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Court Reporters/ Stenographers

Earnings Potential

Court reporter salaries vary greatly.  Typically, they earn between $23,690 and $80,300.

Facts at a glance

  • Accurately transferring verbal information into a physical medium is crucial for a Court Reporter.
  • Court Reporters use various technologies like stenography machines, CART machines, voice recognition software to record conversations and legal proceedings.
  • Court Reporters aid in lingual translation as well as translating conversations for the hearing impaired.
  • Occasionally, Court  Reporters document statements and depositions outside the courtroom.


Court reporters document speeches, conversations and legal proceedings. The documents created by Court Reporters are legal documents—therefore they hold a very important position—each document must be complete and accurate.  Court reporters also assist judges and lawyers by organizing and searching official information.  There is an increasing demand for court reporters to provide closed-captioning and translating services for deaf individuals, and other individuals who do not speak or understand English.  Usually, court reporters use Stehographic machines—similar to typewriters—which allow the operator to press multiple buttons simultaneously, allowing for quick and accurate transcription of conversations.  As recording and voice recognition software technologies increase, the work of the Court Reporter has changed as well.  Court During proceedings, reporters occasionally speak into masks that contain microphones.  The mask records the voice of the Court Reporter, but does not allow the sound of the voice to carry out into the courtroom.  As a standard, Court Reporters are required to capture at least 225 words per minute.

Degrees that Lead to a Career in Court Reporting

The requirements to become a Certified Court Reporter vary from state to state.  Many postsecondary vocational training sites offer courses in Stenography. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has approved about 70 programs that offer certification for Court Reporters.  Some states require a Court reporter to pass a test that is administered by a board of examiners.

            Certifications also exist that allow a Court Reporter to demonstrate higher levels of proficiency.

The Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR) certification is the highest Court Reporter certification that exists, and it typically takes five years of consecutive reporting to become eligible for the certification. 

Career Openings in Court Reporting

Job opportunities for Court Reporters numerous, because job openings outnumber jobseekers. Court reporters with certification should have the best job opportunities, with projected growth through 2014.