FREE-Secure-24/7 Access To Your Transcripts and Exhibits

So, You Want to be a Court Reporter

So You Want to be a Court ReporterThere are few jobs that are more in demand than court reporters right now. There is a major shortage all around the country. Here, CourtScribes will show you the steps. So, you want to be a court reporter? Well, here is what you need to know.


Court reporters, also known as stenographers or shorthand reporters are the professionals that are hired to ensure that all words spoken as well as the gestures of a proceeding are recorded to produce an accurate transcript.


These guardians court records are required to be impartial, reliable, responsible, and they must be properly trained and certified to expertly perform their job.


With outstanding employment and salary potential, it’s no wonder many are pursuing careers in court reporting and stenography. But before you embark on a career as a court reporter, you must complete a comprehensive program in court reporting. You also must satisfy requirements for licensure or certification that is required in many states.


1. Choosing Your Career Path

There are a number of paths you could choose in a career in court reporting. It is important to find a path of interest before beginning a court reporter program.


The International Realtime Court Reporting Institute offers online programs at all levels, from basic and retraining courses in speech-to-text technology to advanced CAT system training in Eclipse Vox.
Although all court reporter programs have the same, basic structure for preparing students for state licensure and/or professional certification, many schools do divide their programs in a number of ways to best prepare students for specific areas of court reporting. Others provide a more comprehensive approach to court reporting.


Some schools provide a wider approach, which allows the students to study in a number of areas within the profession. This includes:

  • Judicial Reporting – The record keeping of court proceedings, depositions & administrative hearings.
  • Closed/Broadcast Captioning – The providing of live feeds to a broadcast network.
  • CART (Communications Access Realtime Reporting) – Specialized services for deaf and those who are hard-of-hearing.


Other programs may separate court reporter programs by:

  • Court reporting/Stenography – This stenography method utilizes a computer and a stenotype machine for closed/broadcast captioning, judicial reporting, and CART.
  • Court reporting/Voice writing – This involves the speaking into a ‘stenomask’ device that feeds the reporter’s voice into specialized voice recognition and translation software on a laptop computer. This is very hi-tech.


2. Preparing for the Program

One thing the students have to bite the bullet and do is that they must purchase their own manual stenotype machine. These usually cost between $100 and $250. Most schools don’t endorse paperless writers. They feel it is important that writers learn to read paper notes.


Students are then often required to rent or purchase a model computerized writer for CAT classes. Purchasing a new computerized writer can be very expensive. Like costing upwards of $2,000 expensive. Used models can be purchased for as little as $400. That does offer a little bit of a break. Since the cost is on the high side, many students choose to rent these models. Software for the computerized writers may also cost an additional $100 to $500.


Students need to also be prepared to take entrance exams prior to being accepted into a court reporter program. These exams are usually in typing and English. Students should have a firm grasp of the English language before applying to a court reporter program.


3. Completing the Program

The path to a court reporting career is standard in terms of education. Individuals must complete a recognized court reporting program. Where this education is obtained may differ, as court reporting programs are available in a number of institutions. This ranges from community colleges to dedicated court reporter schools. A court reporting program may result in an associate’s degree or professional diploma or certificate, depending on the institution in which the program is located.


Court reporting programs tend to be quite flexible. Many institutions offer a number of online courses and day and evening classes to accommodate today’s busy lifestyles. Some programs, especially those in dedicated court reporter schools and technical schools even offer combination court reporting programs that include online academics with hands-on speed classes taken on-site.


Because court reporting programs are designed to prepare students to achieve state licensure and/or professional certification, they must contain a similar curriculum. Students must be able to achieve a minimum skills standard for machine shorthand which, according to the National Court Reporters Association, is

  • Literary at 180 words per minute
  • Jury charge at 200 words per minute
  • Testimony/Q&A at 225 words per minute


Most court reporting programs deal with shorthand. Most specifically, the mastery of it. A minimum accuracy must be achieved in machine shorthand. This is usually 97 percent accuracy. Most programs also require students to achieve a minimum, average grade in both speed-building classes and coursework.


In addition to teaching students the skills through the use of a stenography machine and often computer-aided real-time technology, court reporting programs are designed to provide a comprehensive education in:

  • English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
  • Medical and Legal Terminology
  • Legal Studies
  • Research
  • Transcript Procedures
  • Technology


4.  Meeting Licensing Requirements

Depending on the state in which one practices their court reporting, a state license may be required. Most states that require licensing either have their own court reporting examinations, which consist of both a written examination and a skill test, and many accept the Certified Verbatim Reporter’s examination (CVR) through the National Verbatim Reporters Association or the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) designation through the National Court Reporters Association in lieu of state exams.

Even states in which no licensing requirements exist, it is common to find many employers seeking the RPR designation, which is the entry-level designation for the National Court Reporters Association.


We here at, know about the shortage of court reporters and how important it is to continue to train those who have an interest in court reporting. The faster you train, the faster you can get going embarking on your new career. Courtrooms are not going anywhere. Why not get certified, get into the courtroom and let your fingers start typing away.