Court Transcriptionist Salary
Pros and Cons of a Career as a Court Transcriptionist
Court transcriptionists, also called court reporters, record and transcribe a variety of different legal proceedings, from courtroom testimony to depositions. If you're considering a career as a court transcriptionist, there are a few things you may wish to consider.
|PROS of Being a Court Transcriptionist|
|Little education required (usually just a postsecondary certificate)*|
|Freelance court transcriptionists often maintain flexible schedules and might work from home*|
|Competitive wages (court transcriptionists earned a mean salary of approximately $55, 000 in 2014)*|
|Increased job opportunities due to a greater need for court captioning*|
|CONS of Being a Court Transcriptionist|
|State licensure usually required*|
|Evolving recording and transcription methods may require continual recertification*|
|High degree of speed and accuracy required*|
|Great deal of concentration needed to pick up courtroom dialogue amid possible distractions*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Career Information for Court Transcriptionists
Court transcriptionists record and transcribe legal proceedings using a variety of different methods. Judges, lawyers and jurors often need verbatim transcripts of witness testimony to assist with deliberation or courtroom strategy. As pre-screened and licensed professionals in the legal system, court transcriptionists should have a solid working knowledge of courtroom procedures and legal terminologies.
Job Duties and Career Outlook
Court reporters can utilize stenotype machines to record meetings, depositions or courtroom proceedings. These machines use keystroke codes to facilitate real-time recording of spoken testimony or arguments. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that excellent hearing, listening skills, finger dexterity and vision are important traits for court transcriptionists (www.bls.gov). You also need to gain expertise in the particular methods of recording and transcribing, including computer-aided transcription equipment used in your particular state or legal jurisdiction.
Growing trends in court reporting include the use of voice writing technology and audio recording devices. According to the BLS, court reporters should expect an increase in employment of 10% from 2012-2022 which was about the average for all other occupations.
Many court reporters are employed by state or municipal courts, but their services are also valued by private law firms. The BLS reported a mean salary of almost $55, 000 for these professionals in May 2014, which was above the nationwide average salary of approximately $47, 000. Court reporters who worked for local government agencies took in the greatest average salaries, earning approximately $58, 000 per year.
Education and Training Requirements
Obtaining state licensure as a court reporter generally requires the completion of a college program approved by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). These programs can generally be completed in 1-3 years and often award graduates with an associate's degree or certificate in court reporting. These programs can include courses on keyboarding, machine shorthand and legal dictation.
Each state has its own requirements and paths to licensure for prospective court reporters, depending upon its particular method of voice writing and recording used in courtrooms. Many states award licensure to professionals who have graduated from an NCRA-approved program and received a successful proficiency score on the NCRA's certification test.