How to Become a Court Reporter

by Shenron on January 2, 2010

Everything that is ever said in a court room is legally binding and it must be documented. Court reporters are people trained in taking notes and they record word for word everything that takes place in a court room. It’s a very stressful job simply because if any future references are made to what took place in court on any given day, they must be documented precisely. Inaccuracies could lead to misinformation being brought into a case, ultimately causing an unfair outcome. But, the stress is well worth the pay as most court reporters make above average salary for a seemingly part time job. The formal name for a court reporter is a “stenographer.”

Court Reporter 5 How to Become a Court Reporter

Because stenography isn’t something that can be picked up in a week long training program like most other jobs, education is a must. Some stenographers, depending on the type, can be trained in less than a year. But, if you want to work in the court room, you must be trained in legal terminology and how to write shorthand. This type of education can take up to three or four years to complete. Most of your time will be spent learning the ins and outs of the court room and how to properly document all of the events that take place. Just documenting what is spoken and questioned is often not enough.

The most invaluable skill you can have is the ability to type quickly. In the old days, writing freehand was the norm but nowadays with computers and the advent of spell check, typing quickly is much easier. There is no test to determine how quickly you can type but you can be sure that if you’re not able to keep up with a pace upwards of one hundred words per minute, you’ll more than likely fall behind. If you’re having trouble keeping up with a pace like that, you will want to take typing courses in addition to your traditional stenography courses.

Court Reporter How to Become a Court Reporter

Once you complete your education you will have to become certified with the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). The NCRA will more than likely be the ones overseeing your education. If you go through them, they can point you in the right direction in terms of schooling, or if you do it independently, they will more than likely be the governing body. Once you become certified you would do well to do some type of internship in a court room. You are more likely to get hired and paid if you have previous experience taking notes in court. Good luck and remember to pay close attention in the court room!

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