How Much Does it Cost to Become a Court Reporter?

Looking for an exciting new career?

Court reporting may be the answer.

Court reporters play a vital role in legal proceedings and hearings by providing transcripts of everything that is spoken during a proceeding.

Court Reporter

This provides important information during hearings and other events by preserving everything that is said during a case.

Some court reporters are also able to provide closed captioning and real-time translation to assist the hearing impaired or deaf.

This career requires a high school diploma or GED.

Costs of Getting Certified as a Court Reporter

Costs are related to training, education, and certification.

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There are specialized court reporter training education programs at many community colleges.

These are often offered as part of a two-year associate degree.

Typically, tuition and fees for these programs are $750-6,150 a year based on a two-year program that includes 15 units each semester.

These are a few programs to consider:

As a rule, California has the lowest per-unit rates at $26.

On the other hand, programs at the Community College have much higher program costs at $205 per unit for in-state residents.

This is just a rule of thumb to consider.

What you need is education and certification from the National Court Reporters Association.

Programs differ in what they provide:

  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, West Valley College offers an associate degree in court reporting for $26 for each unit. In total, that’s $2,100 for in-state residents in total. However, the program is approved by the National Court Reporter’s Association.
  • Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio also offers an approved program. They also offer a captioning program. Their program costs $6,700 for instate programs and $13,700 for out-of-state students.

There are some colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in court report with costs that don’t matter whether the student is an in-state or out-of-state resident.

Costs for the programs range from $5,000-$23,000 per year.

An example is the program at AIB College of Business in Des Moines, Iowa.

They offer a 72-credit hour program for $18,000.

Bryan College offers programs at several campuses in California.

These programs are generally offered at $9,000-10,000. Another option to consider is a nonprofit school.

Many offer diploma and associate programs for about $7,000-12,000.

Online Court Reporting Programs

This is another option that may work for students who are also working.

These programs generally cost about $4,000-12,000.

A good example of this is the program offered at the Arkansas School of Court Reporting.

Their programs range in cost from $4,400-5,000.

This is a 36-week program offered online.

There are many more good online court reporting programs available.

Finding the Right Program for You

There are several professional organizations that have directories where you can find a number of different programs that might be a good fit for you.

Some of these include:

  • The US Department of Education has a program locator called College Navigator that allows you to search by zip code and program type.
  • The National Court Reporters Association also has a national directory that lists approved schools.
  • The National Verbatim Reporters Association also lists affiliated programs.

Finding Financial Aid Assistance

Most community colleges and universities offer financial aid.

Additional information can be found online at Student Aid.

Finally, the College Board also provides financial aid information.

What Programs Include:

You need to consider that in order to get certification from the National Court Reporters Association, the program needs to cover verbatim recording, transcription production and distribution, maintenance, and professional ethics.

Also, the programs need to be from accredited organizations recognized by the US Department of Education.

Other things to look for are whether the program provides internship and job placement opportunities.

The bottom line students must have dictation speeds of at least 225 words a minute with 95% accuracy.

There are Additional Costs to Be Aware of:

While in a program, you may be required to use a stenotype machine or voice writing machine.

These can be rented for about $150/per term, or they can be purchased for about $900-2,100.

Acculaw, Inc. is a good source where equipment can be rented or purchased.

Some schools also rent steno equipment. StenoMask also provides software for voice captioning and transcription services.

This costs about $1,500-2,000 for the length of your degree program.

Books and Other Costs

Expect the books for your program to run from $500-759 per course.

The books for California community colleges can cost $1,500/year.

If you are looking for room and board, depending on where you are costs can range from $2,000-9,920 per term.

Certification Fees

Getting certified as a voice writer requires $150 to take and pass an exam.

While the National Court Reporters Association recognizes a number of certifications.

Taking these exams ranges from $140-200.

The most common is the Registered Professional Reporter certification.

Also, membership with the National Court Reporters Association costs $110-260/year.

Membership with the National Verbatim Reporters Association has exam fees of $125-200.

Membership fees are $150-200.

They provide five different certifications for voice writers.

If you are considering a career as a court reporter, there are many different options.

Often there will be programs near you.

There is also the option of online programs to access the education you need.

This can be a rewarding career, especially for those interested in the legal process.

Consider looking further into this career option!

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

6 Responses to How Much Does it Cost to Become a Court Reporter?

  1. Avatar
    Alejandro Neal #

    You can get financial assistance or scholarship to any programs including becoming a court reporter, it is best to have connections too inside.

  2. Avatar
    Scout Hoover #

    I think it is worth every penny, I’m planning to shift my career to being a court reporter, it is a great contribution to society too.

  3. Avatar
    Ronin Flores #

    Certification fees are a bit pricey, but I can save money for it but I need to get my certificate ASAP because it is one of the requirements for my job application.

  4. Avatar
    Betty Roland #

    The cost might seem daunting at first, but from what I’ve researched, the demand for court reporters is high, making it a worthwhile investment for many.

  5. Avatar
    Drew Bennet #

    I’ve heard that some court reporting schools offer flexible payment plans, which can make pursuing this career more accessible to those on a budget.

  6. Avatar
    James Ross #

    It’s essential to factor in not just the upfront expenses, but also ongoing costs like equipment maintenance and certification fees.

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