placement to help students transition into jobs
- On-campus tutoring and learning lab so students can succeed academically
- Students take mock certification exams to help prepare for the real-life court reporter test
- Degree programs teach students about the judicial process and courtroom experience
Students who enroll at this public school can choose from an Associate of Applied Science in Court Reporting, a Court Reporting Enhanced Skills Certificate (Captioning), a Court Reporting Certificate, and a Court Reporting Scopist Certificate. For the associate degree, students must complete up to 73 credits of coursework that covers legal terminology, medical reporting, court reporting procedures, and machine shorthand. The certificate programs can generally be completed in a shorter amount. For instance, the Court Reporting Certificate involves 57 credits. Courses largely focus on machine shorthand, dictation, and speed building. Internships are a common requirement among all the court reporting programs, because they allow students to connect with professional court reporters and gain on-the-job training.
Runner-up (Tied): Mark Kislingbury's Academy of Court Reporting
- Distance education option for students who live outside of Texas
- Program focuses on writing short (by using the fewest keystrokes possible) and writing quickly
- Students learn skills in reading back court testimonies
- Training can be completed in about 2 years
This private, for-profit academy offers a unique curriculum for students who want to become court reporters. The academy's focus is on teaching students how to reduce their keystrokes and move their fingers faster to improve their pace and accuracy as court reporters. Once students learn about court reporting procedures, it's likely that they'll take part in an internship to gain professional experience. Courses cover medical terminology, machine shorthand, court reporting punctuation, speed building, and court reporting technologies. Students can also gain training to pass any certification tests that are required by states across the country.
Runner-up (Tied): The Realtime Academy of Court Reporting
- Students take part in an orientation to learn about school procedures and the court reporting career
- Academy trains students for careers as deposition reporters, transcript reporters, and closed captioners
- Internship gives students practical experience as court reporters
- Students learn court reporting software to help improve typing and accuracy
Students who complete this private, for-profit school's court reporting training receive a Certificate of Completion. The program typically takes 3 years to complete, and students take 136.5 credits worth of classes. Among the classes are speed building, terminology, keyboarding, transcription, shorthand, and courtroom procedures. Along with receiving the training to become a court reporter, students are likely to become familiar with the judicial process and the role of a court reporter in the courtroom. There are also separate certificate programs for students who want to solely focus on captioning.