If you’re interested in becoming a court reporter, one of the biggest things you may be concerned with is how much money you can make. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that court reporter salary trends show very promising earning potential for those who choose this profession.
2012 vs. 2014 Figures
BLS data shows that the median annual wage for court reporters was $48,160 per year in May 2012, which amounted to an average of $23.15 per hour. That same agency reports that in May 2014, the mean annual wage was $55,000, or approximately $26.44 per hour. The median annual wage is the point at which half of all workers make more and the other half make less. The mean annual wage on the other hand is an average of all figures used in a particular calculation. The fact that they are not the same thing could account for the difference between the two figures. Even so, higher wages is likely to have played a role in the increase as well.
High and Low Pay Scale Numbers
The amount of earnings can fluctuate a great deal based on a number of factors. Those on the lower end of the pay scale may earn approximately $12.82 per hour, for an expected annual salary of around $26,670. On the other hand, workers on the higher end of the pay scale can earn more than triple that amount. Those in the 90th percentile earnings wise can earn as much as $45.26 per hour, for an annual wage that amounts to over $91,140.
A court reporter’s salary could also vary based upon the industry in which he or she works. Those who work for local or state governments tend to make more than $58,000 per year. Stenographers working for the federal executive branch of government earn slightly less, making just over $57,000 each year. The next highest categories are business support services, where court reporters can expect to make around $46,290 per year, and employment services, which offer salaries of approximately $43,370 annually.
Salary also varies by geographic location, primarily because the cost of living fluctuates widely in different areas. States where court reporters are paid the most money are:
- New York, (hourly mean wage of $42.51 and an annual mean wage of $88,420)
- California, (hourly mean wage of $40.59 and an annual mean wage of $84,430)
- Colorado, (hourly mean wage of $36.03 and an annual mean wage of $74,950)
- Iowa, (hourly mean wage of $30.97 and an annual mean wage of $64,430)
- Texas, (hourly mean wage of $29.78 and an annual mean wage of $61,950)
Highest Paying Cities
Court reporters in certain cities can also make more money than average. Many of the highest-paying cities on the list are located in California, which is the second-highest paying state overall. California cities where court reporters are paid higher wages include:
- San Francisco (where the annual mean wage is $101,680)
- Los Angeles ( a city with an annual mean wage of $96,570)
- San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles (where workers earn an annual mean wage of $88,380)
- Oakland (reporting an annual mean wage of $81,700)
Other cities where court reporters can earn higher salaries include:
- New York City (a metropolitan area where court reports earn an annual mean wage of $91,810)
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (where stenographers make an annual mean wage of $83,010)
- Denver, CO (a city reporting an annual mean wage of $81,270 for court reporters)
- Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY (where the annual mean wage for court reporters is $80,120)
Court reporters have such incredible earnings potential that some attorneys often joke about becoming stenographers themselves. The amount of money you earn may vary from the figures shown here, but should nonetheless be enough to provide you with a comfortable lifestyle. To get started on a training program that will enable you to command a lucrative salary, please contact us.