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A Great Job that Makes Great Money

The Purpose of a Reporter
A court reporter is one who transcribes spoken or recorded speech into written form to orchestrate official transcripts of court proceedings, depositions, and other official hearings. It is of vital importance that court proceedings are recorded delineating every word, so as they be noted for official present and future reference. It takes about two to four years to undergo the most basic formal training for court reporting before engaging in live (or at home if dealing with recorded proceedings) court sessions. As it is of great importance to the judicial system, the occupation of court reporting can be a very rewarding experience for a qualified candidate. Opportunities are increasing within the field culminating in prestige and great pay for those qualified.

Court reporters either work for court agencies to conduct their work in court or can work as freelancers. Freelancers may also engage in the court environment through an agency or work as an independent contractor. The nature of the job entails making suggestions in regards to proper procedure, doing research, along with allowing court processions to be recorded in real time.

The services of court reporters are also requested in situations that require official legal transcripts such as arbitration meetings, public events, religious services, webcasts, and educational proceedings. Retired reporters are often sought after by television producers and stations to provide closed captioning for the hearing impaired.

"Justice is truth in action."

The area of earnings has recently been of interest for those seeking out the profession with reporters making traditionally between thirty to seventy-thousand dollars a year; yet now, some reporters salaries have rivaled that of attorneys whose speech they transcribe.

More Money Given To Reporters
There has never been a great interest generated as far as people being drawn to the field, but the great importance of the position, and service provided, has recently caused a rise in the number of candidates needed and salary given for those who apply. According to industry statistics, the normal pay has been augmented to the sixty-five thousand dollar range, with some reporters making over one hundred thousand a year. This recent boost stems from about ten years ago; when word got around that the conditions and importance did not match up with the money provided. The number of reporters and those who referred to the field began to decline.

As stated, the reason reporters began to become jaded was the parameters of the job did not accurately match the pay. A court reporter must accurately transcribe at least two hundred words per minute, which is not a walk in the park for the average set of fingers. A normal conversation consists of about one hundred and twenty words a minute, but court proceedings may run a bit more speedily, with the average word a minute range escalating to over one hundred and eighty words a minute. Most of us are not blessed with such agility in our fingers, so reporters must undergo daily practice to become that fast. Schooling available through community college and reporting schools cost about six thousand dollars a year. This number does not seem too expensive in considering what one can earn once they complete the schooling, but the tuition is just one aspect of the training to consider.


It seems to be a common misconception that attending school for court reporting is very comparable to attending a trade school. Many people going to school for court reporting will find that the challenges of learning the logistics and procuring the speed needed, does not leave a great deal of time for having a job and taking care of family matters as well. Most professionals will encourage one going through school for reporting, to devote themselves full time into the venture.

"We can best get justice by doing justice."

Some had thought that the evolution of technology would make the occupation of court reporters obsolete, but the opposite has become true. There have been many disasters involved in the malfunction and inconsistency of sound and video recorders. Professionals have stated that the presence of a reporter in the courtroom must not be underestimated. Reporters can ask those in the room to reiterate what was said, make their voices more easily heard, and shun irrelevant courtroom noise, which something a mechanical device cannot exercise.

The recent buzz about court reporting has been fostered by a growing need of reporters in the United States. Services are now needed in a great deal of other areas besides the traditional court room setting. As stated, transcription will need to be provided in school, religious, and business venues. The Federal Communications Commission required that ninety-five percent of all television programming have closed captioning for the hearing impaired since the beginning of 2006. The genesis of new cable and satellite channels will contribute to the multitude of transcription that will be in demand.


To become certified, along with the schooling, one must pass a rigorous set of testing. In California for instance, the two-day, three-part test is offered only twice a year and consists of an English test, a dictation and transcription test, and a test on legal and medical terminology. Less than half the people who engage in the test pass all three parts in one try. The number of people taking and passing the test has decreased in recent years. In 1995, 444 out of 1,196 people who took the tests passed. In 2001, 496 took the exams and only 90 of them passed all three.

"Of all the things of a mans soul which he has within him, justice is the greatest good and injustice the greatest evil."


Agencies and court systems that employ court reporters forecast that the growing pay and importance of the occupation is going to propel more people to become intrigued. The growing number of channels on television in conjunction with the 2006 standard of the Federal Communications Commission will certainly cause a need for reporting. Also, podcasting, which involves websites providing news, interviews, insights, and other germane factors of their business through audio, will increase the need for websites to also have this supplied in text for the hearing impaired. So as the salary will allow extrinsic opportunity, and the need and prestige will offer intrinsic value to the career, we will see an influx of those who are willing to put their fingers to work.

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