Job description

Court reporters transcribe verbatim everything that is said inside of a courtroom during trials, hearings, depositions, tribunals and meetings. They use shorthand, voice writing equipment or machine shorthand to produce official word-for-word transcripts of a criminal case, corporate takeover or medical disciplinary hearing.

Duties

    • Type at the speed of human speech, which is typically 225 words per minute
    • Maintain roughly $7,000 worth of equipment and ensure it is working properly
    • Keep records of court proceedings and ensure names, case numbers or charges are accurate
    • Provide closed captions of recorded shows or live broadcasts
    • Produce transcripts for the court, corporation or attorneys – sometimes on short notice
    • Manage digital voice recording equipment and software
    • Jot down annotations and supplementary information for later transcription
    • Travel outside the country if it involves Canadian law or a Canadian legal professional
    • Request speakers to clarify inaudible statements
    • Proofread to verify the accuracy of the transcriptions
    • Read a portion of the transcripts when requested by any of the participating parties

Skills, qualities and knowledge

Grammar and spelling
Stamina
Attention detail
Typing
Punctual
Neutrality
Organisational
Time management
Communication
Listening
Confidence
Determined

Working hours and environment

Average working hours

40hweek

Typical schedule

Full Time

Standard business hours

A court reporter, if employed by a firm, will complete a 40-hour workweek. Many court reporters are freelancers, so they can set their own hours and work whenever they wish. But it is common for these professionals to work overtime if parties agree to go beyond 5pm, requested to travel outside the country on business, or you are called on a rush job.

Also, attorneys will work through breaks and lunch, which requires the court reporter to transcribe without a trip to the bathroom or without a lunch – a court reporter should never stop transcribing unless someone requests to go off the record.

Salary

Bottom 10%

$28k

Median

$57k

Top 10%

$100k

Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

Undergraduate

DVM / VMD degree

Study time

2years

To become a court reporter, you must complete the requirements of a vocational school or finish a two-year college court reporting programme. It is said that the faster you type and the more accurate you are, then the quicker you can graduate and enter the workforce. Experts also recommend graduates to gain certification from the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.

3%

No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.

700

Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.

50%

Career progression

Because there is very little room for advancement, court reporters concentrate on their typing speeds, accuracy and rush jobs. Ultimately, the harder you work and the more versatile you are – knowledge of communication access real-time translation (CART) or broadcast closed captioning is beneficial – then the higher your income will be.