How to Become a Court Reporter Online

Nov 18, 2019

Court reporters are responsible for creating verbatim transcriptions during legal proceedings such as trials, hearings, and depositions. Below you will find information about the profession of court reporting as well as steps for becoming a court reporter online.

Court Reporter Career Information

Court reporters attend trials, depositions, hearings, or any other legal event that requires a verbatim account, and generate word-for-word transcripts of these proceedings. Court reporters also have to read back any information requested by the judge. They might also be tasked with recording the dialogue with auditory or video equipment, organizing and distributing transcriptions to the parties involved, and providing an accurate description of the legal proceedings. Becoming a court reporter online is relatively easy, though some steps require in-person training or testing.

Required Skills Concentration, Eye for Detail, Listening Skills, Writing Skills
Job Growth 7% for 2018-2028*
Median Salary (2018) $57,150 per year*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps for Becoming a Court Reporter Online

Because becoming a court reporter often requires training and certification, becoming a court reporter online can be comparatively more difficult than careers that do not require such credentialing. That said, all of the following steps can be completed online except for the final certification test, depending on the state.

Step 1: Complete an Education

Typically, a bachelor's degree is not required to become a court reporter. However, most court reporters do need to have completed some form of postsecondary education or certification. Many community colleges and technical institutes offer postsecondary court reporting programs, but many schools and organizations offer these programs online. The National Court Reporters Association offers a list of approved court reporting programs, and many of these programs are available partially or entirely online. Those wishing to meet this education requirement online, therefore, need only to select an NCRA-approved online program.

Most of these programs are Associate's in Applied Sciences degrees (AAS). They typically include instruction on grammar, legal concepts and terminology, and increasing the efficiency and accuracy of your transcription abilities. They may also include instruction on various machines commonly used in court reporting, such as stenotype machines. These AAS degree programs can be around 60 credit hours and take about four semesters. However, even the programs listed on the NCRA-approved list as being online might have in-person requirements such as internships and proctored tests.

Step 2: Practice and Refine Skills

Refining your skills is a vital step toward making yourself a better candidate for certification or employment as a professional court reporter. Practicing with a stenotype machine to increase your speed and accuracy is a great way to improve. There are also many helpful videos online both from successful professionals and fellow learners that can give you helpful tips, industry secrets, what pitfalls to avoid, and what to expect from the career. Making use of these free online resources can take you one step closer to becoming a court reporter.

Step 3: Become Certified

Many states require court reporters to be certified. These requirements differ from state to state. The NCRA offers the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification, which is good for about half of the states in the U.S. in place of state testing to meet these states' certification requirements.

The RPR exam begins with a set of online skills exams. These exams are designed to test your competency in three areas: literacy, jury charge, and testimony. This test will also measure your success at various increasing WPM levels: 180, 200, and 225. The final component is a written test that must be taken in-person. This test written knowledge test is 120 multiple choice questions, and students must receive a scaled score of at least 70 to pass.

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