We asked our colleagues in an industry-focused social media group what it takes to be a court reporter. From earnings potential to a love of words, we heard a variety of responses. If some of these sound like you, it might be time to think about becoming a court reporter!
Respondents to our unscientific survey mentioned their mother, sister, or father had been court reporters and they just followed along in the family tradition. That’s not to say they don’t have a love for the work because they do. If you’ve got a court reporter in your family, ask them about their experience.
If you find yourself uninspired by your current career or young enough to retire from one and move on to another, it’s worth your time to take a look at becoming a reporter. There are currently three NCRA approved court reporting schools in Florida, including Hollywood, Dania, and Coconut Creek plus online schools. Once you’ve graduated, there are opportunities to work in the legal field, if that’s where your passion is, in the community at board and civic meetings or in business at live or in-person conferences, webinars, and press events.
Love of Language
Respondents were quick to mention they love the English language along with a fascination with what they called steno speak. In addition to loving language, reporters have a love for continuing education. This week you may be on a medical case and next week could be a criminal case, you never know. Whether it’s industry-specific or continuing court reporter education, you’ve got to be willing to learn.
Attention to Detail
Over my career I’ve seen my fair share of resumes listing attention to detail as a skill but rarely have I met a person as detail-oriented as a court reporter. The preliminary work to understand what the client needs, plus what opposing counsel has requested, coordinating schedules, the actual deposition and/or proceeding, and the post-depo transcript can get overwhelming if you’re not organized. Court reporters seem to thrive on managing the details others may forget.
Let’s not forget earning potential. One respondent told me that she became a reporter after her sister entered the career and experienced a new standard of living. I appreciated her honesty about money and her dedication to her career. Even if money isn’t the main reason, it’s important to note court reporter salaries start at an average of $40,000 per year and more in urban areas or areas where there is a court reporter shortage. Couple that with the potential for court reporting school to be less time and possibly less cost than a four-year degree, and it’s a win-win for those that are interested.
If you’re seeking a new career, we hope you explore reporting especially if you’ve got what it takes to be a court reporter – attention to detail, love of language and learning, organized, passionate, and ready to earn.