As of 2012, there were 21,200 court reporters in the U.S., and you could become one of them. A career as a court reporter can be challenging, but incredibly engaging, interesting and exciting. You’ll get to be at the forefront of important local, statewide, and maybe even national cases before they even make to to major media outlets.
However, when you are warned as to the difficulties of this field, there is no exaggeration. The minimum speed needed to become certified by the NCRA is 225 words per minute, and sometimes there are distractions in a court room that make it hard to gain accurate transcriptions. Check out these tips to help you when training to work for a court reporting service:
Familiarize Yourself With the Field
Besides the skills needed to be an actual reporter, you’ll also need the skills to understand what you are hearing and be able to recognize words. Legalese isn’t always easy to get, so taking some introductory courses in legal courtroom procedure might be a good idea before applying to a court reporting agency.
Get Some Practice
Getting practice both in school, at a job or internship, and at home is the key to success in this field. Students should be prepared to spend as many as 15 hours every week transcribing the spoken word in order to develop the necessary skills they’ll need to become a national court reporter.
In order to officially start your career as a court reporter, you’ll need to get certified. The court reporting education program and certification process can take about 33 months, so plan accordingly! While you are in training, it is a good idea to try to get some hands on experience with an internship or job in the courtroom. Certification will certainly prepare you for your future job — it differs from certification program to program, but the normal requirements are: the ability to capture 225 testimony words per minute, the ability to transcribe 200 jury charge words per minute, and 180 literary words per minute with 95% accuracy.
Get started on your exciting new career as a national court reporter as soon as possible!