By Sarah Stevenson
Court reporting is a career with excellent growth potential, if you've got the right training and a very detail-oriented personality. It's also a career that boasts a surprising amount of variety—after all, court reporting isn't just about taking notes during trials. The unique skills of a court reporter might be needed to transcribe speeches, meetings, college classes, and even television broadcasts, in order to create accurate records. If this type of work appeals to you, you'll be pleased to know it's easier than ever to earn a degree in court reporting. Many accredited programs even make it possible to study to be a court reporter online.
Read on to find out more about the job duties of a court reporter, online court reporting degree programs, and the career and salary outlook for this dynamic and increasingly tech-savvy field.
Whether you attend a traditional degree program or take courses to become a court reporter online, you'll soon learn that excellent transcription skills are an asset in more places than just the legal setting. Court reporters are invaluable to a range of other clients:
- Television and radio stations
- Medical offices
- Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals
- Freelance court reporting firms
Court Reporter Education
Court reporting programs are usually available at the associate's or certificate level, although some schools offer bachelor's degrees. Career colleges, technical schools, and specialty court reporting academies are the most common places to find programs in court reporting that have been accredited by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).
And if you prefer the convenience and flexibility of online study, many of these schools also offer course or degree options via distance education. Brown College of Court Reporting and Medical Transcription, in Atlanta, Georgia, for instance, offers students the option of studying to be a court reporter online or in person.
Court Reporter Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for court reporters is $49,860. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Court reporters will be in high demand over the coming years, particularly those with specialized skills like webcasting or broadcast captioning. You can boost your average salary as well as your career outlook by training in one of these areas, and by acquiring certification and/or membership from professional associations like the NCRA, the United States Court Reporters Association (USCRA), the American Association for Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) and the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA).
Geography will also have a major effect on your job outlook as a court reporter. Online information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the greatest numbers of court reporters are employed in larger, more populated states such as Maryland—close to the government hub of Washington, D.C.—as well as California, Florida, Texas and New York.
The biggest factor affecting your employment as a court reporter, though, is a solid education from an accredited institution. Start researching that education today, and learn to be a court reporter online.
Sources: National Court Reporters Association; National Verbatim Reporters Association.