You’ve seen the commercials: “Learn how to be a dental assistant” and enjoy what you do. Or, “Become a medical technician” and be the envy of all your friends. Envy doesn’t pay the bills, though, and maybe you’re not comfortable working in somebody’s mouth. Here’s another career option — go to court. Become a court reporter in 24 months and you could find yourself making nearly $50,000 a year.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in this field can expect to see steady growth over the next decade and an average annual salary of around $49,500 (nationwide). Comparable positions as a medical transcriptionist or interpreter and translator pay $34,890 and $44,190 respectively.
Needed Skills in a Growing Field
A majority of court reporters work in government settings to capture all spoken words and generate transcripts of trials, depositions and legislative bodies at all levels, as well as business and public meetings. Reporters may also transfer their skills into more lucrative positions in the growing field of television captioning and transcribing for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Reporters must obtain a state license or certification from a professional organization like the National Court Reporters Association. The NCRA does not accredit programs, however. The nationally recognized association does work with accredited programs to maintain approved standards. With more than 100 schools across the nation offering online and expanded programs in court reporting, students have their choice of day or night, online or on-campus classes, and flexible courses to fit their schedules. Here’s a look at some of the top certified court reporting schools in the United States, by geographic area. For a more complete listing, click on the NCRA link above.
- Sheridan Technical Center in Hollywood, Florida, has a 28-month program in court reporting and transcription, available online.
- Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta features day and night programs that can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis.
- Alvin Community College in Alvin, Texas, promotes a two-year associate degree that is flexible enough to let students work at their own pace.
- Long Island Business Institute in Commack, New York, offers a certificate or associate degree or in court reporting. Choose from day and evening classes.
- New York Career Institute in New York City features day and night classes for students working toward an associate degree.
- Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh features day classes toward a two-year degree.
- MacCormac College in Chicago has day and evening courses toward a two-year degree in court reporting.
- The College of Court Reporting Inc. in Hobart, Indiana, offers students online and on-campus choices, as well as evening and daytime classes.
- Des Moines Area Community College in Newton, Iowa, has daytime classes and online classes to choose from.
- Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minnesota, offers a two-year degree in judicial reporting, with two associated certificates in scoping, or proofreading, and broadcast captioning.
- Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wisconsin, awards associate degrees in both broadcast captioning and court reporting.
- Green River Community College in Auburn, Washington, awards two-year degrees in captioning and court reporting and offers day and evening classes.
- Bryan University in Tempe, Arizona, and Los Angeles offers online courses toward a two-year degree in court reporting.
- GateWay Community College in Phoenix awards associate degrees and certificates, with classes available during the day and evenings.
- South Coast College in Orange, California, provides two-year degrees with day and classes available.
Invest in Your Future
Obtaining a certificate or degree in court reporting is a relatively short process that can be completed within two years. Whether you’re looking for a steady job or want to pursue a freelance career that offers more flexibility, court reporting is an occupation that can provide both.