How To Become a Court Reporter

Becoming a licensed CSR requires passing a three-part licensing exam, usually after attending a State-approved court reporting school. Having an out-of-state license or appropriate work experience can also qualify you for the exam. CSR school programs are designed to take three to four years.

Only about 27% of court reporters in the United States, according to the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), S. actually work in court. The remainder work in law offices or in offices rented by lawyers in a neutral, third-party setting as freelance reporters covering depositions of potential trial witnesses.

According to the U. S. According to the 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median national annual salary for court reporters is $61,660. Depending on the field of specialization, the location, the number of years of experience, and a number of other variables, actual salaries may differ significantly. Many court reporters who are paid a salary supplement their income by taking on more freelance work. Court reporters who work for themselves are paid by the job and by the page for transcripts.

Things to know before starting Court Reporting School

Average court reporter salary

The general steps to start a court reporting career are as follows:

1. Choose your career path

Many programs separate court reporting into multiple paths. Judicial reporting, closed or broadcast captioning, or Communication Access Realtime Reporting (CART) are some divisions that some people make.

Other programs might separate court reporting into stenography and voice writing, respectively.

2. Enroll in and prepare for the court reporter program

Community colleges, technical schools, and specialized court reporter schools all offer court reporting programs. Online programs also exist. There are some courses that could include an associate’s degree and demand additional general education. Only professional diplomas or court reporting certificates are awarded by other programs.

You will need to take an entrance exam to get ready for a court reporter program, which typically assesses your typing and English language abilities.

You’ll probably need to invest in your own manual stenotype machine, which costs between $100 and $250. You might also need to buy or rent a model computerized writer. While models typically cost around $400, new writers may cost up to $2,000. Additionally, you might need to buy specialized writing software for computers.

3. Complete a court reporter program

Court reporting courses cover court reporting procedures, court transcription, and machine shorthand. In order to graduate from a reporting program, you typically need to achieve 95% accuracy on all of your dictation tests and pass the following courses:

The Registered Professional Reporter designation, which is acknowledged by 22 states, requires that programs be accredited by the National Court Reporters Association.

4. Complete an internship

While not necessary, an internship offers the chance to put what you have learned in the classroom to use in a working environment. An internship enables you to work with a seasoned reporter to improve your abilities and learn new information about the field. Given that court reporters work in a variety of settings, think carefully about where you want to do your internship. Make an effort to secure an internship at a courthouse if you want to work on trials.

5. Meet state licensing requirements

It’s important to familiarize yourself with your state’s requirements because depending on the state you want to practice in, you might need a state license. You must succeed on both a written test and a skills test to become licensed. Instead of a state licensing exam, many states accept the Certified Verbatim Reporter exam offered by the National Verbatim Reporters Association, or the RPR.

A passing grade for the RPR designation is a minimum of 70%. 115 multiple-choice questions covering technology (22%), reporting practices (62%), and professional practices (16%) are included in the written portion.

The NCRA exam covers transcription skills. Candidates must accurately transcribe their notes in less than 75 minutes for each section. The NCRAs minimum skills standard for machine shorthand is:

The written portion of the CVR exam, which assesses knowledge of verbatim records, transcript production, and professional practices, also has a minimum score requirement of 70%. The five-minute dictations that make up the skills portion must meet the same machine shorthand proficiency standards as the NCRA exam.

What does a court reporter do?

During court hearings, depositions, and other proceedings, a court reporter, also known as a stenographer or shorthand reporter, converts spoken or recorded speech into written text. To create official transcripts, court reporters use voice recording equipment, machine shorthand, or shorthand. Reporters primarily collaborate with local, state, and federal governments as well as private law firms. They may also work with trade associations and non-profits.

FAQs about court reporting

The following are some typical inquiries about working as a court reporter:

How do I find a job as a court reporter?

How long does it take to get my court reporter degree?

Depending on the program, obtaining a court reporter degree typically takes between 18 and 24 months. An associate degree program that includes other general studies may take longer than a fast-track program, which could last only 18 months.

Is there a professional court reporting organization I should join?

Court reporting organizations provide many benefits and resources for members. One organization is the National Court Reporters Association. The NCRA hosts conferences, seminars, forums, competitions, and workshops to support court reporters’ skill and education advancement.

What are some good resources for court reporters?

You can network with potential employers in your area by visiting the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) website, which also provides links to each state’s court reporter association. The United States Court Reporters Association (USCRA) provides resources for studying for exams, speed competitions, and a section for job searching.


Is a court reporter job hard?

From 2020 to 2030, the employment of court reporters and simultaneous captioners is anticipated to increase by 3%, which is slower than the average for all occupations. Over the next ten years, there are projected to be, on average, 2,100 openings for court reporters and simultaneous captioners.

Where do court reporters make the most money?

Court reporting is thus a huge responsibility. It is regarded as one of the world’s most stressful professions. Court reporters’ mistakes or misinterpretations could compromise an entire case. They must therefore accurately and quickly record every word and action that takes place throughout a proceeding.

What are the education requirements for a court reporter?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), court reporters earned an average annual salary of $64,990 ($28.91 per hour) as of May 2019.

According to the BLS, the top-paying states were:
  • New York: $90,040.
  • California: $87,750.
  • Massachusetts: $79,720.
  • Colorado: $73,660.
  • Maine: $71,400.

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