Should I Become a Court Typist?
Court typists, more commonly referred to as court reporters, record spoken words during legal proceedings. They use stenotype machines to create the transcriptions of lawyers, judges, and witnesses. Transcripts are considered the legal record of the proceedings. Although many are employed by governments, some are self-employed and have more flexibility in their work schedules.
Prospective court reporters must complete a formal training program to learn how to use a stenotype machine and to practice typing for speed and accuracy. In many states, these individuals will also need to obtain licensure or certification. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported court reporters earned a median annual salary of $49,500 in 2015.
|Degree Level||Varies; associate's degree programs are most common|
|Degree Field||Court reporting, transcription, or similar program|
|Experience||Entry-level; no experience required|
|Certification/Licensure||Many states require licensure or certification; requirements vary by type of court reporting method|
|Key Skills||Excellent listening, writing, typing, and concentration skills; familiarity with digital recording equipment, steno mask, stenotype machine, and/or Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) techniques|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps to Become a Court Typist
Let's find out what steps you'll need to take to become a court typist.
Step 1: Enroll in a Court Reporting Program
You'll find both certificate and associate's degree programs with core court reporting courses. You will also have to complete general education requirements in an associate's degree program. Courses in certificate and degree programs include machine shorthand theory, court transcription, and court reporting techniques. These courses also give you several opportunities to improve you stenotype machine skills.
Focus on improving speed and accuracy. To graduate from a program and obtain employment, certain speed and accuracy requirements must be met, and while in school, you should continue to strive to improve you abilities. You need to meet words per minute (WPM) and accuracy requirements for any position. If you are struggling to meet these requirements, working with the professor or other students outside of class is beneficial.
Step 2: Complete an Internship
You may have an opportunity to complete an internship either during your program or after you graduate. An internship will allow you to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a professional setting. The program also lets you work under the supervision of an experienced court reporter and produce a certain number of transcript pages.
Consider the internship location. Court typists work in many different environments. For example, those looking to work in jury trials should intern at a courthouse. However, to record depositions, you'd consider interning with a law firm.
Step 3: Obtain Certification or Licensure for Career Advancement
States will require court reporters obtain certification or licensure to work in the field. While some states have their own licensing exams, there are some states that accept the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) designation from the National Court Reporters Association. In order to earn this designation, individuals will need to pass a written and skills test.
To become a court typist, you'll need an associate's degree and should gain experience to improve your basic skills.