Make the Career Yours
Court reporting fills an important need in the legal industry and there are many unique applications. Methods of court reporting include stenography, voice writing, and digital court reporting. Types of careers include freelance and official court reporters, captioning, CART, scoping and editing, transcription, and more.
There are many excellent programs for court reporting careers at schools and colleges in the United States. The careers below provide a vital service to the legal industry and continue to expand as the need for reporting services is in high demand.
• Freelance Reporters
This is the most common career path for those with education, degree, or license in court reporting. As a freelance reporter you will work independently or for a freelance court reporting firm. Opportunities are available for diverse assignments, high potential earnings, adjustable schedules, 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 often through a court reporting agency. Freelance Reporters may work a variety of environments including in-person, hybrid, or completely remote.
• Official Reporter
Unlike freelancing, an Official Reporter is an employee of the government and paid by the local, state, or federal government to capture a verbatim record of 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 provides closed captions for television programs. 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 those 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.
• 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 Industry 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.
A scopist has the unique skill of being able to compare a court reporter’s shorthand to the finished transcript. 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. The transcript is given back to the court reporter, who then proofreads the transcript for final approval. Stenograph’s RealTeam technology allows scopists to perform live edits during court reporting jobs being streamed in realtime.
An editor translates and edits a court reporter’s completed rough draft transcript 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 editor to ensure that all names and terms are spelled properly, and any questionable areas are flagged. The transcript is given back to the court reporter, who then proofreads the transcript for final approval.
Transcribers translate recorded audio from legal proceedings or other events into text. This can also be accomplished by using speech engine technology to automatically convert audio to text that is ready for editing.
Other careers can be developed in the court reporting industry including for those who wish to grow and develop their own businesses. Court Reporting agencies manage and schedule multiple reporters and assign them to jobs as requested by clients. They also handle final production, billing, and delivery of the transcript to the law firms as requested.
Organizations that offer information about careers, training, and certification in court reporting include:
- Project Steno
- The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA)
- United States Court Reporters Association (USCRA)
- American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT)
- National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA)
- Court Reporting State Associations