According to the Ducker Worldwide Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report, by 2018 there will be a shortage of more than 5,000 court reporters across the nation. This is due to two factors.
The first is the average age of reporters being ten years older than the national average. Average age for American workers is 43 but for reporters it’s more like 53 years old. That means reporters are retiring and there aren’t new people to fill their place.
The second is the lack of court reporting programs to train new people. In Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, there are only five court reporting programs currently accepting students [Source]. While there isn’t an expected shortage in Florida, Georgia and Alabama are expected to have a combined shortage of 200 reporters. What can we do? At Milestone we’ve implemented a digital court reporting program to combat the shortage but we can’t be the only ones.
We believe it’s time for the industry to help each other with regard to the looming court reporter shortage, to spread the word, and to attract new people to the field.
Benefits of Court Reporting
With college costs rising every year students are wondering how they will get training for a professional career. The good news is that you don’t need a four year degree to become a court reporter. While the standards are high, graduates enter a profession where they’re earning more than $40,000 per year on average. With experience that can grow to a six figure income, all without the debt of a four year degree.
In addition to earning power, reporters aren’t restricted to legal settings. Businesses and professional sports teams are hiring people for real-time transcription.
Social Media & Blogging
As reporters we handle confidential information about cases and clients but that doesn’t mean we need to avoid social media and blogging. As long as we’re keeping client details confidential, online platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can be utilized to share your expertise, connect with prospective clients, and new reporters.
Many reporters have spent years in the industry and can share their stories of how court reporting has changed, their personal experiences, and benefits of the profession. It helps grow the audience and hopefully increases the interest in our industry.
Before there is a crisis, we’ve got to do what we can as individuals and an industry to tell people about the benefits of court reporting. Otherwise we’re risking the court system shutting down.