Is Court Reporting a Good Career Choice?

Choosing a career can be one of the most difficult choices one may face in their life, but it doesn’t have to be scary. A good first step is to research different fields that align with your passions.

Have you ever thought about pursuing a career in court reporting? Court reporting can be a rewarding career for someone who enjoys law, the written word, and the flexibility to do different types of work that may or may not have anything to do with a courtroom. Court reporters are needed all over the country, and if you find yourself wanting to experience Florida’s Gulf Coast, maybe you’ll end up becoming one of many court reporters in West Palm Beach.

But if you’re still unsure whether court reporting is the career for you, take the following into consideration.

What is court reporting?

Court reporters, or shorthand reporters, are conventionally known for being those people in the courtroom who transcribe the court proceedings in criminal, civil, and other cases in real time. Court reporters are usually able to type over 200 words per minute during their verbatim documentation.

Sadly, court reporting has become somewhat of an overlooked profession, but they are just as essential as they have always been. According to Court Reporter EDU, court reporters are “silent guardians of the record,” and these records are reviewed by judges, attorneys, and other officials to see precisely what was said in a courtroom. Also, with the written record, it gives future generations the opportunity to look back on important precedents to help improve the rights of American citizens.

How do you become a court reporter?

To become a court reporter, it takes a lot of training because reporters need working knowledge of certain principles, the ability to use a stenograph, and a typing speed of over 200 words per minute (although mastering a stenograph makes this easier). There are several programs available at different colleges that offer the necessary training. For those who simply do not find in-person training convenient, online classes are also available.

The amount of time it takes to complete these programs varies, but it usually takes more than one year to complete. Once you finish your training, you must pass one exam or more that will get you the certifications you need to be eligible for a job. As you continue on, the National Court Reporters Association can be a helpful tool in providing professional resources, helping you schedule exams and providing a list of certified court reporter education programs around the country.

Is there more to court reporting?

Though court reporters are traditionally known to be in courtrooms, typing every word spoken by those involved in court proceedings, the training and certifications you receive do not limit you to the courtroom. Shorthand reporters are needed in government and even on television. There are several ways that certified court reporters can find work in other areas:

  • Closed captioning: You may have the opportunity to work for news and talk shows, and real-time captioning is usually used during live events like sports.
  • Communications Access Real-Time Reporting (CART): This provides services for deaf and hard of hearing people in live situations in classrooms, and during speeches.
  • Webcasting: You provide real-time services for web-based events for corporations and press conferences.

In this digital age, court reporting is just as important as ever, with new technology making things a lot easier for reporters to record the written word. Whether you are behind the scenes in the television world or attending depositions in the courtroom, this career is rewarding and may just be the right fit for you.

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