A two-year associate's degree program in court and conference reporting provides training in the real-time generation of verbatim or near verbatim transcripts of audible speech. Students learn court procedures as well as the technical specifications and capabilities of stenography, computer-aided transcription, and voice writing equipment. The vast majority of schools only refer to their programs as court reporter programs. Graduates of such programs might earn professional credentials through the National Court Reporters Association.
Applicants to an associate's degree program need a GED or high school diploma. Some schools may require completion of introductory courses in court reporting or captioning before permitting enrollment in a program.
Associate's in Court and Conference Reporting Coursework
In addition to degree specific courses in medical and legal terminology, court reporting, and transcription, students complete general education components in math, communication, the arts or the social, physical, and behavioral sciences. Some topics in a court reporting program, such as machine shorthand, may be covered in multiple levels of courses. Typical courses include:
- Speed building
- Voice writing
- Machine shorthand
- Medical, legal, and technical terminology
- Court procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected employment of court reporters to grow 2% in the decade 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary of court reporters was $49,500 in 2015, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
The National Court Reporters Association offers several designations to court and conference reporters including Registered Professional Reporter, Registered Merit Reporter, and Registered Diplomate Reporter. Other designations include Certified Realtime Reporter and Certified Broadcast Reporter. To attain these certifications, a reporter must pass an exam demonstrating reporting and transcribing skills. Maintaining certification requires the completion of refresher courses. Federal court reporters can obtain the Federal Certified Realtime Reporter (FCRR) certification from the United States Court Reporters Association. To gain the FCRR designation, participants are required to demonstrate oral dictation skills and pass a written exam.
Over the duration of an associate's degree program in court and conference reporting, students gain the typing and machine shorthand skills required in court reporting. They can also prepare for professional certification exams.