There are many people in the courtroom when a case is heard.
When you think about everyone in the courtroom, you often think of the judge, lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, and the bailiff.
The one person many people overlook is the court reporter.
This is likely because the court reporter doesn’t speak during the case and listens instead.
The court reporter is responsible for capturing every word spoken by everyone involved in a court or deposition proceeding.
After, they prepare verbatim transcripts of the proceeding.
Like most jobs, there are good and bad things about being a court reporter, and you should understand the pros and cons before pursuing court reporting as a career.
Pros of Being a Court Reporter
There are many good things about becoming a court reporter, and some of these reasons could help you realize that this career is right for you.
#1 The Job Pays Well
You can earn a good salary working as a court reporter.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average salary is $61,660.
This is just an estimate, and your salary would depend on a few factors, including:
- Your experience
- The city and state you work in
- Your employer
- Your academic qualifications, achievements, and certifications
You can negotiate your salary with your current employer as you gain experience as a court reporter.
You can also set your salary expectations if you plan to look for a new job after becoming more experienced.
Considering how well this job pays with little experience, it could be an excellent career for you.
#2 A Positive Job Outlook
When choosing a career, you want to find something with a positive job outlook so you don’t have trouble finding a job when you complete your training.
The job outlook for court reporters is excellent, and job opportunities are expected to grow by 3 percent between 2020 and 2030.
This translates to about 2,100 new job openings to replace people leaving the position or courts needing to replace court reporters.
If you become a court reporter, you can enjoy job security.
#3 You Won’t Need a Bachelor’s or Graduate Degree
Many jobs require at least four years of college, and some require more.
Fortunately, you don’t need a four-year degree to become a court reporter.
Many technical schools and community colleges offer certifications and associate degrees to become a court reporter, and you can complete the courses in less than two years.
Some states require court reporters to have a professional certification or a state license, and some will require you to pass a typing test, but you won’t need to spend four years in college to become a court reporter.
#4 You’ll Have Freelance Opportunities
If you don’t like the idea of working for one employer, you can become a freelance court reporter or transcriptionist. You can also take freelance jobs on the side to make some extra money.
You can set your own schedule working as a freelancer, improving your work/life balance.
You may need state-specific certifications, but your skills will help you land freelance jobs.
Best of all, you can make more money as a freelancer than you can working for one employer.
#5 You Can Develop Your Skill Set On the Job
Working as a court reporter will help you hone skills you already have or develop skills you didn’t have before.
These skills include:
- You can improve your concentration, which will help you remain focused while you’re working to improve your productivity.
- Improve your listening skills, allowing you to hear every word during the proceeding.
- Your attention to detail will improve, allowing you to draft reports that capture every word and are error-free.
- You can become better at multitasking, allowing you to listen to the court proceedings and write a quality report at the same time.
- You can improve your time management skills, helping you meet deadlines.
- You can improve your typing skills working for a court reporter, improving your speed and accuracy, which will impress your boss.
#6 Some Jobs Allow You To Work Anywhere
Some court reporting jobs require you to listen to a taped proceeding and type what you hear verbatim.
If you have a job like this, you can take your laptop, headset, and foot pedal anywhere, allowing you to work wherever you want.
It’s important to understand that not all jobs are like this, and if you can’t find one, you’ll be in a courthouse or an office all day.
Cons of Being a Court Reporter
While there are many great things about being a court reporter, the job also has its downsides.
No job is perfect, and you should understand the cons of being a court reporter.
Some downsides could be deal breakers that make you decide the job isn’t for you.
It’s best to understand the downsides before going through the training and realizing the job isn’t for you when you’ve already landed and started a job.
#1 Sedentary Work Environment
If you’re an active person, the sedentary work environment of a court reporter may be challenging for you.
Sitting in front of a computer for long periods during the day can also affect your health over time.
If you believe this is the job for you, there are things you can do to make sitting in one place all day easier.
For starters, you can take a walk during your breaks to get some exercise during the day.
You can also sit in an ergonomic chair to prevent neck and back issues and wear glasses with blue light filters to protect your eyes.
You can also park as far away from the building as possible in the morning and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Also, you can go to the gym or exercise at home after work to get the physical activity you need each day.
#2 Long Work Hours
Whether you work as a freelancer or for an employer, you can expect to work long hours, and they won’t always be consistent unless you work in a courtroom.
Judges often hear court cases from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but if you work anywhere else, your hours could be long.
For example, depositions can begin early in the morning and last most of the day with few breaks.
Some depositions can start in the afternoon or evening and into the night.
The long hours can be hard on your body and your eyes, so it’s best to take breaks when everyone else does.
#3 The Job Can Be Stressful
If you have trouble dealing with stress on a daily basis, working as a court reporter could make your life miserable.
You know what you’ll be doing each day as a court reporter, and you don’t have to take your work home, which is great, but the job can still be very stressful.
You will have deadlines that must be met each day, which can be stressful, and hours of multi-tasking can be mentally draining and it will add to your stress.
If you’re sure that a career this is the career for you, you can spend your breaks combating the stress.
Reading a book, watching funny videos, and meditating during breaks can reduce stress.
Also, you can do something you enjoy on your days off to prepare you for the stress of your next work day.
#4 High Expectations Regarding Accuracy
You must be a fast typist to be a good reporter, and your employer will expect your documents and depositions to be 100 percent accurate.
This can be challenging, even for someone who has been doing this job for years, and can add to your work stress.
If you really want to be a court reporter, you can take online practice courses during your free time to improve your typing speed and accuracy, allowing you to turn in accurate and error-free final reports, but you must be willing to put in the time.
If you have a family and responsibilities at home and don’t have the time to practice during your free time, you might be best suited for a different career.
#5 The Same People and Surrounding Everyday
This could be a pro or con, depending on the person.
If you love a strict routine and hate change, this could be an excellent job for you.
However, if you get bored quickly, the monotony of your workday can become frustrating, and you’ll be unhappy at work.
Should You Become a Court Reporter?
Whether you should become a court reporter depends on whether you can handle the cons and are willing to take the necessary steps to overcome them.
For example, you might love the job if you’re willing to deal with the long hours and find ways to add activity to your sedentary workday.
The same is true if you are willing to practice during your free time and find ways to combat your stress at work.
If you aren’t prepared to make these changes in your life, the job will bring you down, and it’s best to look for a different career.
Pros and Cons of Being a Court Reporter Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Court Reporter||Cons of Being a Court Reporter|
|The Job Pays Well||Sedentary Work Environment|
|A Positive Job Outlook||Long Work Hours|
|You Won't Need a Bachelor's or Graduate Degree||The Job Can Be Stressful|
|You'll Have Freelance Opportunities||High Expectations Regarding Accuracy|
|You Can Develop Your Skill Set On the Job||The Same People and Surrounding Everyday|
|Some Jobs Allow You To Work Anywhere|