If you're a fast typist who loves watching legal dramas, you may have considered pursuing a career as a court reporter. However, the advent of a variety of technologies designed to streamline and improve the court reporting process may seem intent on eliminating this role entirely. Is court reporting still a viable industry for you to pursue? Will you be able to find a job once your training has ended? Read on to learn more about court reporting and your potential employment and salary prospects if you enter this field.
What do court reporters do?
Court reporting is a fairly broad field, and not all court reporters spend their days in the courtroom. Trained court reporters may be used to type television captions, public hearing transcripts, or witness interviews. Court reporters may be employed by a court or county, a private reporting agency, or even self-employed.
To be successful in this field, you will need to possess several qualities and skills. First, you will need to be a proficient and accurate typist. While there do exist a number of programs to assist with the transcription duties of a court reporter, your job will still likely involve a great deal of typing and copy editing.
You'll also need a good sense of hearing and the ability to filter out background noise. Whether you are working in a courtroom to transcribe a trial or are keeping the minutes of a public meeting, you'll be bombarded with potential distractions. Ignoring these interruptions while paying attention to a particularly soft-spoken witness's words can be a challenge.
And although court reporting isn't as highly physical a career as some, you'll be required to sit for long periods of time without a break, and could be required to do some work-related travel. This job may not be ideal for those suffering from disabilities or physical limitations preventing long periods without movement.
Will there still be jobs for court reporters in the future?
Over the past few decades, court reporters have gone from transcribing proceedings with shorthand and a pen to the use of micro-cassettes and compact discs. Now, many courts have automated their processes so that hearings can take place on the record without the court reporter even being in the room.
However, court reporters who have demonstrated a willingness and ability to adapt to these changes have reaped the fruits, taking on additional and higher-paying jobs due to the lower courtroom workloads. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates job growth for this profession at around average, with 10 percent more court reporting jobs available in 2022 compared to 2012. Contact a court reporting firm, like Farrell Court Reporting, for more information.