Court Reporting Degree Program Overviews

Court reporters create verbatim transcripts of various official events. Those interested in joining this profession can find degree programs at the associate's and, less commonly, bachelor's level.

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Essential Information

Prospective students in court reporting should ensure that the associate's (2 years) or bachelor's (4 years) degree program in question is accredited by the National Court Reporting Association (NCRA) before applying. Both qualified programs provide foundational knowledge of legal proceedings, as well as captioning and medical transcribing. Classes cover various types of terminology, transcription methods and equipment operation; students also gain many hours of practical experience before graduation. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent.


Associate's Degree in Court Reporting

Associate's degree programs in court reporting take two years to complete and train individuals in the conceptual and practical aspects of the field. Students develop a strong knowledge of the English language and gain experience with court reporting circuit boards, processors, electronic equipment and computer hardware and software. Students split their time between classroom and laboratory training in courses such as:

  • Court reporting
  • Machine shorthand theory
  • Court transcription
  • Medical terminology
  • Foundations of law
  • Language and writing

Bachelor's Degree in Court Reporting

Those interested in pursuing this program must dedicate four years of full-time study, and learn to transcribe speech in realtime using computerized machines. Students in this program also gain an understanding of different legal proceedings as well as law and medical terminology, and they become experienced in basic computer hardware care, setup and maintenance. Coursework also ensures that students are disciplined and in possession of strong language skills. Class topics generally include:

  • Computer-assisted transcription
  • Testimony
  • Jury charge
  • Realtime transcription
  • Judicial reporting

Popular Career Options

Court reporters can find employment opportunities wherever a true record of proceedings is needed. Opportunities are available with the courts, government agencies, state legislatures, broadcast programs that need captioning, Congress and the United Nations. Graduates with an associate's degree can find careers as:

  • Judicial reporters
  • Court reporters
  • Broadcast captioners
  • Communication access realtime translation (CART) reporters
  • Medical transcriptionists

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), reported that job opportunities for court reporters were anticipated to increase 2% from 2014 to 2024. Growth will be greatly influenced by federal laws requiring more captioning for the Internet and other new technologies. As of May 2015, court reporters earn a median annual income of $49,500, according to the BLS.

Students interested in court reporting should pursue associate's and bachelor's degree programs in the filed, making sure that the programs are accredited by the National Court Reporting Association (NCRA). These programs can lead to careers reporting in court, broadcast, medical, and other communication settings.

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