A court reporting school graduate transcribes the goings on in a hearing, or courtroom setting, so that they can be referred to later, if necessary. As technology has advanced, not all court reporting school graduates work directly in the courtroom, but rather some record from a satellite office, to which courtroom proceedings are streamed.
If you are interested in attending court reporting school, here are the steps you will need to follow in order to become a court reporter.
1. Make sure you have the pre-requisites. Most court reporting school programs will have relatively basic pre-requisites in terms of academics: most require a high school diploma, or GED, and that you are 18 years of age. However, there are several things you will need in addition to your court reporting degree in order to be successful in this field: you will need to be able to concentrate for long periods of time; excellent hearing, listening, spelling and grammar; you will also need to be able to use computers and software applications.
2. Attend court reporting school. You will have the option to attend your court reporting courses online, or through an on-campus program, depending on which court reporting school you attend. You should also spend some time choosing which method of court reporting you wish to work in, as that will largely determine which court reporting courses you will want to take. Most court reporting degree programs take approximately two years to complete. Your court reporting courses will also teach basic legal language and courtroom procedures as well. Some court reporting school graduates choose to take introductory legal courses as well for a more thorough understanding of this language.
3. Get licensed. Once you have completed your court reporting schooling, many locations will require that you get licensed. This will typically consist of a written test, based on information you will have learned as part of your court reporting degree program. You will be tested on speed, accuracy and punctuation in the testing. Most court reporting degree holders will be required to have a minimum number of words they can type per minute (the standard is 225). Not every place will require that you get licensed once you have completed your court reporting degree, however many will have voluntary certification. Getting this voluntary certification can help you to compete in the job market once you are ready to start looking for a position.
4. Start looking for jobs. Now that you have finished your court reporting schooling, and been certified (even voluntarily), you are ready to start looking for jobs in your field. You may want to consider looking into any professional associations or groups in your area in order to find employment. You can also take advantage of your network from school, by looking to classmates, or teachers for tips. Good luck!