Court reporting is a skilled profession with opportunities for high earning potential and does not require a four-year college degree. If you are self-motivated, have a passion for language and reading, have nimble fingers, a career in court reporting may be for you.
Court reporter training involves learning steno theory. It’s like learning a new language. Once the theory is learned, it’s all about speed, baby, speed. Graduation requirements typically are 225 words per minute with 95 percent accuracy for question and answer testimony and 180 words per minute with 95 percent accuracy for literary testimony. Court reporters also receive training in medical and legal terminology, grammar and punctuation, legal procedures, and other relevant topics. Programs are usually two years and can be either a certificate program or an associate degree program.
Until recently court reporting schools have been brick-and-mortar schools. But now, thanks to technology, there are several reputable and approved online programs.
Choosing to participate in an online program has several advantages:
- Not having to relocate to attend a school
- No commute time to classes
- Wider range of schools to choose from
- The ability to attend classes and complete schoolwork on a schedule that works best for you
But there are a few other things to consider as well. Training to be a court reporter involves a lot of practice time on your steno machine. Being involved in an online training program means that you’ll need every ounce of your self-discipline and time management skills to accomplish your goals. There is no class environment or anyone telling you what to do. Also, fully participating in the school’s support network is critical. There are good days and frustrating days, and that support network is important to help you celebrate those good days and encourage you on those not-so-good days.
Court reporting can be a very rewarding career with several career paths available, such as working in a courthouse or closed-captioning or helping hearing disabled students in the classroom. According to a Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report by Ducker Worldwide, job opportunities continue to outnumber job seekers.
If you think a court reporting career might be for you, check out the National Court Reporting Association listing of approved schools at ncra.org.