How to Become a Court Reporter

How would you like to get training in a profession where employment is expected to grow at 18 percent until 2018? The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that this is a field where the growth rate is faster than average for most occupations. That means more opportunities for jobs and a chance to earn regular income plus all the other benefits. All these can be found in the area of court reporting.

Court reporters are the modern day scribes. They make written records of events that transpired, usually in legal proceedings and other events where an accurate and complete verbatim account of all that was discussed in the meeting are needed. Traditional workplaces for court reporters are courtrooms, attorneys' offices and legislatures. But because of the continued growth of the Internet and the growing demand of services for the hard-of-hearing and the deaf, many reporters who specialize in Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) are now working in their own home offices as freelancers.

If you have a penchant for accuracy then court reporting could be the job for you. But how do you become a court reporter?

First of all, you need to be trained for it and the kind of education and training you will need depends on the kind of reporting that you wish to focus in. You can be a novice writer in a year's time although you will need to give yourself a couple of years if you want to be really good at real-time voice writing. You can learn the basic skills on the job but most employers, whether private or the government, are more inclined to hire those who have undergone training in any of the 100 vocational school and colleges all over the nation. There are currently around 60 programs in stenotype computer-aided transcription and real-time reporting certified by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).

A very important trait that aspiring court reporters will need to have is fast-typing skills. The programs offered by the NCRA requires that you be able to capture 225 words per minute. This is also a Federal employment requirement. Some states also require that applicants pass state-specific licensure requirements that will make them a Certified Court Reporter (CCR). However, the National Verbatim Reporters Association has three national certifications for voice writers which can stand in lieu of state exams. These are the Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR), Certificate of Merit (CM) and Real-Time Verbatim Reporter (RVR).

For career advancement, you can take certification exams offered by The National Court Reporters Association. After passing specific tests, you can either become a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), a Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) or a Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR). These are voluntary but they make you more appealing to prospective employers.

Keen listening skills, an excellent grasp of the language and the ability to work under pressure are also essential to become a successful court reporter. For those who want to work in courts, knowledge of legal terminology is essential as well.

If you believe that you have what it takes to be a Court Reporter, then the first step is the Court Reporter Exam Study Guide that walks you through the entire Border Patrol hiring process.

For more information, go to our page for the Court Reporter Exam Study Guide

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