Court stenographers document all statements in legal proceedings by using a stenotype machine. Those interested in this field sometimes pursue an Associate of Science in Court Reporting or an Associate of Applied Science in Court Reporting. These 2 to 4-year programs can prepare students for the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) certification exam, as they'll be able to process 180 to 225 words per minute and be proficient in the industry-standard Case-Catalyst real-time translation software. They'll also be skilled at testimony, literary and jury charge reporting.
Associate's in Court Reporting
Coursework is a combination of classroom instruction with lab exercises, and covers topics like legal terminology, medical terminology and court procedures. General education classes in subjects like critical thinking, ethics, English composition and business statistics are also included. Applicants must have a high school transcript, meet grade point average (GPA) criteria and submit Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores. Due to the legal nature of court stenographer work, a background check may be required.
Students earn around 70-80 credits in an associate's court reporting program and gain pertinent computer and keyboarding applications skills through courses that discuss the following:
- Transcription and legal dictation
- Computer-aided transcription
- Machine shorthand
- Machine transcription
- Word processing
- Word processing lab
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for court reporters is expected to grow at a rate of 2% over 2014-2024, with a mean salary of $54,720, as of May 2015.
Associate's program graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in court reporting. Depending on the state, candidates for court stenographer positions might need to be a notary public or a Certified Court Reporter. This designation can be earned by passing a state test. Also, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) offers a 2-part examination that earns a court reporter the designation of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR).
By obtaining an associate's degree in court reporting over a 2 to 4-year span, students will be fully prepared for a career as a court reporter, and to apply for professional certification through organizations like the NCRA.