Court reporters 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:
- Stenographers: 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.
- Electronic Reporting: 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
Court reporting is a stable but growing field that offers plenty of opportunities, an interesting work environment, and good pay. Those that enjoy typing and performing administrative tasks in a legal environment will excel in this role.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the field of court reporting will continue to experience growth through 2022. Courts continue to employ qualified reporters, and as broadcasters work to meet federal closed captioning standards, court reporters will remain in demand. Most court reporters will earn a median salary of $48,160, but some may earn as much as $90,530 or more.
Once you are trained 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 will wok for:
- Local government (excluding education and hospitals)
- State government (excluding education and hospitals)
- Administrative and support services
Working as a court reporter often means being a firsthand witness to important or exciting trials — and being tasked with the essential role of recording what’s said and done. This is an exciting field with solid opportunities, a stable job outlook, and good pay.
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.