How to Become a Court Reporter in Florida

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Florida is notorious for wild legal proceedings ranging from an emotional distress lawsuit for children seeing a costumed character at a theme park not wearing a mask to a drug addict causing a fire in a hospital while trying to use drugs near an oxygen feed.

As a court reporter in Florida, you get a front-row seat to these types of cases, so your day will always be interesting.

Due to the State’s rapid population growth, Florida has plenty of openings in the field with the third highest national employment level.

There are several steps to becoming a court reporter in Florida, so keep reading to learn more!

How to Become a Court Reporter

Graduate from a Court Reporter Program

A formal education is required to kickstart your court reporter career.

However, the education type depends on the school’s program.

Community colleges tend to offer associate degrees in the field with additional liberal arts classes, whereas dedicated court reporters and technical schools have professional diplomas or certificates.

When searching for a court reporter program, it’s essential to find one that adheres to the General Requirements and Minimum Standards created by the National Court Reporters Association.

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This ensures consistency of programs and sets graduates up for employment.

To graduate, students must pass dictation tests with at least a 95 percent accuracy and earn credit hours for court reporting in machine shorthand.

Also, students must be successful in the following courses:

  • Captioning
  • Communications and writing
  • Court reporting procedures
  • Court reporting transcript preparation
  • Foundations of law
  • Medical terminology
  • Vocabulary and usage
  • Word processing

Pass the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) Certification

The FCRA offers state certification, which has become a de facto requirement for employment in recent years.

Since the program was initiated, over 1,000 applicants have received the certificate.

The program is achieved by attending the Florida Rules and Ethics Certification Seminar, which is only a one-day commitment.

The seminar concludes with the certification exam, which requires a score of at least 80 percent to pass.

Find Work as a Court Reporter

When searching for employment, countless opportunities exist with private reporting agencies and in the State’s court system, including the following:

  • Executive Reporting Service
  • Florida Circuit Courts
  • Florida County Courts
  • Florida Digital Reporting
  • Florida District Courts
  • Florida Supreme Court
  • Kress Court Reporting
  • Orange Legal
  • Palm Beach Reporting Service
  • Trial Tec

Maintain your Certification

Once certified, court reporters must maintain the FPR certification by completing three continuing education credits every three years.

In addition to the certificate, the Florida Court Reporters Association is an excellent resource for networking with others in the field and achieving continuing education classes.

Another worthwhile membership is with the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), which offers employment opportunities, networking, and extensive information regarding certifications and other relevant information.

The NCRA also offers courses and continuing education programs for members.

Court Reporter Schools in Florida

Champion StenoChampion Steno

Champion Steno is a leading online court reporter school that focuses on lectures using digital books, the Steno machine, and online content.

Students also learn how to use Eclipse, a standard stenography software.

The program begins with students learning theory, progressing into speed building until they become proficient at typing 225 words per minute.

The program costs $300 per month, with a one-time purchase of Eclipse software for $100.

This self-paced program can take up to two years to master.

Hardeman School of Court Reporting and CaptioningHardeman School of Court Reporting and Captioning

Although located in Tampa, the Hardeman School of Court Reporting and Captioning is an online-only program with live instructors from the industry.

One of the best aspects of this school is a supervised internship is required for graduation.

The Hardeman School provides students with the knowledge and skills to pass the RPR exam and be successful in the industry.

The main path is the steno course, which covers machine shorthand, speed-building writing concepts, CaseCATalyst transcription, English grammar, and the American legal system.

Students start at 60 wpm and graduate with 225 wpm or more.

The other option is the transcription course, which requires a 12-month commitment, and the student reaches 120-140 wpm.

Key CollegeKey College

Located in Fort Lauderdale, Key College has offered a court reporting program since 1975, thus earning a national reputation for producing high-quality graduates.

The school offers a digital court reporting certificate and an associate degree in court reporting.

Students can take classes in-person or online for more flexibility.

The certificate time commitment can take up to one year since it focuses only on digital court reporting.

The associate degree takes around two years since non-major core classes are required, plus court reporting coursework.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are court reporters in high demand in Florida

Court reporting is a unique career, so few hold this position.

States with the largest populations, like Florida, need more reporters as the population continues to expand.

As a result, court reporting is an in-demand profession that pays well and has excellent job security, especially for those working in the Florida court system.

Is there a high dropout rate for court reporters in Florida?

Another one of the driving factors for court reporter shortages is that only 10 percent of those who start school graduate.

Finishing a court reporter program is a requirement for most employers, so those who don’t graduate can’t be hired within the industry.

What does a Florida-based court reporter deal with at work?

A typical day for court reporters involves sitting in the same position for many hours, dealing with the pressure of deadlines, constant multitasking, fraught witness testimony, and dealing with various client moods and personalities.

While this may sound stressful, the position is highly lucrative, and only a handful of individuals are court reporters in each State.

Court Reporter Salary Information

The U.S. median annual court reporter salary is around $62,000, with pay ranging from $31,000 to $99,000 annually.

The Florida court reporter’s yearly salary is slightly lower at $60,000, with pay ranging from $30,000 to $96,000.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Florida

City Name Salary
Jacksonville $59,493
Miami $60,727
Tampa $59,556
St. Petersburg $59,568
Hialeah $60,444
Orlando $59,438
Fort Lauderdale $60,764
Tallahassee $56,377
Hollywood $60,764
Pembroke Pines $60,369

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Jacksonville, FL**$49,910$23.99$84,710$27,420
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL510$55,750$26.8$87,300$28,290
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL30$52,000$25$86,300$27,970
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL260$48,940$23.53$72,760$35,340
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL170$52,680$25.33$84,950$27,520
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners, OCC Code 27-3092, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Court Reporter Programs by State

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.

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