Become a Court Reporter by pursuing an Online Degree in Court Reporting
Court reporters, also known as stenographers or Certified Shorthand Reporters (CSRs), are tasked with creating an official record of legal proceedings. Their word-for-word transcriptions are used to provide an exact record of what was said, and make it possible for others to find important information from the trial or legal proceeding. In addition to recording legal proceedings, many court reporters provide closed captioning for television programming. Even with new digital recording technology, the demand for court reporters will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
Online Degrees in Court Reporting
Court reporting degrees both online and offline are typically offered as a two year associate’s degree program. This degree will teach you how to use a unique type of shorthand and reach typing speeds of up to 225 words per minute using accepted abbreviations and symbols. Formal education is needed as often, states require court reporters in legal settings to be certified or licensed.
Court Reporting Specialties
Most online court reporting degree programs encompass all or most aspects of the specialty:
This is the individual you commonly see in a courtroom typing on a machine. A special shorthand must be mastered to do this, and all speech must be transcribed verbatim. In addition, the stenographer is required to edit each transcript while maintaining 98% accuracy.
Voice Writer/Voice Reporter
This person repeats everything said or done in court into a handheld mask equipped with a microphone. The voice writer is responsible for capturing every sound, motion and word that occurs in court. The audio is eventually transcribed to text. Many states require a license from the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) in order to practice this specialty.
This specialty consists of using audio equipment to record all speech or meaningful behavior in court for transcription at a later time.
Careers in Court Reporting
Working as a court reporter means being a firsthand witness to important or exciting trials — and being tasked with the essential role of recording what’s said and done.
Court reporting is a growing field that offers plenty of opportunities, an interesting work environment, and good pay. Those who enjoy typing and performing administrative tasks in a legal environment will excel in this role.
As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average salary of $66,710 for court reporters and simultaneous captioners. Early career professionals in this field earn about $43,730, which represents the 25thpercentile, while established pros with extensive experience earn about $109,240, which represents the 90thpercentile.
Courts continue to employ qualified reporters, and as broadcasters work to meet federal closed captioning standards, court reporters will remain in demand. Between 2019 and 2029, the number of jobs among court reporters is projected to increase by 9% – that’s more than twice the national projected growth rate for all professions during this time. And during this ten-year period ending in 2029, the court reporting profession will see about 1,400 annual job openings due to a combination of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.
Once you are trained through a certificate or associate degree program and licensed to record verbatim testimony at legal proceedings, you will be eligible for opportunities to work as an assigned or freelance court reporter. Graduates may also may seek employment in any number of organizations seeking transcription or translation services, or broadcast captioning skills. Similar jobs can be found in government agencies, broadcast programs or attorney’s offices.
Most court reporters work for state or local governments, but there are also opportunities for court reporters in administrative and support services. Typically, court reporters work for:
- Local government (excluding education and hospitals)
- State government (excluding education and hospitals)
- Administrative and support services
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for court reporters and simultaneous captioners. Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed June 2021.
National job growth projections for court reporters and simultaneous captioners sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*Net database (2019-2029).
Court Reporting Classes
Court reporter degrees typically include curriculum that teaches shorthand, procedures, vocabulary, and more. This is standard curriculum in programs that follow the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) standards. In your court reporting program, you can expect to take courses including:
- Computerized Machine Shorthand Theory: Studying phonics, the student learns to hear speech as sounds and to transmit them to a keyboard.
- Court Reporting Procedures: The student learns how to transcribe multi-voice dictation and to understand the court reporter’s place in the system.
- Vocabulary and Usage: Students of real-time court reporting study the proper use of English.
Earn Your Court Reporter Degree Online
Start your future as a court reporter today. Learn about court reporter degrees that you can enroll in online.