Court Reporters create word for word transcriptions using a stenotype machine. If you would like to work in a court of law or in broadcast television, continue reading to learn about this rewarding career.
How Much Court Reporters Make?
The National Court Reporters Association conducted a survey that determined the average salary for court reporters is $64,672. Those who hold salaried positions for broadcast captioners range from $45,000 to $75,000, independent contractors earn at least $36,000 (usually it’s much more), and CART providers earn anywhere from $35,000 to $65,000 annually.
Top Paying States for Court Reporters
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top paying states are:
- New York – $88,420
- California – $84,430
- Colorado – $74,950
- Iowa – $64,430
- Texas – $61,950
States with the Highest Level of Employment for this Occupation
If you cannot find a court reporter job where you live, consider relocating to Maryland, California, Texas, Florida, or New York as these states have the highest employment level. Though some may have a high cost of living, so be sure to determine that before making the move.
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Court Reporters
Below is a list of the top paying metropolitan areas for this profession along with the annual mean wage for each location:
- San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California Metropolitan Division – $101,680
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California Metropolitan Division – $91,810
- New York-White Plains-Wayne, New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Division – $91,810
- San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, California – $88,380
- Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas Metropolitan Division – $83,010
- Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas Metropolitan Division – $83,010
- Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario, California -$82,940
- Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, California Metropolitan Division – $81,700
- Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colorado – $81,270
- Buffalo-Niagra Falls, New York – $80,120
Most court reporters earn an Associate of Applied Science degree, though certificates and Bachelor of Applied Science degrees are also available. To give yourself the best chance for a higher salary and better job opportunities, it is worth the extra schooling to earn a bachelor’s degree. The curriculum differs from program to program, though you are likely to enroll in classes such as:
- Court Reporting Procedures
- Introduction to Court Reporting
- Legal Terminology
- Machine Shorthand
- Medical Terminology
While certification is only needed in states that require licensure, it is best to obtain a credential even if it is not mandatory where you live. It will make you more employable and allow you to earn a higher salary. The standard credential is the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) offered by the National Court Reporters Association. The exam contains 105 multiple choice questions and a skills test.
Along with taking transcriptions, court reporters also:
- Note physical actions
- Review notes for accuracy
- Edit draft transcripts for spelling and grammar errors
- Read back testimony during court proceedings
- Assist attorneys, judges, and other court personnel in regards to recording minutes and rulings of the court proceedings
- Meet very strict deadlines for official transcripts
- Maintain accurate reports and records as mandated by court policy or by law
- Prepare complete written transcripts and provide copies to all involved parties
Demand for court reporters is becoming influenced by newer federal regulations that require the expanded use of captioning for television, video games, and other technologies. Another reason for the positive job outlook is the court system continues to require transcriptions of court proceedings and pretrial depositions. However, in some locations, growth may be negatively impacted by the increased use of digital audio recording technology. If you have an interest in working outside the United States, consider England and Wales as there is a shortage of qualified court reporters. Some requirements may be different, so make sure you do a lot of research before deciding to work outside the country.
Here at Ampluse, we’d like to help you learn more about the fascinating world of court reporting. It can make for an interesting and steady career, especially if you enjoy working with the public. Please contact us if you have any questions.