Court Reporter Salary
A court reporter responsible for recording all verbal transactions that take place within a court room. Court reporters are required to take down dictations that may occur during court proceedings, assemblies, community planning meetings and other meetings as needed. They prepare transcripts as needed by judicial committees and lawyers or attorneys which are then treated as the official transcription of all court proceedings. Judicial court reporters must be comfortable working in a high stress environment under both emotional and stressful situations as often times witness testimonies can become very graphic. Most court reporters are either employed by government or state organizations or employed by private law firms or work freelance.
Court reporters can make a mean annual salary between $45,000 and $55,000 annually depending on length of time employed and location of employment. High end salary caps near $70,000 annual. Most court reporters employed by state or government agencies will also receive benefits such as 401K, medical and dental as well as the opportunity to establish a retirement pension. As with any job, many external factors such as experience and education can play an important factor. In general, court reporters working out of cities with higher costs of living will be given a salary that takes into account the local cost of living. Completion of higher level certification courses or membership with a professional association can also impact salary and wage earnings.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Often times court reporters are employed on a freelance basis. In this case pay can vary depending on the nature of the employer. Freelance court reporters are often employed by large corporations to transcribe business meetings or assemblies or are utilized to provide closed captioning to live television shows or other television programming. Freelance court reporters can either be paid on an hourly basis or can establish a rate for per page of transcription or set a fixed price per job.
Job Description and Outlook
Court reporters typically use a machine to help transcribe proceedings or write with shorthand. Others may use a voice transcriber or other recording device. A court reporter’s major responsibilities include providing an official transcript of all courtroom or meeting proceedings to members of the court, attorneys, or meeting attendees involved. Courtroom reporters are also responsible for conducting other duties as assigned.
Overall need for courtroom reporters is expected to grow steadily over the course of the next ten years. This is due not only to a continuing need for courtroom transcriptions, but also for a need for instant transcribers to provide closed caption descriptions for television broadcasts to allow accessible television to the deaf and hard of hearing. Increasing numbers of crime are expected to also impact the need for courtroom and legal employees.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
Courtroom reporters require a basic education in addition to knowledge of legal terms and other niche terms associated to pertinent court cases such as that of medical and business law. Most court reporters will hold at least an Associate’s degree in which they will receive specialized training in his or her preferred method of recording either from a community college or other private institution of education. Court reporters who choose to use the voice writing and recording method should have a working knowledge of speech recognition software and other associated technologies. After completion of initial education, court reporters are required to participate in continuing education in order to maintain a current license.
Additionally, some states may require court reporters to be a certified public notary in addition to basic Certified Court Reporter (CCR) certification. overall court reporters must have proficient command over the English language as well as utmost professionalism due to the high stress work environment.
In order to become a certified court reporter you will need to complete and obtain a basic education course at either a community college or through private education in order to receive certification as a Certified Court Reporter or CCR. Some states may also require certification as a public notary. In addition, court reporters may obtain certification in higher levels of court reporting competency including competency as a Certified Real-time Court Reporter or CRR or certification as a Real-time Verbatim Reporter or RVR. Both certifications require successful completion of examinations designed to test accuracy and speed.
There are two major national court reporting associations in the United States, The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), and the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA). NCRA requires a minimum 225 minimum recording speed for membership eligibility while NVRA requires that of 250. NVRA also can offer the title of Certified Verbatim Reporter or CVR. Receipt of this title is contingent upon the completion of a four part examination including sections focused on skills as well as a written examination and a dedication to continuing education.
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