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ncra-logoIf you read the blogs at CourtScribes, then you know we have pointed out how many court reporters have recently retired and new court reporters are sorely needed. The National Court Reporters Association estimates a shortage of 5,000 court reporters throughout the United States.

“There will be a crisis point in about a decade if things don’t change,” said Tammy Bumgarner, director of court reporting services for the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. “Right now, the average age of our court reporters in Illinois is 52 years old, and 75 percent are, right now, eligible for retirement. More than 400 court reporters will have to be replaced in the next 10 years.”

A court reporter is the one responsible for making a full stenographic report of the evidence and all other proceedings presented during a trial, a hearing, a deposition or any other legal proceedings. The primary function is to make a verbatim record of all testimony. Sometimes upon request, court reporters can even produce a written transcript of the proceeding. The reporter must be excellent with grammar and spelling. Having an extensive vocabulary, particularly legal, medical and technical terminology is a major benefit as well.


What Do the Research & Studies Say

According to an industry outlook study, 5,000 to 5,500 court reporters nationwide will retire over the next several years, creating a huge and steady demand for new professionals entering the field.

The starting salary for a court reporter can vary depending on location, experience, education, certifications and other skills. The average annual pay in 2018 was $68,560, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

The old idea of a court reporter taking notes on a steno pad, or a machine with an endless feed of paper, is long gone. It has been replaced by the modern-day paperless real-time translation technology that displays a spoken word on a computer screen almost as soon as it is said.

A court reporter uses a steno machine (also called a writer), pressing a combination of 22 keys to take down what is being said at a speed of 225 words per minute. Each key represents a phonetic sound, which is translated by the computer program into English words.


Why are Electronic Recordings Better

Electronic recordings can be used as a back-up, but the court’s primary concern is to have an accurate record. Court reporters can distinguish between multiple speakers and context of what is being said. Unfortunately these can get lost in audio recordings.

A court reporter is mandated in cases involving adoption, felonies, juveniles, juvenile abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, mental health and non-public interviews of children.

What Do You Need to Be a Court Reporter

Forbes has named court reporting as one of the best career options that does not require a traditional four-year degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the court reporting field is expected to grow by 14 percent through the year 2020. The National Court Reporters Association offers a program called “A to Z,” which provides free, six-week trial classes to test a student’s interest.

Few enrollees finish the class and acquire their certificates. Out of a class of 40, one or two will get theirs.

The length of time for certification depends on how driven the person is. supports all states and programs that aid in the court reporting world, and we too are ready to serve you in your court reporting, videography services, interpreters, live-streaming, and video-to-text synchronization.

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