Thousands of people choose to become court reporters each year and with an average pay rate of $23.80 per hour, it is easy to see the appeal. Your earning potential grows if you choose to provide other types of reporting as well. If you are considering attending a court reporting training program, it is important to know what to expect.
The School Doesn’t Need NCRA Approval
The standards set by the National Court Reporters Association are minimum, which means that some schools touting themselves as NCRA-approved are really only meeting minimum requirements. It does not guarantee a quality education. On the other hand, some schools choose not to go through the approval process but still offer a quality education. The best way to measure whether a court reporting school has the right program for you is to look at its graduation rates and online reviews. If you can, it may also help to talk to former students and ask how they have fared in their career since graduating from the school.
You Will Learn a Theory
Theory is one of the most important considerations when choosing a court reporting school because it is the most important component of your training. Theory determines how accurate you are, how quickly you build speed and how accurate your translations will be in real time. Many schools now offer online studying and use the court reporting at home theory, which is approved by the NCRA.
It Will Take Some Time
Most court reporting schools claim their programs take about two years. However, the NCRA finds that most students actually take between three and five years to complete their training and graduate. It is believed this is because the schools tend to emphasize non-essentials such as associate degrees not relative to the field. When deciding on a school, ask about the average length of time for graduation instead of how long the program claims to be.
You Will Spend Money
Traditional court reporting schools report tuition costs of up to $57,000, largely in part due to hiring administrative staff, deans and other administrators that are not court reporters themselves. The more affordable route to choose would be one based on a local community college or an at-home training program. If you choose to take on court reporting training, remember to factor in the costs outside of tuition. You may need to purchase or rent equipment, buy textbooks or factor in other costs. If you attend a properly accredited school, you may qualify for government financial aid, which can lessen costs, but which you’ll also have to pay back once you graduate.
You Should Have an Internship
To get the most out of your education, search for a court reporting program that can set you up with an internship or externship. These types of opportunities allow you to gain experience by working directly beside a certified court reporter who can show you the ropes, provide tips and answer your questions about the career. It will also help you begin to build a network that makes it easier to transition from student to career professional.
You Will Become Certified
Once you complete your training, you will become certified. There are several types of certifications, so ensure the program you choose offers the one you hope to achieve. Some of the most common ones include registered professional reporter, registered merit reporter and registered diplomate reporter. The latter is available to those have earned a different type of certification, proven their skills in the field and are actively involved in the industry.
Before choosing to attend court reporting school, determine the need for court reporters in your local area. Doing so ensures you spend time learning a career that you are passionate about and that will have a high earning potential. Always do thorough research before signing on the dotted line to attend any program.