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Career Insight: Court Reporting

Here is all the information which you need to know about how to become a court reporter. We have also explained what the job of court reporting is like.
Carol Evenson
Finding a job can be an incredibly stressful experience. It might feel like there are no jobs in your area or nothing available that you're interested in. Maybe you aren't looking at the right places, though. Many people focus on popular jobs everyone is going for: marketing, sales, public relations, etc.
The downside to these industries is that there is so much competition that it can be difficult to get your foot in the door. Meanwhile, industries like court reporting do not have enough people to fill available jobs. If you change your search to finding understaffed industries that interest you, your job search might be fruitful.

Court Reporting

It might sound boring, but if you enjoy typing and taking notes then court reporting might be a fulfilling job for you. Court reporters in Seattle make between $45,000 and $82,000 a year depending on their experience and skill.
Openings for these positions are constantly there and can be found on job search websites or the district courthouses websites. Median pay nationwide is about $55,000 a year and the industry has seen steady job growth in the past few years.

Job Description

If these numbers piqued your interest, you're probably wondering what exactly you'd have to do as a court reporter. The job is fairly straightforward: reporters create word-for-word transcripts of legal proceedings, usually on an electric typewriter.
This can mean sitting in a court room during a trial or listening in to a mediation meeting between two litigants. It is the reporter's job to capture every word that is said as it is said for accurate representation of a proceeding.
They might even be asked to read back portions of a proceeding for a judge or jury so they can all ensure they heard the correct information.
Sitting quietly in the corner is not the entirety of this position, though. Sometimes court reporters might have to ask someone to repeat themselves or speak up if they are speaking too softly for them to hear. They also have to review their notes to ensure correct spellings of names and proper terminology throughout.
After recording a meeting, the court reporter will review their notes and edit them for minor mistakes such as misplaced or missing commas. It is important to remember that court reporter does not fix incorrect grammar as used by anyone in a proceeding because they have to preserve the exact occurrences and statements.
Some court reporters can work for composing captions for television or news programs. They may work with deaf people or those with severe hearing impairments to type out speech so the person can keep up with conversations. The job is great for people with quick fingers, attention to detail, and a wish to help others.

How to Become a Court Reporter

To become a court reporter in Seattle you need some special education. Some states require only a certificate, which can usually be completed in six months. These are programs through colleges or universities that offer basic training on using a steno machine or other technology related to the trade.
There is also the option to earn an associate's degree in stenography or court reporting, which gives a more in-depth knowledge of this field. These paths teach legal policies and terms so they can report accurately and confidently.
Once you have completed your education, you can get your license if your state requires one. Some states also require court reporters to be notaries, but this is rare. If your state requires you to take a test to get your license then you will likely need to purchase a study book and dedicate some time to honing your skills.
There are court reporter associations that offer certifications for achievements that can help you to be an appealing candidate during job searches and earn more money.