·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


Are You Interested in Being a Court Reporter? Here’s What You Must Know

— September 21, 2020

The fastest route for you to become a court reporter is to enroll in an associate degree program.

If you want to pursue a career as a certified court reporter in California, there are several steps you must take to ensure you meet the requirements. With the information here, you will be ready to pursue this career, and they will help give you the best opportunity for success in this position.

Remember, court reporters have a big responsibility in the courtroom. As a result, you need to ensure you have the proper training and necessary skills and abilities to handle the job. If this career path sounds interesting, but you want to ensure it is the right one for you, keep reading. The information here will provide you more insight into what to expect when earning certification for this career and position.

California Court Reporter Licensing Requirements

To become a certified court reporter in the State of California, there are a few minimum requirements you must meet. For example, you must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma, and no criminal history. It is also necessary that you have some level of experience in transcription and shorthand.

Educational Programs and Requirements 

Another requirement for court reporters Sacramento is to have experience in the field. If you don’t have the experience necessary, you can enroll in a program that has been accepted and approved by the California Court Reporters Board.

Certifications are given once you have successfully completed the required courses and completed and passed the state exam. There is also an apprenticeship program during the courses, which provide you with the required apprenticeship hours to receive certification.

To pass the test mentioned above in the licensing exam, you must transcribe 200 words per minute and have an accuracy rate of 97.5%. To receive certification, you must also pass the performance skills and written tests.

There is also a dictation and transcription test. This portion of the certification process takes about three hours. During this test, you transcribe actual court files and are required to keep up the 200 words per minute rate for a minimum of 12 minutes total.

After successfully passing the skills section of the exam, you have to set up a time to take a written test. In California, there are several locations for you to sign up and take these tests, which means there is likely a location that is convenient for you.

How Long Does It Take to Earn Court Reporter Certification? 

The amount of time it takes to complete the educational requirements to earn certification as a court reporter in California varies from one person to another. This is because it depends on the type of training program you enroll in. For most, this process will take between 12 and 18 months.

The fastest route for you to become a court reporter is to enroll in an associate degree program. If you are interested in earning a more extensive degree, the process could take between 24 months and four years to complete. Additionally, how long each course lasts are dependent on your area of focus. For example, if you are interested in stenography court reporting, then it requires approximately 33 months of your time to complete.

Starting Your Career as a Court Reporter

OKC law school courtroom; image by David Veksler, via Un
OKC law school courtroom; image by David Veksler, via Un

There are several reasons why California is one of the highest-paid states for court reports or stenographers. According to information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that court reporters will earn around $79,500. However, this varies based on several things, including where you live, how much you work, and more.

Keeping Your Court Reporter Certification

You must continue to meet the state of California’s requirements to retain your license and certification as a court reporter. Usually, this will involve investing in continuing education classes regularly. Most classes are required every two or three years. There is no question that once you earn your court reporter’s certification in California, it can be the beginning of a great career.

Join the conversation!