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Court Reporter and Stenographer Career and Education Information

Job Descriptions February 21, 2013

Court reporting is the responsibility of a professional known as a court stenographer who types, transcribes, or voice writes. Accurate legal records of hearings including court proceedings have to be kept by a stenographer. Stenographers and court reporters are usually no different from one another, but stenographers’ responsibilities end within the courtroom, court reporters may have additional duties outside of it. In this article, we will take a look at the education and career information for a court reporter and stenographer:


Court reporters need to have exceptional listening skills, typing and grammar. In the course of their duties, a stenographer or court reporter is expected to create transcripts of events such as meetings and legal proceedings. They will need to use voice writing or stenography to create an accurate legal record of such events.

Job Skills and Duties

Transcription of legal events is the primary role of court reporters, they also have responsibilities to fulfill before and after such events, such as the maintenance of a key or dictionary to translate voice recordings or keystrokes and transfer them into text. Post-proceedings, the content must be edited for correct grammar by court reporters. Some of these professionals use voice writing, electronic reporting or a stenotype machine in the transcription of legal events. Excellent grammar, punctuation, English vocabulary, hearing and listening skills are mandatory for these stenographers who also need to be accurate and fast.

Training Required

Training and certification for court reporters varies according to the state in which they are employed. The kind of reporting a person seeks to specialize in will also influence the nature of training. Those seeking entry level jobs can complete training programs over a time-span of less than a year while real stenographers would need training that last nearly thrice as long. Specific skills are learnt on the job by many court reporters. Three diverse national certifications are offered to voice writers by the National Verbatim Reporters Association, namely, Real-Time Verbatim Reporter, Certificate of Merit and Certified Verbatim Reporter.

Career Opportunities

A court reporter has various specialties to choose from, depending on their training and education. Often, court reporters are employed in attorneys’ offices or courtrooms. There are also freelancers and independent contractors operating from their residences working as court reporters.


Students who have a penchant for electronic reporting, voice reporting or stenography; they should launch themselves on a career path as a court reporter. Individuals who have excellent grammar and listening skills apart from attention to detail and the ability to work at a fast pace, they are likely to excel in this field.

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