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Court reporting programs provide individuals with the methods and techniques used to transcribe spoken word in real time, typically in a courtroom setting. Court reporters must have quick typing skills, excellent hearing, and strong grammar proficiency.
Education and Schools
An education in court reporting may result in certification, an associate's degree or bachelor's degree. Students enrolled in a court reporting program will learn to utilize one or more of the machines used to transcribe conversations, testimonies, or arguments in order to maintain records that maybe referred to during a trial or for future review. Students will develop a basic level of legal knowledge, primarily in the for of legal vocabulary, in order to better understand and record events within a courtroom. Students will also obtain practical experience through the use of machines and mock settings under the supervision of teachers or professionals.
Courses may include:
- Court Reporting
- Court Transcription
- Foundations of Law
- Language and Writing
- Machine Shorthand Theory
Individuals working as court reporters will seek employment through the various courts circuits available at the local, county, state and federal levels. Individuals will have to demonstrate competency prior to employment, as the need for accuracy is the cornerstone of the job. Work typically take place during the normal working hours, though may vary based on the court. Court reporters must maintain a professional appearance, be on time, and have their equipment in place prior to the start of the days sessions. The demand for court reporters is higher than the actual number of available.
Some states may require court reporters to obtain licensure, the requirements of which will vary by state, and often requiring an exam and graduation from a certified program. An individual may obtain national certification from the National Verbatim Reporters Association, through the completion of an exam in on of the following three categories:
- Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR)
- Certificate of Merit (CM)
- Real-Time Verbatim Reporter (RVR)
Much of one's training in regards to the type equipment used will be learned on the job. The average salary for a court reporter is $49,700 per year, with a low of $25,000 per year. Experience with the various machines and systems used by court reporters typically results in higher pay. Career opportunities can vary for court reporters, as many of the skills earned can be used for live broadcasts such as news and sports programs. Many broadcasts look for experienced court reporters to fill positions because their abilities have been honed and proven in high demand environments. Live broadcasts require individuals to adapt to the machines and methods utilized, which may require some additional training or education.