Have you ever wondered about the career path that court reporting specialists take? What inspires a person to look at their career options and think, “The life of court reporting specialists looks like what I want?”
Court reporting specialists spend their days witnessing legal proceedings, from the riveting testimonies in high attention trials, to the creation of every day legal documents, such as wills and trusts. If the thrill of the job isn’t enough to entice you, you might find the paycheck worth the trouble; it is not unusual for court reporting specialists to achieve six-figure incomes!
So how does one go about being qualified to work for one of the many court reporting firms in our country? Check out our list of frequently asked questions, below.
Everything You Want to Know About Becoming a Court Reporter
- How long does it take to become a court reporter?
Most court reporting schools take two to five years to complete. The schools that take the longest require prerequisites that don’t necessarily relate to your future career, but result in an Associates (or Bachelor’s) degree. Although those schools require more time, having a degree might give you a broader job market to begin your career with once you’re done. However, if you’re in a hurry to get to the finish line, it might be in your best interest to look for a court reporting school that offers a certification rather than degree.
We should add that some states have additional requirements that must be met to become a court reporter. You would want to check with the regulations in your state before choosing to become a court reporter.
- How much does it cost to get a court reporting education?
The tuition of court reporting school varies widely depending on the type of school you go to.
Some community colleges offer court reporting Associates degrees, and the tuition is fairly inexpensive. Keep in mind that these programs are not often staffed by actual court reporters, and often require unnecessary prerequisites in order to graduate. This is a consideration if you are in a hurry to get your career going.
There are for-profit colleges that offer court reporting training. These programs might be more career-focused than community colleges, and might even offer schedules that are more geared towards working adults. However, almost always, for-profit court reporting colleges will leave you with a tuition bill of $50,000 or more.
If your state does not have specific accreditation requirements, you might also be able to get your training through a smaller group of credentialed court reporters who offer training in the trade. This would cost substantially less, but does not result in any degree.
- What certification is necessary to become a court reporter?
While many court reporting programs offer a degree, this is not necessary. The main requirement that you need to achieve through court reporting school is being able to pass the Registered Professional Reporter certification credentials. If your specific state has additional testing requirements, the school you choose should train their students to pass the exams.
- What are the greatest challenges of getting through court reporting school?
Unfortunately, approximately 90% of students drop out before graduating from court reporting school. Some of the biggest challenges are that the training often involves outdated stroke-heavy techniques that are cumbersome and tedious, while not even being a necessary part of the job anyways. Before signing up for a court reporting school, make sure to ask what the graduation rate is (and if it is absurdly high, this might be a red flag) and what the curriculum includes.
- What else should I look for in a court reporting school?
After asking about the length of time it takes to get your certification, the tuition, the graduation rate, and the type of certification or degree you’ll walk out with, it’s also a good idea to ask if the course includes an internship or externship. Many concepts of court reporting school are not easy to understand until you see it in action. An internship is the best way to get that practical experience.
What do you think? We’d love to hear any other questions you have about becoming a court reporter. Please share them in the comment section below.