Is a court reporting career right for you?

As the top court reporting company in the U.S., Atkinson-Baker takes pride in employing the most competent and accurate court reporters in the industry. Achieving excellence in the field of court reporting requires expert training and experience in this vital field. Understanding the requirements necessary to become a court reporter can help in determining if this career path is a viable option for aspiring legal professionals.

Initial educational requirements

Court reporters typically achieve initial certification at a technical institute or in a community college setting. These training programs usually last two years or less and include courses in typing, grammar and spelling, legal terms and concepts, and courtroom procedures. Students also practice their transcription skills directly in conditions similar to those they will experience in the course of their careers. In most cases, a typing speed test may be required to ensure that these aspiring court reporters have the technical skills necessary to succeed in this demanding field.

Licensing and certification

Most states require court reporters who practice within their borders to be licensed or certified in the field. The major organizations responsible for licensing and certifying court reporters include the following:

  • The National Court Reporters Association offers a Registered Professional Reporter certification upon the completion of a three-part shorthand speed test and a written examination. This certification is accepted by 22 states and provides solid evidence for potential employers that the court reporter is well qualified to perform his or her duties.
  • For digital and voice court reporters, the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers offers Certified Electronic Transcriber and Certified Electronic Reporter qualifications after the successful completion of a skills test and a written test.
  • The National Verbatim Reporters Association also offers certification for voice court reporters.

Some states also offer certification and licensing examinations for court reporters. These qualifications often provide added opportunities in the job market and may be required by employers or state oversight agencies.

Where court reporters work

Most court reporters work on behalf of judicial institutions at the federal, state, or local level. These legal professionals typically perform their duties in the courtroom and are responsible for producing clear and accurate transcripts of all activities during the course of a trial or hearing. Other court reporters take depositions on behalf of legal firms or individual attorneys and may travel throughout the year to acquire these sworn statements from witnesses across the U.S. or even around the globe. Court reporters may also be called upon to produce transcripts of the votes, activities,and discussions held by various legislative bodies.

Other employment options

The skills necessary for success as a court reporter can also translate directly into other fields of endeavor. Court reporters can provide captioning services for television programs and may be employed to create similar captions for corporate presentations. The ability to take dictation quickly and accurately can also be useful in gaining employment as a personal assistant or administrative professional. In the academic environment, court reporting skills can be put to good use in helping those with hearing disabilities to understand and assimilate course materials.

Essential characteristics of successful court reporters

A few basic traits are necessary to achieve success in the court reporting field. Attention to detail is a critical attribute for court reporters; even a small transcription error can have a significant effect on the outcome of a case or the testimony of a witness.  A high degree of focus and concentration is also required to ensure that every word uttered in the courtroom is transcribed accurately. Court reporters must have excellent spelling, grammar, and comprehension skills to produce the best results for their clients and to ensure the integrity of courtroom proceedings.

Atkinson-Baker’s court reporters are highly trained and maintain all required qualifications to ensure that the transcripts they produce are accurate and that the turnaround time is fast. The right educational background and certifications can provide solid evidence of excellence for attorneys and other legal entities in need of court reporting services. By working with an established company to record depositions, hearings, and other legal proceedings, clients can ensure the most effective solutions for their court reporting needs.