How do I know if a career as a Court Reporter is right for me?

Criminal Justice Articles

How do I know if a career as a Court Reporter is right for me?

A court reporter keeps transcribed records of court proceedings. These proceedings can be in civil court, criminal court, or military court. The career is fairly lucrative, with court reporters earning between $40,000 and $70,000 a year. What sorts of qualifications does a court reporter need, and how does one determine if court reporting is the right career?

Court reporting is a career with much responsibility. A court reporter creates legal documents that must match verbatim to court proceedings. Transcribed or recorded reports are vital to attorneys, judges, juries, and other people involved in the court system. Court reporters need excellent listening, comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar skills. Anyone with a degree in English may find that court reporting is a rewarding career, although, a degree isn't necessary. There are training classes provided by colleges and technical schools that teach the basics of court reporting. Upon completion, a graduate can sit for the state board and become a certified court reporter.

Court reporting is a great career for anyone already familiar with legal terms and court proceedings. A former paralegal or legal secretary would make a great court reporter, once they become familiar with the reporting equipment. Prospective reporters must be familiar and comfortable with using an array of reporting and recording devices. Common devices include a stenotype machine, audio equipment for electronic reporting, and voice silencers for voice writing. The most common device is the stenotype machine. If someone isn't comfortable working with technology and learning how to use different recording devices, court reporting may not be the best career choice.

Court reporters must possess speed and accuracy. While a training course can teach a prospective reporter how to use the equipment, it is only with practices that speed and accuracy improves. Proper spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure is important. Teachers wanting a career change may find that court reporting is a good choice. Reporters must have excellent communication skills and no fears about speaking in public. Should a judge or attorney need a part of the record repeated, the court reporter is the person responsible for reading the court record aloud. A clear speaking voice and good diction is critical for a court reporter. With laws always changing, a reporter must be willing to learn about the type of law their court reporting involves.

So how does someone know if court reporting is a good career choice?

If a person possesses good written and verbal skills, technological skills, willingness to learn, legal knowledge, and the understanding of the immense responsibility a court reporter has, then choosing court reporting as a career will be a good choice. Anyone who thrives in a strict work environment, with little to no room for error, will enjoy court reporting. Those with a penchant for working in a legal environment, and possess the skills mentioned above, will also enjoy court reporting and probably be very successful.

Schools Offering Court Reporting Courses: