stenography and shorthand techniques during a court proceeding. The expected growth of this profession, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2018-2028, is 7% which is faster than most occupations.
Below are the steps required to become a court reporter.
What Does a Court Reporter Do?
Court reporters are expected to have good listening and writing skills. They should be able to give full attention to the speakers. Following are the duties performed by them:
Creating word-for-word transcripts during court proceedings
Capturing dialogues using different equipment
Observing and reporting speakers’ identification, action and gestures
Reading or playing back the recording of the proceedings upon the judge’s request
Asking speakers to clarify inaudible statements
Revising notes taken during proceedings
Providing copies of the recordings and transcripts to the counsel, courts and parties involved
Transcribe movie/television dialogue to help people who cannot hear
Providing real time translation to people in classrooms and different forums
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps to Become a Court Reporter
To become a court reporter, all aspiring candidates must follow the following steps.
There are many technical and vocational colleges for aspiring court reporters. These programs offer certificate programs or associate degree to all students and prepare them for this career. These institutes teach students to use steno machines and break down language phonetically. Medical and legal terminology, grammar, English composition and courtroom procedures are part of the course work. Students are also taught to operate the voice writing method.
Voice writing method is a procedure where the reporter repeats all the gestures and words of a judge, attorneys and witnesses while wearing a mask so that the proceeding is not disturbed. Even though technology is available to transmit vocals into transcript, reporters should take the necessary steps.
Licensing and Certification
Although the requirements and reporting style varies, some states require candidates to obtain a license. Along with a license, some states also require reporters to have certificates. Reporters usually have certification from two largest bodies- The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) and the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA). The Registered Professional Reporter exam is offered by NCRA which is considered as a substitute for licensure by many states. The exam tests the business practices, transcript production, professionalism and dictation abilities. On the other hand, two advanced certifications are offered by NVRA which leads to Registered Diplomate Reporter and Registered Merit Reporter.
Becoming registered helps you access the continuing education options.
Court reporters have to keep pursuing advanced knowledge to maintain their NCRA certification and licensure. Continuing education helps reporters to understand the current trends and stay updated.
How Much Does a Court Reporter Earn in the US?
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary of a court reporter in 2018 was $62,390. The highest paying states were New York paying $90,040, California paying $87,750 and Massachusetts paying $79,720.