Is Court Reporting a Good Career?

The court reporting profession has been around for a long time, and the opportunities for these highly trained professionals continue to grow. While most of us think of a court reporter as the person who reports legal proceedings in the courtroom, there are many other fields that require the expertise of a court reporter.Besides CART (computer-aided real-time reporting, also known as communication access real-time reporting), real-time captioning, freelance reporting and official reporting, court reporters also work in the arena of convention reporting, where they report the meetings and seminars for various state and national conventions.Another field where court reporters are in high demand is congressional reporting, where they work in state legislatures, the halls of Congress, and even the United Nations.

While there are many different fields of court reporting, they all begin with the same educational requirements, which include two to four years of post-high school education from an accredited court reporting program. There are currently 69 nationally accredited colleges and business schools in 29 states and Canada that offer training in this unique profession.

If a court reporter chooses to specialize in real-time captioning, an additional two to four months of training is required. This training is usually conducted at the home office of the captioning company.

CART reporters, freelance court reporters and official court reporters are also trained in real-time reporting, which is now included in the overall court reporting curriculum. In most states, both freelance and official court reporters are required to be certified in that state. Although the certification requirements vary somewhat from state to state, most state certifications include a written examination that tests the court reporter’s knowledge in various fields, such as medicine, business, communications and technology, as well as law, and a skills examination on literary material at 180 words per minute, jury charge at 200 words per minute and testimony at 225 words per minute, with at least 95 percent accuracy.

Additionally, there are national certifications that many court reporters strive to attain, such as the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), Registered Diplomat Reporter (RDR), Certified Real-Time Reporter (CRR), Certified CART Provider (CCP), Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) and Certified Manager of Reporting Services (CMRS).

Take a look at four of these court reporting specialties to get a glimpse of how rewarding this career can be.
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