How to Become a Court Reporter in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Seal

We’ve all seen a legal drama or movie with a courtroom scene.

Almost always, there is a mention of the court reporter.

That’s because this person has one of the most important roles in the room, despite the lack of attention to the person doing the job.

Having an accurate and live transcript of the proceedings ensures fairness and reliability.

So, as you can imagine, being a court reporter is a respectful position with high standards.

It would also be fair to note that court reporting can also be stressful.

Accurate records are dependent on the reporter doing their job perfectly.

If you’re excited about typing and are able to pay close attention, this might be the career for you.

Search Digital Court Reporter Programs

Get information on Digital Court Reporter programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

How to Become a Court Reporter – Step by Step


To start, you’ll want to find a program in Massachusetts that will culminate in your certification.

There are three areas you may want to look into, as far as reporting goes.

First is stenography, which uses computer software and requires students to type at a speed of 255 words per minute.

Next would be voice writing.

The National Verbatim Reporters Association has a slightly less intense WPM requirement of 225.

Lastly, electronic reporting.

This concentration will allow students to become familiar with various reporting software.

Passing this would result in a certification from the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers.

Become a Notary

In the great state of Massachusetts, if you’re interested in becoming a court reporter, it is mandatory that you first become a public notary.

To get that certification, students will need to show proof of a notary training course that has been completed.

That proof will need to be sent along with the application to become an official notary.

Along with the application, you’ll need a lawyer and three Massachusetts citizens to endorse you.

Find Employment

Once students have successfully completed a court reporter program and are notaries, they can apply for work as a court reporter.

Start by looking at the Massachusetts NCRA page.

Job listings go up there regularly and the site is extremely reliable.

Beyond NCRA, a great place to gain employment is in the government.

Courts across the state are likely to be in need of a court reporter.

Court Reporter Schools in Massachusetts

Boston UniversityBoston University

The court reporter program may be taught at a university, but it’s not like your normal degree program.

At Boston U, you can get your court reporting course out of the way without ever having to step foot on campus.

The course is online and self-paced.

That means you can take your time, which means you can enter the workforce with confidence.

Completion means students will be at 225 wpm.

In total, expect to spend just over $6,000 on the court reporting certification course.

That is unless you need the mandatory machine, which will add almost $2,000 to the costs.

University of Massachusetts at AmherstUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst

At UMass Amherst, you can take education to the next step.

Here, you can get an Associate in Applied Science degree with a concentration in court reporting technology.

Students must have, at minimum, a C average to qualify for graduation.

In addition, students must have borderline perfect scores on the capstone exams.

Students will be required to have an internship as well.

To get an associate degree at UMA, the cost will be $35,000.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the demand for court reporters?

While there are court reporters in every courtroom across America, there is not a huge expectation of a boom in need as the future looms near.

The field is expected to grow about 3% over the next decade.

That may not sound exciting, but it’s more or less average with other industries.

So, the demand may not be out of the ballpark, but it’s still a job that is frequently looking for candidates.

It’s also a career that once you get into it, the set-up is pretty comfortable.

Many stay in the same place court reporting for years.

Is court reporting stressful?

It can be, yes.

This is a job where accuracy is paramount.

Room for errors is pretty much non-existent.

That type of pressure can be a heavy burden to carry.

Perfection, multitasking, and deadlines can cause mental fatigue.

On the flip side, court reporting happens in a typically calm environment with a reliable schedule.

Why do court reporters still exist?

You may be thinking that with all the technology we have, why is it still necessary to have someone physically create a transcript during court proceedings?

The first benefit of a live person is immediate access.

If the judge wants to go over a piece of testimony that just happened, a court reporter need only look at the paper.

Questions can be answered at that moment.

It’s also important to have a transcript available for those who are auditory-challenged.

This makes the entire case accessible for anyone who might need special accommodation.

Court reporters are still the best way to ensure accuracy in a live setting, like a courtroom.

Court Reporter Salary Information

The average salary for a court reporter in Massachusetts is $70,000 annually.

Of course, depending on experience, that number can vary quite a bit.

If you’re fresh on the scene, you might be looking more along the lines of $35,000.

If experience follows, you can look forward to an upwards of $112,000 a year to keep the court honest.

These numbers are above average in comparison with the US, as a whole.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Massachusetts

City Name Salary
Boston $70,500
Worcester $66,032
Springfield $65,372
Lowell $68,260
Cambridge $70,500
Brockton $68,329
New Bedford $66,577
Fall River $66,577
Lynn $70,500
Quincy $70,500

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH200$87,690$42.16$100,370$50,080
* 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.

3 Responses to How to Become a Court Reporter in Massachusetts

  1. Avatar
    Faith Cox #

    I had no idea the process was so detailed! Thanks for breaking it down step by step. Definitely considering this career path now.

  2. Avatar
    Kevin Sanders #

    I’ve always been interested in law and language. This seems like the perfect combination of both.

  3. Avatar
    Jared Chapman #

    Great article! Clear and concise. Now I know exactly what to expect if I decide to pursue this career in Massachusetts.

Leave a Reply

Search Digital Court Reporter Programs

Get information on Digital Court Reporter programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings
Search Programs