Court Reporting: A Six-Figure Job With No College Degree

What is a court reporter? If you've ever watched a courtroom drama, you've probably seen someone sitting in the corner typing on a strange looking machine. Court reporters make transcripts of legal proceedings, and they are very much in demand.

What Is the Job Market Like for Court Reporters?

With 15 percent of court reporters on the brink of retirement, thousands of jobs will be opening up in the next few years. Court reporting is one of a handful of careers that is expanding, not shrinking, so future job prospects are excellent.

Where Do Court Reporters Work?

Most reporting jobs are not in courtrooms, but in depositions or doing closed captioning. Since most court reporters are private contractors, they travel to where the jobs are. Those who are free to travel and are multilingual can even become international court reporters, traveling all over the world.

How Do You Become a Court Reporter?

To become a court reporter, you must first attend a certified training course. You can find listings of training programs for each state online or through the National Court Reporters Association. Online and continuing education programs are also available to suit your scheduling needs.

How Much Can a Court Reporter Earn?

How much your earn depends on your skills, availability and whether you work as a private contractor, for a private or government entity, or through a court reporting service. The median pay for a court reporter is $53,191, with the bottom 10 percent earning under $26,318 and the top 10 percent earning over $84,576. Experienced court reporters with excellent skills can set their own price and earn into six figures.

Will Computers Ever Replace Court Reporters?

While speech-to-text technology gets better every day, and computer software can greatly enhance the efficiency and speed of court reporting, they will never replace humans in this field. No technology can beat the human ear for picking up nuances, figurative narrative and double meanings in a person's speech. All of these things are very important to the legal system's interpretation of events.

Court reporting is a growing career field with unlimited potential. If you have good typing skills and enjoy an ever-changing environment, court reporting may be a viable career option. The best way to learn what the job is really like is to contact a local court reporting service and talk to the staff. They can give you the pros and cons and guide you to the resources you need.

For more information, contact Farrell Court Reporting or a similar company.