How do I Learn Court Reporting Online?

Carol Francois

There are four steps to learn court reporting online: find an online school, apply for admissions, pay the tuition fee, and complete the course work. A court reporter is responsible for transcribing the dialogue in court into a permanent, legal record. The tools used by a court reporter have changed significantly in the past five years, and it is very important to receive proper training.

A court reporter is responsible for transcribing spoken dialogue in court into a legal record.
A court reporter is responsible for transcribing spoken dialogue in court into a legal record.

Court reporting is a skill that can be applied to other types of employment opportunities. Many court reporters also work in freelance arrangements, providing transcription services to meetings, broadcasts, and closed captioning for TV and movies. The flexibility of these skills allows the court reporter to make the best use of court reporting online training.

When looking for a school that offers court reporting online classes, the first item is to check for accreditation status. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party to validate the school’s academic and administrative policies against a minimum standard. Courses completed at an accredited school can be transferred to other schools and will be accepted by the certification board for court reporters.

Admission to a court reporting online program is based on a combination of high school graduation and completion of admissions tests. There are no specific high school courses required for this training program. However, most schools will administer three tests: typing, listening and English.

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The typing speed of a court reporter must be at least 235 words per minute. While this speed is not a requirement at the beginning of the program, students should be able to type at least 60 words per minute. Listening skills are very important, as the main function of a court reporter relates to listening and transcribing verbatim what is said. An excellent grasp of English, grammar and common slang is required to effectively work as a court reporter.

Programs that offer court reporting online classes are usually eight to 12 months in length. Tuition fees are often assessed on a per course basis. Check with several different schools, compare course fees, and determine if the fee includes incidental costs, such as textbooks or software. Student aid may be available from accredited schools, but might be based on a specific course load.

The course work for court reporting programs include advanced typing, training on the stenographer machine, software skills, and advanced grammar. The stenographer machine uses a smaller number of keys than a standard keyboard and is a special skill. Court reporting software must be learned, as the functions vary quite widely from digital voice recognition programs that must be trained, to programs that require manual editing of digital documents.

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