Career Overview – Court Reporter

By Brenda on January 26th, 2012


Court reporters record ant type verbatim transcripts of legal proceedings, speeches and other events where word for word documentation is needed. Court reports are often seen in the court room typing away while the proceedings occur.

The job is very important because they are responsible for the complete accuracy of what was said. Making even the slightest mistake can cause serious consequences because the whole point is to create a transcript that is 100% accurate. The transcripts are often used for records, legal proof, and correspondence.

Court reporters use several methods for their court reporting duties. The most common reporting tool is known as a stenographic machine. These machines allow the court reporter to utilize multiple buttons that stand for phrases, words, and even sounds. Real-time court reporters use these machines that then translate the symbols into text via a process known as computer aided transaction.

Some court reporters utilize an electronic audio technique. This type of court reporter takes notes and records the proceedings to make sure it is clear. After the proceeding is over, the court reporter is then required to produce a verbatim court report document.

Another technique used by court reporters is voice writing. These court reporters utilize talk to text technology that turns their words into text. The reporter speaks into a hand-held mask-type device that silences their voice and captures their words accurately. What’s interesting about voice recorders is that the court reporter is required to do everything the people in the room do – including noises, sounds, and hand gestures.

Court reporting programs vary in length and scope. There are approximately 100 post secondary programs including on campus and online. The average stenographic court reporter program takes nearly three years to complete compared to the average voice court reporter that can be completed in less than one year.

Some states require court reporters to be licensed. States that do not require licensure require court reporters to achieve national certification as a Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR), Certificate of Merit (CM), or Real-Time Verbatim Reporter (RVR).

The career is expected to experience strong growth at the rate of 18% through 2018. Approximately 60% of court reporters work for local and state governments. The average court reporter earns a salary of $50,000. This is the median annual wage according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The other 40% of court reporters that do not work for government agencies work as freelance reporters.




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