Court Reporters: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Many court reporters receive formal education at community colleges or technical institutes, which have different programs that lead to either a certificate or an associate’s degree in court reporting. Either degree will qualify applicants for many entry-level positions. Certification programs prepare students to pass the licensing exams and typing-speed tests required by most states and employers.
Training Required
After completing their formal program, court reporters must undergo a few weeks of on-the-job training. This typically includes training on the specific types of equipment and more technical terminology that may be used during complex medical or legal proceedings.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 3% (Slower than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Licenses/Certifications
Many states require court reporters who work in legal settings to be licensed or certified by a professional association. Licensing requirements vary by state and by method of court reporting.
Median pay: How much do Court Reporters make?
$51,320 Annual Salary
$24.68 per hour

Court reporters create word-for-word transcriptions at trials, depositions, administrative hearings, and other legal proceedings. Some court reporters provide captioning for television and real-time translation for deaf or hard-of-hearing people at public events, in business meetings, and in classrooms.

What do Court Reporters do?

Court reporters typically do the following:

  • Attend depositions, hearings, proceedings, and other events that require written transcripts
  • Capture spoken dialogue with specialized equipment, including stenography machines, video and audio recording devices, and covered microphones
  • Report speakers’ identification, gestures, and actions
  • Read or play back all or a portion of the proceedings upon request from the judge
  • Ask speakers to clarify inaudible or unclear statements or testimony
  • Review the notes they have taken, including the names of speakers and any technical terminology
  • Provide copies of transcripts and recordings to the courts, counsels, and parties involved
  • Transcribe television or movie dialogue to help deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers
  • Provide real-time translation in classes and other public forums for the deaf or hard-of-hearing population

Court reporters create word-for-word transcripts of speeches, conversations, legal proceedings, meetings, or other events.

Court reporters play a critical role in legal proceedings, which require an exact record of what was said. They are responsible for producing a complete, accurate, and secure legal transcript of courtroom proceedings, witnesses’ testimonies, and depositions.

Court reporters in the legal setting also help judges and lawyers by capturing, organizing, and producing the official record of the proceedings. The official record allows users to efficiently search for important information contained in the transcript. Court reporters also index and catalog exhibits used during court proceedings.

Some court reporters, however, do not work in the legal setting or in courtrooms. These reporters primarily serve people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing by transcribing speech to text as the speech occurs.

The following are examples of types of court reporters who do not work in a legal setting:

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