Court Reporting

Do you enjoy the poetic precision of language and grammar? Do you have excellent hearing? Are you a keen listener? If you answered 'yes' to all of these questions, court reporting may be a satisfying career for you.

Court reporters, also called stenographers or transcriptionists, are highly-skilled professionals who transform live speeches, testimony, lectures, television broadcasts and other events into seamless and objective text-based records. Court reporters are not just glorified typists. They must rapidly translate complex, important proceedings into reproducible, formal documents with extremely high rates of accuracy.

Although the discipline has become very high-tech in recent years, human intelligence has not been replaced by technology in transcription. Computers can turn human sounds into type, but with nowhere near the accuracy and speed of a real person expertly versed in the idiosyncracies of human language, from accents to mumbles and implied meanings.

As a crucial interface between people and technology, court reporters turn depositions and proceedings in the courtroom into error-free documents, write up court logs, and note appearances and major events during trials. Often, transcriptions will be used to resolve communication disputes in the courtroom.

Court reporters must always be responsible and ethical professionals, producing unbiased and verbatim versions of events. Legal-sector reporters work for public courts providing services as part of the municipal legal team, for private law firms and also stenographer contracting agencies.

Beyond the courtroom, realtime stenographers may create closed captioning in TV and broadcasting, transcribe shareholder meetings, or write realtime texts for universities with hearing- or visually-impaired students. Increasingly, realtime reporters work on the web, providing transcription services for webcasts, teleconferences and remote depositions.

About Court Reporting

Accreditation

Court reporting schools may be accredited by state boards as well as national and international agencies like the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, or ACICS. It's important for students to know, however, that the NCRA, or National Court Reporters Association, grants highly-credible Certification to programs on the basis of judgments made by CASE, its Council on Approved Student Education.

The NCRA is not an accrediting agency, but all NCRA-certified programs are approved by the state-of-practice and formally accredited by entities recognized by the federal Department of Education. Moreover, state licensure may depend on passing the NCRA's Registered Professional Reporter, or RPR, examination.

These aligned goals make institutional NCRA Certification a good proxy for accreditation. Attending an NCRA-approved program is clearly the most straightforward route to becoming a professional court reporter because credentials are issued through the NCRA. There are 60 court reporting schools in the country that are approved by the NCRA, according to the organization.

Licensing

A Certified Court Reporter, or CCR, usually refers to a reporter who has received state licensure. However, the nature and nomenclature of licensing varies by state. Different legal and appellate systems, too, maintain their own rules. Once again, NCRA Certification is a useful guide for identifying court reporter schools that comply with their respective states' requirements.

Many states require students to pass the RPR exam to become licensed. In some cases, they will also need to pass state- or jurisdiction-specific exams that additionally test for written knowledge of subjects like legal procedures, ethics, grammar, computer technology and stenographic theory. Note that some states want court reporters to be notary publics because their job may require them to take oaths from witnesses during depositions.

Educational Options in Court Reporting

Court reporter school can take as few as six months for a basic certificate, and as long as four years for a full bachelor's court reporting degree. Technically, it's not necessary to attend an NCRA-approved school - or any school for that matter, in some states.

Most individuals who can learn these skills on their own are free to do so, but attending an educational program is the easiest way to become oriented in the field and polish one's skills to a professional level.

Primary Certificates

Certificate recipients can work as voice reporters and e-transcriptionists without passing the RPR. But to be a real court reporter, each student needs to acquire an RPR, or Registered Professional Reporter - the principal nationally-recognized entry-level credential in the discipline. Credible reporter training schools must first and foremost teach students sufficient skills to pass the RPR exam.

Basic training programs should teach students to transcribe machine shorthand on a stenotype. Once students have mastered the basics of shorthand, they will spend as much time as it takes to build up high levels of accuracy and speeds of at least 225 words per minute.

Post-Secondary Degrees

A professional stenotypist is usually expected to have completed 2-4 years of postsecondary education, although a formally certified skill set is the most important prerequisite for employment. Forbes named court reporting one of the best careers in the nation that doesn't require a bachelor's degree.

Secondary Certificates

Realtime certification, signified by the CRR, is a fundamental way to advance one's career. "Realtime" refers to virtually instant translation of machine shorthand into complete English. Reporters with a CRR - Certified Realtime Reporter - credential are able to write in realtime at between 180 and 200 words per minute for a sustained period. Translations appear on a screen for live viewing by others within seconds of the words being spoken.

Realtime reporting is a nationally-recognized advanced skill that can open up doors for stenographers. Federal courts, for example, and many state courts offer salary increases for CRR certifications. According to Atkinson Baker, a leading employer of court reporters, "realtime makes court reporters irreplaceable."

Additionally, NCRA has added several other credentials in the last decade in response to technological trends, including:

- Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC)

- Certified CART Provider (CCP)

- Registered Merit Reporter (RMR)

- Registered Diplomat Reporter (RDR)

- Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS)

- Certified Reporting Instructor (CRI)

- Master Certified Reporting Instructor (MCRI)

- Certified Manager of Reporting Services (CMRS)

- Certified Program Evaluator (CPE)

We found 121 schools offering court reporting degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 121 Court Reporting Colleges in the U.S.

Court Reporting Schools By Total Enrollment

1
Miami Dade College
Miami, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 46834

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
2
Houston Community College System
Houston, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 40929

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
3
City College of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 39386

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
4
Broward Community College
Fort Lauderdale, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 27389

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
5
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 26845

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's
6
Cerritos College
Norwalk, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 24536

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
7
Oakland Community College - Bloomfield Hills Campus
Bloomfield Hills, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 23188

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
8
Macomb Community College
Warren, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 22001

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
9
Cypress College
Cypress, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 21361

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
10
Cuyahoga Community College District
Cleveland, OH  |  Total Enrollment: 19518

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's

Browse All 121 Colleges With Court Reporting Programs


Title City State Enrollment
Aib College of Business Des Moines IA 875
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute Albuquerque NM 17265
Alvin Community College Alvin TX 3665
Amarillo College Amarillo TX 8422
Arlington Career Institute Grand Prairie TX 383
Atlantic Technical Center Coconut Creek FL 1570
Beckfield College Florence KY 231
Broward Community College Fort Lauderdale FL 27389
Brown College of Court Reporting Atlanta GA 234
Brown Institute of Court Reporting and Business Longview TX 53
Business Informatics Center Inc Valley Stream NY 35
Career Colleges of Chicago Chicago IL 122
Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant MI 26845
Central Penn College Summerdale PA 1370
Cerritos College Norwalk CA 24536
Charles A. Jones Skills and Business Education Center Sacramento CA 4132
Cittone Institute Edison NJ 928
City College of San Francisco San Francisco CA 39386
Clark State Community College Springfield OH 2808
College of Court Reporting Inc Hobart IN 99
College of Legal Arts Portland OR 112
College of Marin Kentfield CA 8317
College of the Redwoods Eureka CA 6986
Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh PA 15556
Concordia University - Wisconsin Mequon WI 4603
Cooper Career Institute West Palm Beach FL 207
Court Reporting Institute San Diego CA 10
Court Reporting Institute - Wheeler Institute of Texas Dallas TX 501
Cri Career Training Seattle WA 287
Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland OH 19518
Cypress College Cypress CA 21361
Davenport University Grand Rapids MI 2322
Davenport University - Central Region Midland MI 1694
Daytona Beach Community College Daytona Beach FL 10420
Del Mar College Corpus Christi TX 9936
Denver Academy of Court Reporting - Main Campus Westminster CO 213
Eagle Gate College Murray UT 38
El Paso Community College El Paso TX 18001
Elsa Cooper Institute of Court Reporting Southfield MI 96
Everest University - North Orlando Orlando FL 867
Ferris State University Big Rapids MI 9847
Franklin College of Court Reporting New Orleans LA 80
Gadsden State Community College Gadsden AL 4787
Gateway Community College Phoenix AZ 7895
Gateway Technical College Kenosha WI 5741
Gogebic Community College Ironwood MI 1106
Green River Community College Auburn WA 6566
Hagerstown Business College Hagerstown MD 776
Hohokus - Hackensack School of Business and Medical Sciences Hackensack NJ 266
Houston Community College System Houston TX 40929
Humphreys College - Stockton Stockton CA 593
Huntington Junior College Huntington WV 463
Illinois Central College East Peoria IL 11053
Illinois Eastern Community Colleges - Olney Central College Olney IL 1648
Institute of Legal and Medical Professions Melbourne FL 65
International Business College Lubbock TX 661
Iverson Business School and Court Reporting Arlington TX 141
James H Faulkner State Community College Bay Minette AL 2775
Johnson & Wales University Providence RI 9172
Kaplan University Davenport IA 376
Kelsey - Jenney College San Diego CA 679
Key College Dania Beach FL 168
Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland WI 2742
Lansing Community College Lansing MI 16011
Las Vegas College Henderson NV 429
Lee County High Tech Center North Cape Coral FL 120
Lenoir Community College Kinston NC 2057
Long Island Business Institute Commack NY 96
Maccormac College Chicago IL 511
Macomb Community College Warren MI 22001
Madison Area Technical College Madison WI 14474
Manor College Jenkintown PA 684
Massachusetts Bay Community College Wellesley Hills MA 4458
Metropolitan College Oklahoma City OK 90
Metropolitan College Tulsa OK 89
Miami Dade College Miami FL 46834
Midlands Technical College West Columbia SC 9702
Midstate College Peoria IL 324
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston MS 8768
National School of Technology Inc Miami FL 544
New York Career Institute New York NY 473
Northeast Mississippi Community College Booneville MS 2796
Northland Pioneer College Holbrook AZ 5096
Northwood University Cedar Hill TX 1014
Oakland Community College - Bloomfield Hills Campus Bloomfield Hills MI 23188
Orleans Technical Institute - Center City Campus Philadelphia PA 184
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Johnstown PA 1050
Pensacola Junior College Pensacola FL 9985
Prince Institute of Professional Studies Inc Montgomery AL 94
Professional Career College Richardson TX 258
Rasmussen College - Eden Prairie Eden Prairie MN 67
Rogers State University Claremore OK 2640
Rose State College Midwest City OK 7471
Sage College Moreno Valley CA 348
Saint Louis Community College - Meramec Kirkwood MO 12518
San Antonio College San Antonio TX 19253
Sarasota County Technical Institute Sarasota FL 963
Sheridan Technical Center Hollywood FL 1487
Shirley Baker Career Institute Houston TX 163
Siena Heights University Adrian MI 1972
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