Court Reporter

What Does a Court Reporter Do?
Court reporters are transcribers of speeches, legal proceedings, meetings and other pertinent events. They create verbatim transcripts that account for all of the spoken words at public proceedings, which are used for correspondence, records, legal evidence and news content. Court reporters use a variety of methods to transcribe, such as stenographic, electronic reporting and voice writing, all of which use different equipment or machines that capture spoken words and sounds. They play an integral role in judicial proceedings and meetings that require accurate, word-for-word accounts of what was said. Court reporters are responsible for ensuring comprehensive, precise and protected legal records. Most court reporters work with judges and trial attorneys to organize and research information in the formal record, as well as make suggestions to them about courtroom management and procedures. Court reporters have to be excellent listeners and fully aware of their transcripts, since they are responsible for accurate identification of proper names and places.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Court Reporter?
The employment outlook for court reporters should be favorable, with a job increase of 18 percent between 2008 and 2018. Much of this growth can be attributed to the demand for real-time broadcast captioning and transcribing. More court reporters will be hired to create precise transcriptions of court proceedings, pretrial depositions, meetings and other important public events. Their work will be used for live television and other real-time broadcast captioning and translating services for the deaf and hearing impaired. In addition, the increasing number of criminal and civil cases will create new jobs and challenges for court reporters, which may spur new and advanced methods of transcribing. Court reporters will also experience a positive salary outlook over the next 10 years. Court reporters made an average salary of $49,710 in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, salary and compensation methods depend greatly on the court reporter’s type of reporting, experience, level of certification achieved and their geographic location. According to the Bureau, job opportunities should be the best for candidates with college degrees and certifications.

How Can I Become a Court Reporter?
Prospective court reporters need to complete the educational and training requirements before they can enter this exciting, yet challenging career. Most court reporters begin their educational track by earning an associate degree in journalism, English, communications or specific reporting programs. An associate degree takes about two years to complete, which gives you a jumpstart to career training and honing your real-time voice writing skills. The amount and length of training required to become a court reporter varies by specialization and certain job requirements. Depending on your state’s requirements, some court reporters may have to pass an exam to become licensed, as well as become notary publics. For licensure information, job postings and court reporting resources, such as professional links and helpful transcribing tips, visit The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers.