We see trials play out on TV; and in a less dramatic sense, many people see the inside of a courtroom at some point in their lifetimes, whether due to a traffic violation or jury duty. What some may not realize is exactly how important court reporters are, and how challenging, exciting, and valuable the job can be. In a struggling economy, court reporting is a necessary job, with the employment of court reporters expected to leap 10%, from 2012 to 2022. If you’re considering this career path … and with good reason … here are a few things you can expect.
1. Yes, You Can Become A Court Reporter
While it may not be a “standard” career that comes to mind, court reporting is a serious enterprise, with 2012 seeing 21,200 court reporters employed in the U.S. alone. Professional court reporting does require a certain level of education. Nevertheless, that education takes up less time than many other degrees, as the court reporting education program and certification processes averages at finishing after only 33.3 months. It’s something that a person can do while maintaining a life, and even a family.
2. You Do Need To Be Fast
If you want to be a court reporter, you need to remember that speed is a necessity. In fact, the Nation Court Reporters Association requires a certain level of proficiency for a court reporter to be certified. That level is a full 225 words per minute. Stenographic court reporters can expect something a little bit different. A stenography machine can record the spoken word in shorthand at speeds of up to 225 words per minute.
3. Yes, It Does Involve Work … And Practice!
Court reporters do not have a perfectly simple job … it’s a real profession, and should be treated and respected as such. A student studying to be a court reporter is expected to practice up to 15 hours per week to achieve the level of speed required for the job. The fact is that just as court reporting is a real job, the study of court reporting and learning how to be a court reporter is a real study and requires dedication.
4. It’s Not Just About Writing
It’s true that the average court reporting service requires writing and transcribing the goings on of court. However, there are plenty of other things that court reporters can become qualified in, such as video court reporting. A legal videographer would film court proceedings, including a video deposition … creating a different sort of transcript. Videography is just another skill set that court reporters can use in what is a surprisingly exciting job.
Before you become a court reporter, make sure the job is right for you. But also remember … this is a job that could lead you down an exciting path to the future!