Court reporters essential career Information:
- 2012 median pay: $48,160
- 2012 number of jobs: 18,590
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 14 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: Post-secondary non-degree award
Court reporters; what they do:
Most of us get our first glimpse of a court reporter on old movies or television shows such as Perry Mason, where a stenographer sits at the front of the courtroom typing away. Court reporters create word-for-word transcriptions of legal proceedings and public events. Some court reporters also provide captioning for television and at public events.
A court reporting career involves using verbatim methods and equipment to capture, store, retrieve and transcribe legal proceedings. Those who pursue a court reporter career can become stenocaptioners who operate computerized stenographic captioning equipment to produce captions for the hearing-impaired.
A certified court reporter can also find jobs outside courtrooms, transcribing speech to writing as it occurs. Court reporters often specialize in a recording method, such as using stenotype machines, covered microphones called steno masks, or digital recording.
Court reporters who work with the hearing-impaired use Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART). Serving as personal court reporters, they attend events, doctors’ appointments, meetings and other gatherings with their clients.
Those who choose a court reporter career can also caption classes and provide transcripts for hearing-impaired clients and those learning English as a second language. With advancements in technology, court reporters are now able to use the Internet or a phone connection to hear and type instead of being in the room.
Court reporters duties:
- Providing copies of transcripts and recordings to lawyers, courts and other official parties involved
- Reviewing notes for names of speakers and technical terminology
- Reporting spoken dialogue
- Reporting gestures and actions
- Editing transcripts for typos
- Preparing transcripts for the record
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Court reporters job titles:
- Personal court reporter
- Freelance court reporter
- Court stenographer
- Deposition reporter
- Digital court reporter
- Real-time court reporter
- Court monitor
Court Reporters Education, Certification and License Requirements
Court reporters often receive training at community colleges or at technical institutes. Court reporter candidates who want to use steno masks and digital recording methods typically spend six months earning a certificate. Stenography programs can last two to four years earning an associate’s degree.
Many states require court reporters working in legal settings have a license.
The National Court Reporters Association offers court reporter and broadcast captioner certification. A court reporter must type at least 225 words per minute.
On-the-job training follows a formal program. Continuing education and online training are required to maintain certification. Digital and voice reporters can also obtain certification.
Court reporter programs cover subjects such as:
- English grammar
- Legal procedures
- Real-time reporting
- Speed development
Court Reporters Job Outlook
Forecast: 14 percent employment growth for court reporters from 2010 to 2020. Federal legislation requiring increased captioning increases the demand for court reporters.
Those who train for a court reporting career may find more captioning work outside of the legal realm. Broadcasters are adding closed captioning to their online programming to comply with federal regulations.
Those with experience and training in CART and real-time captioning have the best job prospects.
Court Reporters Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $48,160
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $69,190
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $34,530
- Local government
- State government
- Business support services
- Motion picture and video industries
- Federal executive branch