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Make the Career Yours

Students and reporters with skills that don't quite reach the 225 per minute level can still practice their skills and make money in the process. While many college captioners are certified reporters, some get their start while being a student themselves.

There are many court reporters that are examples of "thinking outside the box." Having machine shorthand skills often allows you to set your own hours and build a business around what you enjoy. A great example of this, is Jan Jenson, who loves hearing life stories and she especially loves elderly people. Therefore, although she was still a student, she decided to start her own business and surround herself with that which she enjoyed most. She now visits people in their homes, records their life story, and prepares it in booklet format with pictures. It is a wonderful gift that people can give to their loved ones.

Career Paths

• Freelance Reporters

This is the most common career path for those with a degree or license in court reporting. As a freelance reporter, you will work independently from your home or for a freelance reporting firm, diverse assignments, high potential earnings, and the opportunity to work for one or multiple agencies. Freelance reporters can work anywhere a verbatim transcript is needed and are usually hired by attorneys to report arbitrations, depositions, trials and municipal hearings.

Types of reporting may include: Statements, depositions, substituting for an absent official court reporter, arbitration and meetings for stockholders, board of directors or any place it is necessary to have a verbatim copy of what was said. Some "Corporate Reporters" travel between companies and take minutes of important meetings such as mergers and acquisitions. 

• Official Reporter

Unlike freelancing, an Official Reporter is an employee of the state and paid by the local, state or federal government to write verbatim what is said in court and receives full benefits. You may be assigned to one judge or court room and receive additional compensation on attorney transcript copy orders. When attorneys look to appeal a decision, they turn to the transcript created by the official reporter.


• Broadcast Captioning

This field of court reporters provide closed captions for television programs (called closed captions). These reporters transcribe dialogue onto television monitors to help deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers or others viewing television programs in public places. Some broadcast captioners may translate dialogue in real time during broadcasts; others may caption during post-production of a program.

•  CART Provider

CART is an acronym for Communication Access Realtime Translation and provides services for students and/or prospective students with hearing impairments. CART providers primarily work in a variety of settings and they assist clients during board meetings, doctor’s appointments, or any other events in which real-time translation is needed. For example, CART providers who use a stenograph machine may caption high school and college classes and provide an immediate transcript to students who are hard-of-hearing or learning English as a second language.

Although some court reporters may accompany their clients to events, many broadcast captioners and CART providers work remotely. An Internet or phone connection allows them to hear and type without having to be in the room. 

• Scopist

A scopist  translates and edits the transcript of court reporters through the use of specialized software to ensure that formatting, punctuation, grammar and typos are all corrected. In addition, it is often up to the scopist to ensure that all names and terms are spelled properly and any questionable areas are flagged, and the transcript is given back to the court reporter, who then proofreads the transcript for final approval.


• Legislative Reporters: 

Record all proceedings of legislative bodies for immediate copy to the public. This is a great job for those interested in seeing how laws are made and enacted.

•  Military Reporters 

Trained by the armed forces to record military proceedings such as tribunals and court martials.

• Medical Transcriptionists 

Listens to recordings by physicians and other healthcare professionals and transcribes them. They transcribe a variety of healthcare related reports including emergency visit reports, diagnostic imaging studies, operations, chart reviews and final summaries. Many medical transcriptionists work from their homes. This industry is rapidly growing.

Organizations that offer information about careers, training, and certification in court reporting include:

Job Resource Links: