Stenography Degree Programs

If you are considering a career in stenography, the next step is understanding what kind of schooling is involved. It will take between two and four years of education and training to become a court reporter. The most common degree is an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. The average time it takes to complete is 18-24 months. If you are going to school part time it may take you longer. You will need to pass speed tests to move onto the next class and to graduate you will need to pass a series of tests. The deposition test is a question and answer session that simulates an attorney questioning a witness, it is the hardest at 225 words per minute minimum. The jury test has a minimum of 200 words per minute and the medical terminology test has the slowest requirement of 175 words per minute because the words are so difficult.

Different Court Reporting Degrees

While there are many schools that can teach you the skills to become a court reporter you should look for programs that are approved by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). Many states require graduation from an NCRA-certified program before granting licensure for a student to begin practice as a court reporter. Course topics generally include legal and medical terminology, principles and theory of machine shorthand for transcription, as well as software applications and business law. A student may also choose to specialize in a particular area, such as medical, engineering, or closed captioning for the hearing impaired. Internships are generally a requirement for graduation, so make sure the program offers supervised internships with practicing court reports.

Another degree in stenography is a Bachelor of Science in Court Reporting. This degree program offers a combination of reporting skills, business background and communication expertise. Many working court reporters choose to get their Bachelor's degree to further their career and move into management or the education field. Depending upon the school their Associate's degree is from they usually can transfer their credits. Some of the core classes in a Bachelor's degree program are:

  • Accounting I
  • Criminal Law
  • The Laws of Evidence
  • Macroeconomics
  • Medical Terminology
  • Career Planning
  • Civil Litigation I
  • Contract Law
  • Civil Litigation II
  • American Government
  • American Diversity

To work as a court reporter many states have their own certification and/or licensing examinations. Many states accept or use the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) testing in place of the state certification or licensing examinations. Licensed court reporters are required to attend continuing education courses to maintain their licensure. On average it is 30 hours or 3.0 credits every 3 years.