Court reporting can be an extremely lucrative career. It is a profession for which a candidate does not usually need a college degree, and it does not always require being present in the court room. In fact, of the more than 50,000 employed court reporters in the United States, 70% work outside the court room. In addition, as of 2012, statistics showed that court reporter employment is expected to increase by 10% between 2012 and 2022. Likewise, the court reporting association reports that over the next three to five years there will be coming a need for 5,500 additional court reporters, this need resulting from the fact that 15% of those now in that profession are getting ready to retire. The court reporting association also believes that this profession not only exists, but it is expanding.
Some of the duties of the court reporter outside the courtroom include closed broadcast captioning for the news, talk shows, and even sports, for national broadcast companies and local TV stations. Duties also include real time captioning for weather reports, disasters and emergencies, for sports events and live television events. Being a court reporter can also involve real time reporting services for online events, including press conferences, training seminars, and corporate sales meetings. A certified court reporter in the court room will make records of court proceedings, administrative hearings, and depositions. Certified court reporters can either be a hired employee or a freelancer contracted by the court. Voice writing is also a skill learned by court reporters which involves speaking into a computer and then transcribing the spoken word into written form.
In order to become a certified court reporter, candidates must complete an education and certification program that takes approximately 33.3 months. Once they have completed their training, they have to be able to record on a stenotype machine at a speed of 225 words per minute. This is required in order to receive their certification. While training, students typically spend about 15 hours each week transcribing their work as they are developing and perfecting their transcription skills.
According to the court reporting association, classes for students who want to become a court reporter can be taken in a classroom or online. The number of students opting to take online classes is increasing, which is causing the number of court reporters in training to rise. Typically, students are able to complete their courses in sometimes as little as two years, spending approximately $3000 on their education. In addition, they can buy a used stenotype machine, which is a must for training, for about $300 to $700.
The court reporting association finds that the list of the backgrounds of students entering into this field is growing all the time. People are coming from every walk of life, at a wide expanse of ages. They range from those right out of high school, to college graduates who are unable to find work in their desired career, to people who have made a decision to change their career.
It is said that most new court reporting jobs are coming from outside the court room. Depositions can be done elsewhere, and the demand for closed captioning is growing all the time, in many different capacities and genres. In fact, closed captioning for hearing impaired students is now being pushed by the federal government. Salaries for these types of positions usually begin at about $35 an hour, and can increase to six figures. There is an opening for a court reporter in the state of California that starts out at $100,000 per year, plus benefits. Not only is this field up and coming, but, once in, the chances for growth are enormous!
There are very specific requirements for court reporters whether entering into a career in law, government, television, or any of the many other opportunities of employment that are available to them. Court reporters must be efficient in every principle and technique of court shorthand reporting. They need to be adept at all clerical, as well as legal, procedures. They must understand legal and medical terminology, and their grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation abilities must be of an advanced level, along with their command of the English language.