We recently saw a post in one of the Facebook groups that we follow from a prospective court reporter who asked the process for choosing a court reporting school. She asked questions like what’s the most affordable way to become a skilled reporter. Is a home program worth the time and cost? Which schools did others in the group attend and what was the experience? Here’s what they respondents had to say along with some of my own notes.
How do you find an accredited court reporting school?
Start by checking the list on the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) website. There are currently three programs in Florida, one in Georgia, and one in Alabama. It’s important to choose an accredited program or you may find yourself out the money and a proper education like students at San Diego’s Sage College and others around the country that closed their doors leaving students wondering what to do next.
Are there online options available?
Yes, there are online options like the College of Court Reporting available to students in any state and are especially helpful in areas where there isn’t a brick and mortar option and there are interested students and a need for court reporters. Be wary of programs that only offer recorded classes; it’s more effective to have interaction with teachers and students.
Is the cost worth the investment?
The short answer is YES the cost of court reporting school is worth the investment. This is due in part to a shortage of court reporters. One respondent noted that while many students have strong writing skills, they lack in transcription skills; you’ve got to have both to be an effective reporter and it’s a short list of people who have the right skills and make it through a program.
For those that graduate, there are many avenues to use your skills both inside the legal field and outside in business, community, and education. Because of the shortage, the average salary for court reporters is higher than other professions. The average salary for new graduates is $42,000 but in big cities it can be much higher and only grows as you gain more experience.
It’s important to note that while we’re expected to have a reporter surplus in Florida, there are shortages in nearby Georgia and Alabama which means more opportunities for those interested in a career in this growing field.
If you’re thinking about a career in court reporting, take advantage of groups and discussion available online in social media groups and please give us a call to learn more.