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How Long Does It Take to Learn Court Reporting?

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by February 8, 2018 Finance

If you’re asking how long it takes to learn court reporting, you’re probably at least a little interested in making it a career. The short answer is that it doesn’t take long to learn the basics, and as you progress in the field, you’ll find lots of opportunities for advancement in Fort Lauderdale.

What do court reporters do?

A court reporter is essential to all kinds of legal proceedings. Court reporters are present at trials and hearings, but they are also in demand for evidence gathering meetings and to take statements. Furthermore, they can also find work in the private sector.

The basic job of a court reporter is to make transcriptions of any legal proceedings. These need to be word for word and are done on a stenography machine. Court reporters might work entirely for the court system, entirely freelance, or a mix of both.

Training for the job

As with any career, you’ll need to train in order to enter this field. The initial training can take from two to four years, and some people may need longer if they are training part time. The minimum qualification is a certification program, and this is offered by community colleges and some technical institutes, and takes about two years to complete.

Many students prefer to get a full bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as criminal justice, before getting their court reporter training. This is not necessary, but it may make you more desirable to employers and increases your chances of getting a promotion or more specialized work.

What you will study

Many Fort Lauderdale court reporters get an associate’s degree or a technical certification, and this means studying the fundamentals of court reporting, the technology used by court reporters, machine shorthand, and the sort of legal terminology you’ll need in order to advance.

You’ll also learn techniques for working in real-time as people speak and for honing transcriptions later on. Many students also get certification or training in medical transcription, which can provide lucrative side income for motivated transcriptionists.

Further qualifications

Whatever your degree or certification, you will almost certainly have to do some on-the-job training before you begin. This training usually lasts a couple of weeks, but it can go longer depending on the specific position and your own background.

If you choose to work in the courts, many states will require licensure or certification. This may be available through your training program. You can also be licensed by the National Court Reporters Association, the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers, or the National Verbatim Reporters Association.

How long does it all take?

Your initial training can take as few as two years or as long as six, depending on what degree you pursue and whether you are able to study full time or need to train part time while working a job. A bachelor’s degree will naturally take longer than a technical college diploma or associate’s degree, but may offer more opportunity.

After your training, you will need to certify and do specific on-the-job training. Your on-the-job training will probably last from one to two months working in Fort Lauderdale. Certification doesn’t take long if you have the skills, but you should allow a few weeks to source a place to take tests and time for the tests to process.

Is it for me?

Life as a court reporter can be what you make of it. You can work entirely during normal working hours, or you can freelance and take jobs as they appeal to you. You can take part-time jobs doing transcription in your free time while working for the courts, as well.

If you’re fast with your fingers, know how to concentrate, and have an interest in the law, court reporting might be the perfect career choice.


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