What does a court reporter do?
Court reporters produce verbatim transcripts of conversations, speeches, meetings, legal proceedings, and other events. They record everything that is said by judges, attorneys, witnesses, and other people. They also take note of emotional reactions, gestures, and other body language. They play a vital role in all legal matters where spoken words need to be recorded onto written transcripts. They make sure all legal records are secure, accurate, and complete. Court reporters may also research for items in official records, make suggestions about proper procedures, and help in other ways. Some court reporters also provide real-time translating services and closed-captioning for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Some court reporters work outside the court systems. Some transmit government proceedings and others translate product introductions, sales meetings, press conferences, and technical training seminars.
What kind of training does a court reporter need?
Training requirements for court reporters depends on the field and specialty. It typically takes court reporters up to a year to become a beginning voice writer and at least 2 years to become proficient in writing real-time voice conversations. Many vocational and technical schools offer training programs. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) accredits many programs. Many court reporters learn their skills through on the job training.
In some states, court reporters must be licensed by passing a state examination. Certifications such as the Real-Time Verbatim Reporter (RVR), Certified of Merit (CM), or Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) can be substituted for the licensing examination. Some states also require court reporters to be notary publics and others required the Certified Court Reporter certification. Court reporters can obtain many voluntary certifications to demonstrate knowledge and experience.
What are the prospects for a career as a court reporter?
Employment of court reporters is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 25% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increasing amount of court proceedings and the demand for accurate transcriptions will drive job growth.
Job prospects are projected to be excellent especially for court reporters with certifications and specialties.
How much do court reporters make?
As of September 2009, the middle 50% of court reporters earned annual salaries between $35,842 and $65,018. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $79,987 (2).
A career as a court reporter is a great choice for individuals interested in transcribing court proceedings. Court reporters must have excellent writing skills with a high speed and accuracy and great hearing and listening skills. Good vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, and grammar skills are also essential. Court reporters must be aware of current events, business practices, and legal terminology.