3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Court Reporting as a Career

Jun 26, 2019 by

Court reporting is a crucial aspect of legal proceedings. Court reporters attend depositions, hearings, and other types of legal system events that require transcription. Although recording tools such as stenographs and computers are becoming more and more advanced, artificial intelligence alone still lacks the capacity to be error-free in this line of work. This is where the seasoned court reporter comes in to ensure that everything spoken aloud during the hearing is documented in a concise and organized manner.

It is a common misconception that reporters simply transcribe text blindly and require nothing more than a fast WPM speed to succeed. Certainly, you must be a good typist to excel as a transcriptionist, but the role requires more than you might expect, such as interpersonal skills and a sophisticated understanding of the English language. However, unlike the role of the journalist, the role of the court reporter is to observe rather than engage. Anyone who leans toward being introverted and isn’t sure what to do with their background in journalism or their English undergraduate degree will find this job a breath of fresh air. 


The role of a court reporter, often referred to as a shorthand reporter, is to transcribe spoken words into written text, predominantly in legal settings. The primary purpose of a transcriptionist is to record court proceedings and provide an important service to those in the legal field. For this reason, most post-secondary programs in transcription heavily involve legal and medical terminology.

However, a background in court reporting can also be useful should you wish to move into the broadcast closed captioning space. There are numerous professional opportunities for individuals with accreditation or certification in transcription, including webcasting and Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART), both of which rely heavily on the stenographic skills that can only be gained through extensive training in legal transcription.

Never a dull moment

If you are the type to pursue work that engages and excites you rather than condemns you to a routine, court reporting is almost guaranteed to provide you with this kind of career. After all, every hearing and deposition is different. No two cases are ever alike. This means that every day when you wake up and head to work, you will experience something new and potentially unexpected.

Gaining opportunities in the field is crucial for court reporters as it is very much the type of career that relies on hands-on experience. This is why most academic programs rely on a combination of co-operative placement and classroom learning. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that not every case will keep you on the edge of your seat. A small-town court reporter is unlikely to deal with the type of cases covered by a court reporter in Miami, for instance.

Lots of demand

The good news is that even in these uncertain times in which computers appear to be taking over many of the jobs we once took for granted, they cannot do everything. Only human beings possess the capacity to review transcribed text and ensure it makes sense grammatically. At least for the foreseeable future, legal transcription relies both on artificial and human intelligence, and the role of actual people in the courtroom remains significant.

Another reason why you are unlikely to struggle to find work straight out of school is due to the fact that court reporting provides you with a unique skill that not everyone has. While many people can type fast, not everyone possesses the concentration, dedication, and intensity required to transcribe in real-time. 

A two-year program ending with certification in court reporting will open many doors for you, especially in the legal space. Anyone chomping at the bit to get straight to work after graduating will find this career very promising.

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1 Comment

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    Shaylee Packer

    My mother has been doing medical transcribing for years now, and is wanting a career change. As she already knows much of the medical terminology, do you think that court reporting would be a good choice for her? As you mentioned, they are still in high demand, and most likely always will be.

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