How to Become a

Court Reporter

The complete career guide to be a Court Reporter: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $54,720
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 1.4%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Court reporters transcribe all conversations, discussions, actions, presentations, and other activities that occur in courtrooms during proceedings. They use a variety of tools for transcription, including computers, recorders, stenography machines, shorthand writing, and other specialized equipment.

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What is a Court Reporter?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in court reporter roles:

  • Transcribe court proceedings word-for-word
  • Use a variety of tools and techniques to accurately transcribe proceedings, including computers, stenography machines, shorthand, and special talk-to-text recording machines
  • Edit transcripts after proceedings: check for typos, compare written transcripts to recordings, and determine proper spelling of technical or unfamiliar terminology
  • Record actions taken by different individuals in a courtroom during proceedings, such as facial expressions and gestures
  • Process and catalog any materials used as evidence during proceedings

A Day in the Life

Court reporters create accurate, word-for word transcriptions of court proceedings. In addition to transcribing spoken words, court reporters also provide details of actions taken in the court, such as facial expressions and gestures. Transcripts are made available to lawyers and judges after sessions and eventually become part of the official record for proceedings, so it’s crucial that the information provided by the court reporter is accurate, error-free, and thorough.

To create their transcriptions, court reporters may employ a variety of tools. Some may use traditional typewriters or computer word-processing systems to transcribe proceedings. Others may use both word-processors and recording devices to ensure all spoken words are captured. Some may even use specialized tools like talk-to-text programs or stenography machines to capture proceedings more rapidly. Court reporters must review transcripts after proceedings to ensure accuracy and resolve errors.

During proceedings, court reporters are allowed to interrupt to ask for clarity on statements or to ask speakers to repeat themselves when their voices were inaudible. Additionally, court reporters may be in charge of cataloging and processing any materials used as evidence in proceedings, and ensuring that materials become part of the official record for the case.

Typical Work Schedule

Most court reporter jobs are full-time and conducted during normal business hours. Court reporters typically have weekends, evenings, and major holidays off of work.

Typical Employers

The majority of court reporters are employed by local, state, and federal governments. A small number, however, work as independent contractors. These self-employed court reporters work for attorneys on a freelance basis and transcribe pre-trial proceedings for later review by employing attorneys.

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How To Become a Court Reporter

Most court reporters are trained to perform their roles in certificate or associate’s degree programs in court reporting at community, technical, or vocational colleges. In these programs, students learn how to operate common transcription equipment, improve typing speeds, study grammar, spelling, and usage, and learn the basics of legal proceedings. With a certificate or degree in court reporting, students will have completed the first step in becoming a court reporter.

To qualify to work as a court reporter, many states require certain certifications and/or licensure. Administered through a variety of associations—such as the National Court Reporters Association or American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers—these programs ensure that court reporters are legally qualified to work as court reporters in their state. Each state has different requirements for the certifications and licenses a court reporter must hold, so it’s a good idea to check state requirements while studying in a postsecondary institution.

To maintain licensure, court reporters are generally required to engage in some amount of continuing education. Often, proof of continuing education is required in order to renew licenses or certifications once expired. With a certificate/degree and the appropriate certification/licensure, aspiring court reporters can begin applying for entry-level court reporting positions. During the application process, they will likely be required to pass speed and accuracy tests as well as submit to a background check. Most employers then offer additional on-the-job training for new court reporters.

Court Reporter Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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How do Court Reporter salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Court Reporter's can make an average annual salary of $54,720, or $26 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $36,840 or $18 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #329 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Court Reporter. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Court Reporters

  • 4.5%   Doctorate
  • 8.6%   Masters
  • 28.1%   Bachelors
  • 13.9%   Associates
  • 26.5%   College
  • 17.3%   High School
  • 1.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Court Reporter job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 300 jobs for a total of 21,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 1.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #568 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Court Reporters

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 7,000 --- ---
State government, excluding education and hospitals 6,700 -200 0%
Self-employed workers 1,700 100 0%

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