An associate's degree program in court stenography includes the study of the types of language likely to be encountered in the field, as well as technical training in stenography, business English and medical terminology. Prerequisites for this program includes basic computer literacy and keyboarding skills. Also, it requires a high school diploma or its equivalent. The length of this program can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Graduates of these programs are prepared for certification from the National Court Reporters Association.
Court Stenography Degree Program
Classes in court stenography provide training in the use of word processors, recording devices and shorthand machines. Common courses may include the following:
- Basic keyboarding and word processing
- Computerized machine shorthand
- Introduction to law
- Business English
- Medical terminology
- Legal transcription
Career Forecast and Salary Information
Court stenographers, also known as court reporters, use a variety of tools to transcribe legal proceedings, such as trials and depositions. They also provide closed captioning for the hard of hearing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 20,800 jobs for court reporters in 2014. Over half of these jobs were in state and local government, while the rest were with business support services (www.bls.gov). Career opportunities in the field were expected to grow 2% by 2024.
While the need for court transcriptions will remain steady, economic constraints may limit growth as courts turn to electronic recordings over manual stenography. However, there will be an increasing demand for individuals trained in court stenography in television captioning services. This is the result of new legislation requiring all new programming on television to have captions for those with hearing disabilities.
Continuing Education Information
The NCRA and NVRA both offer certification for court stenographers. These certifications require students to pass a series of tests, including a speed typing test and general transcription practices knowledge test. The NCRA certification is more widely accepted and is considered a more comprehensive, challenging certification to earn. Additionally, state licensure is required in some locales.
Court stenographers typically earn an associate's level education in this field. State licensure may be required in some states and although certification is not required, it is recommended.