Steps to Becoming a Certified Court Reporter
Court reporting (also called stenography) typically requires about two years of schooling and a certification exam before you can enter the field. You have to be certified in the specific state you’re hoping to work in to become an office court reporter. But you can also take on side jobs and have a flexible work schedule working in civil court.
For this reason, this career is perfect for people with families or who are currently doing other work. You can make a fairly good salary as a court reporter, and in some cases, reporters can even make six figures. It is important to know what your goals are going into this career and have a clear path before making any hard decisions.
Choose a specialty
You need to choose which area of reporting you would like to go into before choosing an educational program. This way, you can choose the right program for you. Some schools don’t offer an education in all areas of court reporting, so you need to know which type of reporting you’d like to learn in order to receive the best education possible.
There are roughly five different types of court reporting that you can learn, including judicial reporting, closed/broadcast captioning, communications access realtime reporting (CART), court reporting/stenography, and court reporting/voice writing. These five court reporting specialties seem similar, but they require different skills.
The courses you take in school will prepare you for your certification in accordance with state requirements. If you want to specialize in judicial reporting, you will be recording court proceedings, depositions, and administrative hearings. Closed/broadcast captioning allows the reporter to broadcast a live feed across a network for real time reporting. CART reporting is a service for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
If you’re interested in becoming a stenographer, you need to learn how to use a stenotype machine. If you’re interested in voice writing, you will need to know the ins and outs of the stenomask device and how to use the software that accompanies it. Be sure to do your research on each role before sticking to an educational program.
Complete formal education
Once you’ve completed your research and know where you want to live/work, you should complete your formal education. If you want to be a Miami court reporter, be sure that you’re completing your education in Florida so you know how to become certified in that state.
Always check out the entire program before you enroll, to ensure that they have programs that can help you succeed in your specialty. Once you’ve figured that out, you have to choose a school schedule that is suitable for your needs.
Because schooling is really flexible these days, there are court reporting programs available online and in traditional schools. This way, working parents and those who have responsibilities can complete their schooling at their leisure, and be well on their way to a fulfilling career as a court reporter.
Once all your schooling is complete, all that’s left is to get certified in the state where you’re hoping to work. Your formal schooling will prepare you for your state certification, so you have no need to worry about being unprepared for the exam. Once you’ve completed this, you can work wherever you’re needed, from the courtroom to the conference room of a personal injury lawyer.