Online Court Reporting Degrees and Training Programs

Dec 03, 2019

Essential Information

Only a few schools offer online certificate and associate's degree programs in court reporting, and those programs may require an in-person internship in addition to the online courses. Some programs are fully online and some are hybrids, combining distance learning and on-campus classes. Certificates and associate's degrees are the most common means of training for this career.

Courses in both types of programs include managing the technology used in court reporting, building typing speed and developing vocabulary. The courses are not limited to court reporting, but cover skills needed in other related careers, such as closed captioning for television or medical transcription. Online students will need a shorthand machine and transcription software.

Certificate in Court Reporting

A formal training program in court reporting will develop the typing, communication and interpersonal skills required for this career. In most cases, only a high school diploma is required to begin a certificate program in court reporting. Students completing a program in court reporting lasting less than two years are commonly awarded a diploma or a Certificate of Completion.

Program Information and Requirements

An online court reporting certificate program can generally be completed in one year or less. In addition to basic technical requirements such as a high-speed Internet connection and e-mail accessibility, students might be required to purchase necessary equipment. This can include a computerized shorthand machine and computer-aided transcription software.

Common Online Court Reporting Courses

An online court reporting certificate program exposes students to typing, shorthand, machine transcription and real-time court reporting. The curriculum for some programs might include courses in medical terminology, courtroom procedures and grammar.

Machine Shorthand

Basic and advanced machine shorthand courses teach students dictation and transcription skills. Shorthand theory is also discussed.

Real-time Reporting

Computer-aided technology relating to court reporting is studied in these types of courses. Topics addressed might include captioning, closed-captioning and how a real-time transcription system works.


These courses continue to develop the typing skills needed to become a court reporter. Advanced speed-building courses prepare students to type the 120-130 words-per-minute required for court reporters.

Career Information

Court reporting is a growing field, due largely to electronic and voice or real-time reporting. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected employment growth for court reporters to be 7% between 2018-2028. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for court reporters was $57,150 in 2018.

Associate's Degree in Court Reporting

Individuals are not required to possess a certificate in court reporting as a prerequisite to entering an online associate's degree program. A 2-year program in court reporting most commonly results in an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science. Some schools might award an Associate of Applied Business.

Program Information and Requirements

Some online court reporting degree programs can be completed in about six semesters, though this can be dependent on a student's ability to acquire the typing speed needed to become a court reporter. As with online court reporting certificate programs, courses are offered entirely online or in a hybrid format.

Common Online Court Reporting Courses

Program coursework leading to an online associate's degree in court reporting includes dictation, real-time reporting, real-time theory, court reporting terminology, court procedures and machine shorthand. General education requirements in humanities, social science, physical science, math and fine arts typically need to be satisfied to obtain an associate's degree in court reporting.

Real-time Writing Theory

Students develop speed and accuracy relating to real-time transcription of the spoken word in these theory courses. Timed transcription exercises using online computer-aided technology are generally included.

Court Reporting Procedures

Procedures relating to both criminal and civil courtroom proceedings are discussed in these courses. Topics addressed might include depositions, transcript formatting, legal documents, exhibits and indexing.

Court Reporting Terminology

Students learn medical, technical and legal terms they are likely to hear and use in courtroom settings. In some programs, students learn terminology by using materials from real-world courtroom proceedings.

Continuing Education Information

While not required, certification in this field can often help in career advancement. Voluntary certifications are offered by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the United States Court Reporters Association and the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers. Eligible applicants must pass an examination in order to become certified.

Continuing education requirements must be met in order to maintain some certifications. The NCRA offers online distance-learning seminars for credentialed court reporters seeking to satisfy continuing education requirements. In addition, some states require that court reporters be licensed.

Aspiring court reporters can study terminology, procedures and machine shorthand through fully online certificate or associate's degree programs in the field. Graduates may wish to earn voluntary certifications to advance their careers, which may include continuing education requirements.

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