A court reporter is a stenotype, stenomask or voice writer who transcribes verbal speech in a courtroom to produce official transcripts of court proceedings. This is usually done through the use of machine shorthand, voice silencers and digital recorders. Machine shorthand and voice writing are the major methods of used for the transcription of court proceedings in North America. Court transcripts are word for word copies of everything spoken out in a courtroom by any of the participants in a trial or any other legal proceeding.
In the US, the court reporter is also usually a notary public, that is, a legal officer who is capable of administering oaths and who therefore certifies their own court transcripts as being genuine and accurate. The skills required of a court reporter are attention to detail, the ability to focus, often for long periods of time and an excellent command over the language being spoken in the courtroom (which can often also be multilingual). License requirements vary widely across the US.
Online Education in court reporting
Court reporting programs take up to an average of three years to complete for most states is the US, and there may be other requirements. Some states require court reporters to be certified notary publics while some others require court reporters to complete a certification such as CCR (certified court reporter). Court reporting education programs are either associates or bachelors degree programs and cover legal and medical terminology, business law, legal procedure and electronic aided transcription techniques as well as real-time reporting. There are several online institutions as well as traditional institutions which offer court online reporting courses individually for people already in the criminal justice industry and associates or bachelors degree for new entrants in a variety fully electronic to blended methodologies. Blended courses require some participation and a variety of delivery methods are used.
In today’s fast paced society, issues like lifestyles and schedules, commuting and accommodation costs can prevent many potential earners from the benefits of becoming a court reporter. The benefits of completing this education online are that people from any field of work can keep their regular jobs while studying the courses online from the comfort of their own homes and study around their own schedules.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics about 27% of court reporters actually work in courts for the legal system. Some of the rest are freelance reporters who are regularly hired by attorneys to transcribe dispositions by potential witnesses. Many also work in law offices or third party businesses which are hired for services by attorneys and courts. Also, according to the bureau, the job sector is growing at average rates of employment growth while there is a shortage of trained professionals to work with the judicial system and law firms, improving the employment prospects for those entering this field of work.
Another interesting aspect about gaining an online court reporting education is the alternative employment options that the training would open up. Trained reporters may work in media and entertainment as well, transcribing dialog in speeches and live performances and even write captions for televised broadcasts, etc.
The Pay Scale:
Court reporters can earn between 30,000 to 60,000 dollars per year, with the average being over 45,000 dollars as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many court reporting professionals supplement their income a great deal by undertaking additional assignments as freelance reporters as well.
1- Us dept. of Justice
2- Bureau of Labor Statistics
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