Court Reporter Job Description
|Salary: $35,000 – $69,100||Number of Jobs: 21,500|
|Hourly Rate: $16.84 – $33.24||Employment Outlook: Normal|
|Green Job: No||Education: Postsecondary vocational award|
What do Court Reporters do?
Court reporters provide word for word transcriptions of court trials and other legal proceedings. Because of their skill at capturing the spoken word in written form, they are sometimes employed to provide captioning for live television events.
Court reporters play an important role in courtroom proceedings, as their transcripts are crucial for judges and attorneys who need to read through court records.
Most court reporters specialize in using one type of recording instrument. The three most common types of instruments used are stenotype machines, steno masks, and digital recording equipment.
Stenotype machines are operated by digitally entering shorthand codes that the computer is able to translate into readable text. As with any human-aided data entry, errors are likely to occur, and reporters must check their documents before filing them with the court clerk.
Steno masks take the concept of a stenotype machine and apply it to the spoken word — the reporter speaks into the mask instead of typing. When they speak, a computer translates their voice into written words. The microphone in the mask is covered, so their speaking doesn’t disturb those around them.
Some court reporters choose to use digital recording equipment. When recording equipment is used, the reporters take notes to signify who is talking at all times. Afterwards, they may translate the recording into a written document.
Work Environment and Schedule
The majority of court reporters are employed by the government, and spend their days working in courts or at other legislative functions.
Since courts and other government offices normally only operate during regular business hours between Monday and Friday, court reporters are normally able to maintain a normal working schedule.
Most court reporters work full time.
How to Become a Court Reporter
The requirements for becoming a court reporter vary from state to state, and depend on the method of reporting that you want to use.
If you want to use stenotype machines, you can expect to spend anywhere between two and four years learning the trade. Stenographers have to be able to type 225 words a minute, which can require a lot of practice and training. If you want to use one of the other methods, you can normally earn a certificate in about six months.
Most states require court reporters to be certified as a Registered Professional Reporter. Certification is available through the National Court Reporters Association.
There are currently 21,500 court reporters in the United States, with 710 new court reporter job openings created each year.
Court Reporter jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Court Reporter Salaries
Court Reporter salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most court reporters make between $35,000 – $69,100 per year, or $16.84 – $33.24 per hour.