Become a Stenographer: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a stenographer. Research the job duties, as well as the education and licensing requirements to find out how to start a career in stenography. View article »

View 10 Popular Schools »

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

94% college-bound high school students
…said it was important to communicate with colleges during the search process. (Source: Noel-Levitz 2012 trend study)

Select a school or program

View More Schools
Show Me Schools
  • 0:00 Should I Become a…
  • 0:29 Career Requirements
  • 1:15 Steps to Become a Stenographer

Find the perfect school

Video Transcript

Should I Become a Stenographer?

Stenographers use stenotype machines to record exact transcripts of various proceedings, usually within the legal arena, where they are known as court reporters. Most of these professionals are employed by the local and state government, administrative support services, and information services. Stenographers and court reporters often keep full-time schedules with the possibility to set their own hours.

Career Requirements

While an associate's degrees in court reporting or stenography is typical, other formal training programs may be available. Many states require licensure or certification and many states accept National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) certification. Stenographers should have good concentration, listening and writing skills, as well as strong attention to detail. They should have expertise in the use of stenotype machines and be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel, Chase Software Solutions Court Reporting software, Courtpages, ReporterWorks, and OMTI ReporterBase. According to 2016 earnings data from, stenographers earned a median salary of $47,014.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Court Reporting
  • Legal Administrative Assistant or Secretary
  • Legal Assistant or Paralegal

Steps to Become a Stenographer

Step 1: Take a Court Reporting Education Program

Community colleges and technical institutions offer specific programs for those seeking careers as stenographers or other types of court reporter. Both certificate and associate's degree programs are offered in various types of court reporting. However, not all court reporting programs teach the use of the stenotype machine. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many stenography programs confer associate's degrees.

Students take classes in legal and medical terminology, machine technology, and dictation of a jury charge (a judge's instructions to a jury about their responsibilities). Upon completion of these courses, individuals are able to accurately operate a stenotype machine. Some associate's degree programs include an internship component. Internships allow students to gain valuable experience in court.

Step 2: Secure Licensure or Certification

Licensure or certification requirements vary according to each state's regulations. In some cases, aspiring stenographers need to pass state-administered written and skills exams.

Aspiring stenographers should obtain the NCRA's Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) credential. Many states certify or license candidates who hold this certification, which is one of several offered by NCRA. RPR candidates must pass written tests that assess knowledge of reporting and transcript production and skills tests that evaluate dictation and transcription speed and accuracy. Requirements are quite stringent because professional stenographers must produce extremely accurate accounts of the proceedings they document.

Step 3: Fulfill Continuing Education Requirements

Court reporters typically need to complete continuing education courses in order to maintain state licensure or NCRA certification and keep their training up-to-date. The NCRA requires court reporters who hold the RPR designation to earn at least three continuing education units every three years. Contact your state's governing body for information on specific continuing education requirements.

Stenographers often have an associate's degree in court reporting or stenography and they may be required to be licensed or certified depending on the state.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • BA in Legal Studies
    • BA in Criminal Justice
    • AA in Criminal Justice
    • AA in Paralegal Studies

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MS in Criminal Justice Intelligence & Crime Analysis

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Legal Studies
    • MS in Criminal Justice
    • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
    • BS in Legal Support and Services
    • BS in Legal Support and Services - Paralegal
    • BS in Criminal Justice
    • AAS in Legal Support and Services
    • AAS in Criminal Justice
    • Pathway to Paralegal Postbaccalaureate Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your age?

  • 10
    West Valley College

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?