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Court Reporter Careers

How to Become a Court Reporter

Court reporting is the process of transcribing, either through audio or written means, the proceedings that occur in a courtroom. The resulting recordings and documents are very important for the legal process and for local, state and federal records.

There are three different types of court reporter, each with their own methods for documenting the proceedings. They also have slightly different requirements for employment.

Court Stenographer

The most common type of court reporter is the stenographer.Stenographers use a special machine to type out the court proceedings which they must later transcribe.

Electronic Court Reporting

Electronic reporting is another method which employs an audio recorder which the reporter listens to and annotates for later transcription.

Voice Court Reporters

Finally, there are voice reporters who talk into a special mask during the proceedings repeating everything that is said, noting any gestures.

Court Reporting Training

In general, it can take anywhere from 12 months to 36 months in order to become a fully qualified reporter, and then one year beyond that to become professionally proficient.

This is most commonly achieved at a technical school or through a specialized training program.

Electronic reporters have the shortest time in school since most of their training is on the job and behind the scenes.

Certification Courses

The National Court Reporters Association maintains a listing of available, certified institutions which offer reporting courses.

Candidates will generally need a good understanding of computers, excellent typing skills, and the ability to work as quietly as possible.

This is especially important for voice reporters. Electronic reporters and stenographers need excellent listening abilities as well.

Some states require that a reporter be a notary republic. Other states have specific certification examinations that must be passed in order to gain a license to work as a reporter in that state.

Finally, the National Court Reporters Association offers national certifications that can greatly help a new reporter prove their skills to future employers.

Court reporting is a rapidly growing field of employment. Through schools and on the job training, it is a rewarding career with a bright future.