Court reporters are a crucial part of the American justice system, capturing what is said in courtrooms, depositions, and other legal proceedings. When spoken words must be documented, it is the court reporter's job, using computer-aided transcription, to render these words into written form for legal proof, records, and legal correspondence. Court reporters also provide closed-captioning and real-time translation for the hearing-impaired.
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Job titles include:
- Courtroom Reporter
- Courtroom Transcriptor
- Judicial Reporter
- Judicial Transcriptor
- Courtroom Scribe
- Deposition Scribe
- Hearing Reporting Deposition Reporter
- Hearing Scribe
How to Prepare for a Court Reporting Career
Two-year associate's and four-year bachelor's degree programs in court reporting are available at many universities, colleges, and technical schools, with online and campus-based options. Court Reporting degree programs fall under the Criminal Justice Administration department at most educational institutions that offer these programs. Classes focus on: listening skills, operation of computer-aided transcription equipment, and procedures in the criminal justice system.
Look for a program certified by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), which requires that students can capture a minimum of 225 words per minute ? the same requirement for Federal Government employment.
Court Reporting Career Outlook
The employment outlook for court reporters, particularly those with a court reporting certificate, is excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects opportunities to increase by 18 percent through 2018. Median annual income for court reporters in May 2008 was $49,710. Incomes varied greatly, from $25,360 to $83,500, depending on the type of reporting job, experience, certification level, and geographic region. Many salaried court reporters do freelance work for attorneys on a per-job or per-page basis.