Stenographer Training

To become a court reporter it takes an average of 33 months of schooling and training. Stenography is usually offered as an associate's degree in court reporting, although you can also pursue a bachelor's degree. Some of the courses you will take for an AA degree are terminology, machine shorthand, transcription and auditory language skills. Like other technical college programs besides the training, you will need to take some required college courses. To graduate you will need to pass all of the speed tests on your steno writer. A good court reporter will need to be able to concentrate for long periods of time and have a strong legal vocabulary. Court reporters spend hours taking down testimony verbatim and then they create a written transcript. Stenographers will need to have a technical knowledge of their machines and the software required for their profession.

There are stenography specializations, such as engineering, closed captioning for the hearing impaired and medicine. Make sure the training program you are considering offers the specialty you are interested in. Graduation requirements usually include an internship with a licensed and practicing court reporter. Any stenography training program you are considering should be NCRA (National Court Reporters Association) certified. You can research this on their website: NCRAonline.org.

Selecting a Court Reporter Training Program

The Council on Approved Student Education (CASE) has developed a list of questions that a student might want to ask a prospective school. Included below are a few of them.

  1. How long has the school been in existence?
  2. What is the length of the program and average time to reach speeds?
  3. What percentage of students who enroll graduate and become court reporters?
  4. How many days a week are students expected to attend classes?
  5. What are the class sizes?
  6. How many court reporting instructors are CRI's (Certified Reporting Instructors)?
  7. Is theory taught using real-time? If not, is real-time training given?
  8. At what point in the curriculum is extensive Computer Aided Transcription (CAT) training introduced?
  9. What are the school's graduation requirements?
  10. Is employment assistance available?
  11. What are the entrance requirements of your institution?
  12. Are students required to purchase or rent a stenotype writer?
  13. What student services are available-counseling, financial aid, tutoring?

You can become a successful court reporter with the proper training, a lot of practice and the right certification. Most states have their own certification test, while many will accept a nationally accredited certification examination like the RPR (Registered Professional Reporter) certification.