According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for court reporters is expected to grow by 10 percent by the year 2022. To take advantage of the job growth, you’ll first need to undergo some specific training in order to gain the skills you need to become successful. Exactly what type of court reporter training is needed? Here’s what you need to know.
Most court reporters begin their career by taking an approved training course at a vocational, technical, or community college; some will also study online or via correspondence course. Much of the training you will receive centers on teaching you to operate a stenography machine, which can allow you to type in excess of 225 words per minute. Before learning to use this machine, you may need to complete some core classes, which can include:
- Legal and/or medical terminology
- Rules of evidence
- Introduction to law and the court system
- Fundamentals of oral communication
- Composition and grammar
Once you become comfortable operating your stenograph machine, you may spend a great deal of time practicing with it in order to increase your speed. You may also participate in mock trials as a sort of practice for the work you will perform once you actually become a court reporter.
Some schools may actually allow you the opportunity to cross train in captioning. Court reporters are increasingly being used as captioners for television and Internet programming, as this type of work is performed much in the same manner.
Court Reporter Internship
While mock trials can help you become comfortable performing court reporting, nothing will prepare you for the job more than actual hands-on experience will. For this reason, many training programs will require you to complete an internship prior to graduation. During your internship, you may work in a courthouse, law office, or the office of a mediator or arbitrator. You will likely not perform court reporting duties on your own, but instead may perform them alongside a seasoned professional, who will inspect your work and give you pointers on how to improve.
Once you are actually hired as a court reporter, you will likely undergo a brief on-the-job training program that will vary based upon where you work. This training is designed to teach you best practices that will help you become more efficient at your job. You may also learn things such as:
- Basic courtroom procedures
- Legal ethics
- Rules of criminal and/or civil procedure
Certification is not required for court reporters; however, many voluntarily elect to undergo certification from an agency such as the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) or the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT). The NCRA offers certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), which requires both a written and hands-on skills test. The AAERT offers a Certified Electronic Court Reporter (CER) exam for members of their organization who have at least one year of verifiable experience. Certification exams are designed to test your knowledge of court reporting, in addition to ensuring you are able to adequately capture testimony using a stenograph machine.
Continuing Education Credits
Continuing education credits are required in order to maintain your NCRA license. Fortunately, the NCRA makes it very easy to obtain continuing education credits by offering a variety of webinars, article tests, book tests and distance learning opportunities, all of which can easily be accessed from their website. Even if you do not become certified, continuing education is still recommended to ensure you are up to date with the latest changes in court reporting technology.
Court reporter training normally takes anywhere from 12 to 24 months to become proficient at it. This means you could begin your new career as a court reporter in only a short amount of time. Get started with the right training program by contacting us today to find out more.