There are four items to consider when choosing court reporting schools: equipment, admissions requirements, accreditation, and faculty. Court reporting school can be organized within a larger community college or offered as an online program. A court reporter is an officer of the court, responsible for transcribing the dialogue between lawyers, judges, and witnesses when court is in session. Their role provides the only official record of the statements made in court.
All court reporting schools should have at least two different types of court reporting equipment available for student use. This includes voice-activated and a stenographer's machine. A court reporter uses special equipment as part of their job and it is important to have experience with this equipment before graduation. Check the average class size to ensure you will have ample opportunity to practice using this equipment.
In order to qualify for admission to court reporting school, you must have high school courses in computer software, technology, and English. The best schools are usually located in a large city, located close to the courtrooms. Select a school in a city you would like to work in. This will allow you to maximize the connections you make while in school to help you in your career.
When looking at court reporting schools, make sure that the school is accredited. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party. Courses from an accredited school can be transferred to other post-secondary institutions. Accredited schools are able to offer students access to government student aid programs.
Most court reporting schools provide the biographies of the instructors on their website. The information listed typically includes the academic credentials and related work experience. Review this information to ensure that the instructors are qualified.
If you choose to use an online school, all the same considerations apply, but it is also important to check if it offers any job placement opportunities. This type of experience is very useful when looking for employment after you graduate. Many courts only use certified court reporters. It is therefore difficult to gain relevant experience if not arranged through a training school.
People who report the greatest satisfaction as a court reporter have excellent listening skills, excellent spelling and grammar skills and enjoy working independently. Many of the skills learned in court reporting school can be applied to other occupations, such as record transcriptionist or a freelance career as a minute taker.