When thinking of a heated courtroom setting, you probably think of the determined lawyers competing against one another, the jury looking ahead in disbelief or boredom, or the judge demanding order in the court. Few people think of the person responsible for recording all of this excitement: the court reporter. Court reporters play such a vital role in the court system, and yet they are always just out of frame.
What is court reporting?
Court reporting is a verbatim transcription of legal proceedings. Court reporters use a steno machine, which is a word processer that uses a modified 22-button keyboard. This allows the court reporters to use shorthand and phonetically “write” the transcription. Court reporters are highly skilled, as they have to quickly write everything being said during the legal proceedings to produce an accurate record.
Why is court reporting so important?
Recording history has long been a part of civilization. Court reporters are responsible for recording legal proceedings in order for attorneys, judges, and litigants to use. Court reporters can also work outside of the courtroom, providing captions in real time for board meetings, conferences, live television programs, etc.
What are the benefits of becoming a court reporter?
- Less School: It typically takes about two to four years to complete the educational requirements for court reporting and stenography. This can either result in a certificate or an associate’s degree, depending on the program. Next, a reporter may need to obtain a license, depending on each state.
- Lower Tuition: A two-year program costs significantly less than four-year programs, which means that a court reporter will have fewer (if any) loans after graduation.
- Higher Income: The median annual wage of court reporters is around $53,010 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, experienced court reporters that travel can earn up to six figures during their career. Court reporters can also do freelance work and charge a per-page fee, earning more money.
- Job Security: A study by the National Court Reporters Association predicted a shortage of court reporters beginning in 2018 due to so many current court reporters reaching retirement age. This means there will be a surplus of openings for new graduates. Court reporters also can work in more than just legal settings. They can work as broadcast captioners to provide closed captions for television programs. They can also work as Communication Access Real-Time Translation providers to assist hearing impaired individuals. There is a variety of job options available to them.
- Flexible Schedules: As mentioned, court reporters have a variety of work options. Some work full-time at specific locations for specific courts or judges. Other full-time court reporters travel across the country to attend depositions and trials. Freelancing is another option court reporters have. Freelancers can work from their homes, and work as much or as little as they like.
At PohlmanUSA, we are always looking to add to our talented team. If you have completed the educational and certificate requirements for court reporting, visit www.pohlmanusa.com/careers to view available positions. To learn more about court reporting and litigation services, visit: http://pohlmanusa.com/our-services/court-reporting/.