Stenographer Salary

We have all seen court reporters on television, both in the movies and on highly publicized courtroom cases. The field of stenography has many career opportunities, with court reporting expected to grow 18-25% by the year 2018. Graduates of a stenography school can choose to be a court reporter, creating the verbatim transcripts in legal proceedings. They may work for the state or federal government in civil/criminal trials and hearings. About a third of court reporters work full-time this way, receiving a salary and benefits from the government. Freelance stenographers make up the other two-thirds, working through agencies as contractors. They are hired by lawyers for pretrial depositions and hearings. Most state and federal court reporters have to have been a freelance court reporter for at least 2 years and pass specific exams and speed tests.

Salary Ranges for Court Reporters

Salaries for a court reporter range from $20,000 to $45,000, with experienced reporters earning over $75,000 per year. Freelance court reporters usually earn a flat rate per page of what they write. This can range from $2.50 per page to $6.50, dependent upon the turnaround time required. Six hours of testimony works out to about 250 pages. State and federal court reporters do not have to make a transcript unless the attorney orders one. If it is required they get paid extra to create a transcript and could earn several thousand dollars per year just for these transcripts.

Another career choice for a stenography school graduate is a closed caption reporter. The need for closed caption reporters is growing rapidly and students starting out in the industry can expect to earn a yearly salary of between $30,000 and $80,000. Students wishing to become a broadcast captioner will need to specialize in that area. Other stenography specializations are available in medicine and engineering.