How to Get a Job in Court Reporting and Legal Transcription

Written by James Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Court reporters attend trials, administrative hearings, and depositions to create a physical record of everything said. Court reporters do this by typing everything they hear into a stenotype machine. After the event, the court reporter reviews what they typed and creates a written transcript that becomes the official record.

Court reporters even notate gestures made by the speaker. Before submitting the final transcript, the reporter makes sure he or she has spelled names and technical terms correctly and proofreads for any other errors. Transcripts are distributed to the courts, attorneys, and parties involved.

Another method involves digitally recording the spoken word. Court reporters make sure the equipment is working properly during the procedure. Later, the court reporter listens to the audio to create the written transcript.

Court reporters work for state and local governments in the court room.

Salary

Median wage for court reporters is $47,000. Lowest wages are $25,000 and the highest wages are $91,000.

Job Requirements

Court reporters usually attend a two year program at a community or technical college and earn an associate's degree. The program teaches students how to use the stenotype machine, proper grammar, phonetics, legal procedures, and legal terminology. Students practice transcription to ensure they achieve a certain level of accuracy and speed.

States may require court reporters to become licensed according to state standards. Other states accept certification from the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). The NCRA issues a Certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). In order to earn this certification, court reporters must type at least 225 words a minute.

Most courts have some sort of on the job training program.

Court reporters are required to take continuing education classes in order to maintain their certification with the NCRA. States have their own continuing education requirements.

Necessary skills include concentration, attention to detail, listening skills, and writing skills. Court procedures can last a long time and court reporters must be able to maintain attention throughout the event. They must be able to ignore any distractions in the room. The transcription must be error free since it becomes a legal document of the proceedings. Court reporters must have a high degree of understanding when it comes to grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary.

Schools For Court Reporting and Legal Transcription

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