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When we think of a court reporter we often see the person, sitting in the courtroom, typing out the dialogue for each person speaking. It is the responsibility of the court reporter to transcribe spoken or recorded speech. Once this has been put in written form it then becomes a transcript. However, a court reporter not only works in a courtroom but also in law offices and other locations where precise transcripts are required.
Before a person becomes a court reporter they must complete basic academic classes. Aside from legal classes, a person must also enroll in specific medical language, business law, and English classes. It usually takes two to four years to become a court reporter. Although it is not required in every state, some students go on to earn their associate or bachelor’s degree.
Aside from the educational background requirements, there are also other skills a court reporter must possess. It is important to remain current with the many changes that occur within the occupation. The person entering this profession must have a great amount of patience as well as speed and accuracy. In order to become certified, different programs require different speeds but 225 to 250 words per minute is the basic number in order to qualify for certification. The court reporter also needs an excellent command of the language.
Positions for court reporters are expected to grow faster than the average of other occupations between now and the year 2018. It is estimated that the growth rate will be 18%. This is due to the number of reporters needed for pretrial depositions, courtroom and attorney needs, and other areas requiring their services. In May 2008, court reporters had a median annual salary of $49,710 in the United States. The low started at $35,390 while the high reached $67,430. The highest 10%, however, earned more than $83,500.