Students who are interested in the legal aspect of criminal justice may want to consider a career in court reporting. This is a growing field, as indicated by the figures above, which are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Court reporters are responsible for attending trials, conferences, and other legal events to transcribe what is spoken into written form. This process of documentation is vital, as it creates an indisputable record or legal and criminal proceedings, which can then be used to help convict guilty criminals. Court reporter jobs therefore require strong communication and listening skills. Additionally, court reporters should also be highly organized and observant. Some specific duties required by careers in court reporting include the following:
- Attending court proceedings, trials, and other related events.
- Transcribing dialogue, gestures, actions.
- Using equipment to record conversations.
- Editing all documents for errors.
Also known as court stenographers, court reporters have been around for many centuries, even appearing in history as early as Ancient Rome. As technology developed and advanced the way people take notes and record events, the responsibilities of the court reporter evolved. Today, the Internet has increased the need for captioning both within and outside of the courtroom. As a result, court reporters are in high demand.
Job Growth for
Becoming a Court Reporter
Before qualifying for their careers, prospective court reporters must earn a high school diploma or GED. Then, upon fulfilling those requirements, they must acquire some higher education. Students have the choice of pursuing certificates in court reporting or associate degrees in court reporting. Whereas both will give students the skills they need to find adequate employment, the associate degree usually takes longer to complete and involves more instruction on the different equipment and methods used in transcription.
Regardless of the degree or certificate level, all court reporting programs should include classes that teach students about proper English, legal terminology, and transcription processes. Students should also learn how to edit documents and prepare files. Some specific classes that court reporting students will take include the following:
- Machine Shorthand
- Reporting Technology
- Legal Document Processing
- Speed and Accuracy Building
In addition to the education qualifications, some states require court reporters to seek licensure before they can establish careers. Licensing requirements will typically vary and may include a certification exam. Although some states provide their own certification or licensing exam, 22 states use the Registered Professional Reporter exam, which is administered by the National Court Reporters Association. Even if certification is not required by a specific state, court reporters may still want to consider taking the exam, as it could improve job prospects and wages.