To become a court reporter, you need proper training. According to a West Palm Beach court reporter, this technical process requires you to record spoken words in legal proceedings and transcribe them into text. You need the right skills and attention to detail because you are vital in carrying out justice. As such, this job requires proper education and certification. Not just anyone can enter this field without all the requisite classes or on the job training.
Requirements to Become a Highly Trained Court Reporter
Should you be a resident of Florida, you must take the proper training to practice this profession. Though a license is not required, you must still obtain the right education to properly carry on this job. Furthermore, court reporting doesn’t only pertain to a job description, but it refers to a crucial skill. Hence, you need a high school degree to proceed with a Court Reporting Certificate Program or an Associate’s Degree. Of course, these programs come with corresponding expenses. Let’s take a look at your options.
1. Complete the Court Reporter Program
According to a West Palm Beach court reporter, you may choose between several technical schools and community colleges in the Sunshine State. They offer court reporting certificates and associate degrees. The certificate has the shortest duration but getting an associate degree allows you to command more per hour.
Depending on your chosen track, you can complete the program within 28 months to three years. Additionally, these classes provide theories on shorthand and teach you about legal proceedings. Most of all, they teach you transcription machines with super speed, without compromising precision and accuracy.
2. Pursue an FL Professional Court Reporter Certificate
Noteworthy, a license is not a requirement to start practicing as a court reporter in this state. However, you can volunteer to take this certification. This will allow you to enjoy more employment opportunities. Furthermore, you can command a higher rate because you’ve attained a much higher skill level.
A West Palm Beach court reporter said that you become more marketable when you show proof of your proficiency. Thus, you can affiliate yourself with the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) to possess the Florida Professional Reporters (FPR) Certificate. It requires training and passing the final test. Securing this certificate means you are well-versed in the following topics:
- Producing transcripts
- Familiarity with appellate procedures
- Mastery of Florida’s rules of court
- Access to National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) advisory opinions
- Knowledge of federal rules of court
The Cost of Getting Education and Training for This Profession
The cost of training will depend on your chosen program and school. You need to find one that suits your needs, schedule, and budget. You can opt for a traditional classroom setup or online. Some offer flexible night or weekend classes so you can have a regular job to fund your schooling. Remarkably, most programs share the requisite of providing 2,850 hours of actual hands-on training.
A West Palm Beach court reporter also shared that you can start with a certificate course. However, later on, you can transfer to an associate degree program too. Take a look at the following examples below. These are the top three schools in Florida for court reporting, along with their requirements and details.
1. Atlantic Technical College
You’ll find this facility in Coconut Creek, offering a flexible class. They also offer online court reporter programs accredited by the NCRA. The program takes 28 months with 3 segments that must be finished in the right sequence.
- 750 hours of level-1 court reporting
- 600 hours of level-2 court reporting
- 1,500 hours of level-3 court reporting
Topics include legal terms, real-time tech, court procedures, and stenography theory. Upon completion of the required classes, you can take the credential test to begin working. Additionally, you can earn up to 27 credits from Broward College to continue an associate’s degree in industrial management technology. Details are as follows:
- Court Reporting Transcriptionist Program
- 2-year classes in a public suburb
- Approximately $9,030 for tuition and other fees
2. Miami Dade College
You can find this institute for higher education in 8 locations. Complete an Associate of Science degree in court reporting technology. Keep in mind that this path is more extensive, so it takes 30 to 36 months to complete everything.
With this basic training, you will learn to use real-time translation software. For example, you’ll be proficient in Case-Catalyst software. A West Palm Beach court reporter shares that this intensive program prepares you for a career in court reporting, closed-captioning reporting, and even freelance reporting. If you complete this, you can take the NCRA examination straightaway to earn your certificate. Details are as follows:
- Associate of Science in Court Reporting Technology
- Around 3 years in a large city
- Approximately $2,838 for in-state and $9,661 for out-of-state tuition and fees
3. Sheridan Technical Center
This institute belongs to the Broward Country Public Schools. The location rests in Hollywood, Florida. It consists of online courses in court reporting with 2,850 hours of training approved by the NCRA. Moreover, you will learn about legal jargon, medical terms, stenography, and machine shorthand. This entails the following:
- Online Court Reporting Transcriptionist and Court Reporting Program
- 3-year classes online
- Approximately $2,373 in-state and $8,673 for out-of-state tuition and fees
Other Considerations to Boost Career Performance
The programs, as mentioned earlier, were specifically designed to prepare students with the right fundamentals. Upon completion, you can take a state certification with the Florida Court Reporter Certification Board. You can also try out for certification with NCRA. Do note that state certification requires the following:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Possess a high school diploma
- Take the court reporting program
- Be of good moral character
- Pass the exam
If you already possess certification from another state or already have an NCRA certificate, you can ask for an exam waiver. Additionally, a West Palm Beach court reportershares that you must maintain your certification by paying an annual fee to renew your membership along with earning a minimum of 30 continuing education units at school every three years.
Final Wrap Up
To sum it up, court reporting provides you with a high-paying job opportunity. More than that, you will feel fulfilled because you become an important component of court proceedings by accurately transcribing data that the jury and judges use to search for the truth. Above all, you will find it very rewarding to help so many people seek out the justice they deserve.