Is a Court Reporter Certificate Worth It?

Working as a court reporter puts you front and center with the legal system.

You are on the front lines when historic cases are presented in court.

You also get to sit it out and be a fly on the wall as you record and document everything said.

Court Reporter

As a court reporter, you are the audience to some of the most interesting legal proceedings.

But should you get a court reporter certificate to work in this occupation?

What Are The Benefits of a Court Reporter Certificate?

With a court reporter certificate, you have the credentials necessary to become certified as a court reporter.

In several US states, a court reporter must be certified and licensed in that particular state to be eligible for employment.

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This involves taking a state-specific exam for additional certification.

The entire process of being a court reporter begins with earning a court reporter certificate.

Choose a training course for training and preparation for a court reporting certificate.

After your court reporter certificate, you can sit for a board exam and get certified as a court reporter.

These are two separate processes, but the entire journey starts with the certificate as a court reporter.

Therefore, you must get a court reporter certificate to be a legal court reporter.

Another option is to earn a degree in court reporting.

However, this is a two-year process, twice the time a certificate course takes.

Generally, you only need six to 12 months to get a court reporting certificate.

Save time and money by pursuing a certificate as a court reporter.

Court Reporter Training Programs and Schools

You learn how to be a court reporter in court reporter training and school.

This training teaches students how to transcribe audio information obtained in a courtroom or a legal briefing.

Training can be done online and completed without in-person instruction.

However, some schools will provide in-class traditional coursework for court reporting.

Choose the school and program best for your budget and training goals.

If you want the traditional college experience, consider in-person school as a student in court reporter training.

What Do You Learn With a Court Reporter Certificate?

The training is mainly technical when you go to school for a court reporter certificate.

Since the field of expertise in court reporting requires students to graduate with a unique ability in machine transcription, most of these skills are only obtained in school.

These skills include:

  • Court reporting techniques
  • Courtroom transcription
  • Machine shorthand
  • Legal writing
  • Law studies
  • Legal terminology

Apply these technical skills to the real-world setting of courtrooms where you provide legal writing and transcription.

Court reporting skills are mandatory in courtrooms and at legal dispositions.

Along with accurately documenting courtroom cases and legal proceedings, you must also be ready to share these with law teams and judges.

This requires editing and formatting skills involved with the legal process.

Everything has to be formally completed and perfectly accomplished for these environments.

One mistake can cost a person a life.

How Long Will It Take to Earn a Court Reporter Certificate?

Typically, earning a court reporting certificate takes about one to two years.

If you want to complete a traditional program in court reporting that leads to a certificate, this will take up to two years.

However, online court reporting programs that are 100 percent remote can be completed much quicker and within a year.

Yet, some students may need a more personal approach to in-class training or help guide themselves throughout the exercises.

As a result, taking a more prolonged course to earn a court reporter certificate is the most beneficial.

What Can You Do With This Certificate?

As someone with a court reporter certificate, you can apply to sit for a board certification exam.

There are several national exams for a court reporter.

Some states have exams for certification as a court reporter, such as the free online Washington state board exam for in-state employees.

You should start by getting national certification, such as with the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).

This involves applying for the certification exam after you have earned a certificate as a court reporter.

In addition, you need to check with the state where you will live and work as a court reporter.

Find out what the state requirements are for certification.

You may have to take another certification exam in your state when you become a court reporter.

What is a Court Reporter and Should I Become One?

A court reporter is a legal assistant who records information for the courts and legal system.

Typically, as the name suggests, a court reporter works in a courtroom.

However, as a court reporter, you can also work for a law firm or as a legal aide.

The purpose of a court reporter is to provide legal writing and documentation that will be used in a legal process.

This information is not reported to the media or used in journalism.

Instead, you must be discreet with the information required to transcribe as a court reporter.

Therefore, your job can put your life in danger if you are involved with high-profile court cases.

You are the documentarian of the entire courtroom scene and have all the information and vital records.

As a result, there can be some risk in a job as a court reporter.

If you want to work as an attorney or lawyer, these careers can start from court reporting.

You can also pursue other certificates, such as paralegal, and continue your journey in the world of the law system.

Is It Worth It to Get a Court Reporter Certificate?

Yes, getting a court reporter certificate is worth it if you have specific occupational aspirations.

Do you want to work in a courtroom day after day?

If so, you would be a great candidate for a court reporter.

You should also consider this career if you are interested in becoming a judge or a legal writer.

A court reporter certificate will start your career in court reporting and help you build your skills.

You can also use the certificate as a court reporter to help you gain certification by passing certification exams.

This process is necessary for being licensed as a court reporter.

You may also need additional certifications when you move to a new state to work as a court reporter.

All of these steps in working as a court reporter start with a certificate in court reporting.

Since you can earn this certificate online quite easily, and in less than a year with minimal investment, you should consider getting a court reporter certificate.

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.

One Response to Is a Court Reporter Certificate Worth It?

  1. Avatar
    Jeremiah Rhodes #

    For me, I think it is worth it since you have to gain experience and knowledge before becoming an official court reporter and it is good for your resume and additional to your skillset.

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