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Guest Author: Sam Jones

Making a Career Out of Court Reporting

If you want to know what court reporting is about, it is simply the keeping of records. A person working in this position makes transcripts of the proceedings in a court of law, recording it all, word for word. They are required for depositions and trials as well. There are some who choose to go into different fields, or take on other jobs such as creating captioning for the deaf in real time, captioning for TV, classes and taking minutes for various business meetings among others.

If you have been thinking of going into this line of business, you will need to get qualifications from a technical institute or a community college. There is no need for a degree. In these programs, you are prepared on how to become a great reporter in the courts. Should you also want to work in government or to be in various legal proceedings, you can get a state license from a professional association, an organization that is accredited or the state itself.

Is it a profession worth getting into?

Most people look for a job that they will enjoy and one that can earn them a good living. As a court reporter, you can look forward to a median pay of about $50,000 a year, which comes to about $23.80 an hour. The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor statistics approximates the profession’s growth at about 5%. If you can also provide CART (communication access real-time translation)services, your job prospects are even better.

What does training entail?

Training for this position takes a lot of practice, studying and repetition. In the first few months of study, you will be learning the stenotype shorthand used as you build your typing speed to the required 200 words per minute. With the advancements in technology, you don’t have to read off paper whenever you are asked to read what you just typed. Today, there is a dual screen which provides a side with the shorthand and another side with the fully transcribed manuscript.

This makes it easy for you because attorneys and judges in the court are able to link their laptops and also see exactly what you have captured in real time. One of the major benefits of this job is that you can work immediately after school. With many agencies looking to hire reporters for pre-trial meetings, grand juries, depositions and more, there is ready work for those who do well.

In addition, not only can you work for one client, you can also enlist with an agency which enables you to work as a freelancer. With this, you can quickly make between thirty and fifty thousand dollars a year when you are just starting out depending on the number of jobs you take on. If you are looking for a career path that is more dedicated, you should take various tests offered by the state civil service or the city, which will offer you a union job with all the benefits that come along with it.