Becoming a court reporter is a little bit of a process but can be a very rewarding job. There are a lot of things that you can do with a court reporting certification, particular nationwide court reporting. The industry is pretty competitive because it pays very well. There are certain things that you need to do in order to stand out from the crowd. Here are the steps that you would need to take to get involved with nationwide court reporting.
- Assess Your Skills
If you want to be a court reporter then you need to able to type at an incredibly fast speed and still maintain accuracy. If you are considering this for a career then the first thing you want to do is get an idea of your skill level when it comes to typing. If you want to get into nationwide court reporting, the National Court Reporters Association or NCRA states that a court reporter needs to be able to type at a minimum of 225 words per minute in shorthand while maintaining 97% accuracy. You can learn machine shorthand in a court reporting program. This is not something that you really need to know before you even get started. However, in order to have a good chance you should be able to type at least 60 words a minutes non shorthand.
- Find Out What Requirements You Need
Each state may have different requirements that are necessary to become a court reporter. Some states only require you to have a certification from a court report’s association while some prefer applicants to have a certification as well as complete a court reporting program at vocational school. If you have a felony on your record then you likely won’t be accepted as a court reporter. If you want to find out what your state requires when it comes to licensing requirements then you will need to do a little research online or look it up on www.courtreporteredu.org.
- Research Various Programs
If you find out that you need to go through an education program in a technical school then there are probably going to be various programs that you can choose from. There may be classes available online or at community colleges and technical schools. Find out which program has the best reputation and pass rate. You should also take a look at your own schedule and figure out which course would work best with your schedule. You might be surprised at how flexible some of these programs can be when it comes to scheduling and hours to put in.
- Find Out About Equipment
You may need to purchase your own tools of the trade as with many professions. This may require saving up for a manual steno type machine. They can cost anywhere from $100 to $250. If you need a professional computerized writer then you are looking at more like $2,500-$5,000. There may be a possibility that you could buy these things used or rent them from the school if you are looking for a cheaper way to get your hands on the equipment.
- Enroll in the Program and Test Out
Once you already know all of the information that you need to regarding skills, equipment and various programs, pick one and enroll in it. Make sure that it fits your budget, schedule and all of the mandatory requirements of your particular state. After the program is complete, you will need to take a test in order to officially pass. There will be a written portion and skills portion of the test. You will need to pass with a 70% or higher.
- Join an Association
You might have to join a professional association such as the NCRA before you can be fully licensed. If your state requires this then you may have to pay a fee anywhere from $65 to $260.
Nationwide court reporting requires the same steps accept you’ll want to look into the highest standard of requirements per state. This means that you will still meet any requirements that are underneath that state allowing you to work anywhere in the nation. This can be a very challenging and competitive position but in the end it is very rewarding to be a part of such an important industry.