If you ask an entire high school senior class what they’re planning to study after graduation, very few will answer stenography. Maybe none. But ask any court reporter or captioner how much they appreciate their profession, and the answers will mostly be enthusiastic and optimistic. It’s an incredible career; people just don’t know it.
Court reporting not only exists, it’s expanding. Within the next eight years, employment of court reporters is expected to grow, filling a significant increase in industry jobs. Those specializing in techniques for helping deaf or hard-of-hearing people, such as real-time captioning and Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) will enjoy the best job prospects.
The median salary is solid, at roughly $25 to $35 per hour, and up to six figures annually depending on the state in which the reporter is licensed. Those reporters operating at the highest level earn even more with advanced certifications and outstanding service.
It should also be noted that the base education required for court reporters is an associate’s degree, which usually takes two years to complete, significantly lowering the education debt to be repaid by students. In general, the expenses associated with court reporting schools range from $7,000 to $36,000 a year, with tuition covering education, fees, books, and supplies. When compared with tuition costs at a traditional four-year college, an education in court reporting is quite the deal.
It is absolutely a growth industry. People have been predicting the extinction of court reporting for years. Back in the eighties, court reporters worried that tape recorders would replace their skills. And now? Even with cutting-edge advances in recording devices and AI-assisted technology, court reporting will always require a human touch. Translating the spoken word to convey the real intent of the speaker in that specific moment is a talent. A computer still has a difficult time distinguishing between multiple speakers, technical terms, slang, and regional accents. When someone’s life and liberties are on the line, an accurate record is integral.
And speaking of the courtroom, a court reporter has a front-row seat to potentially interesting trials and drama. It is rarely boring or monotonous, and since every case is different, never routine…which is certainly not something an accountant can say!
If you’d like to talk more about a career in court reporting, or if you’re a reporter looking for a home, please send us a note. We’d love to hear from you.