It’s no surprise that many English majors consider becoming court reporters, as good spelling and grammar skills are vital to the profession. However, they should note that court reporting is not an easy job. There are physical, mental, and professional demands that can easily overwhelm even the coolest heads.
Here are some things to consider before pursuing court reporting in D.C.:
- You must be objective. You never know what you may hear in court, and there are plenty of unsettling or violent facts you will have to record while maintaining a professional attitude.
- You may have to make your own schedule. Once you have the skills, you can take your business anywhere. This may include freelancing or taking a company position, allowing you to choose a work/life balance that suits you and your family.
- Your attitude matters. Attorneys would rather use reporters they can depend on, and maintaining a positive and professional attitude is a good way to get repeat work or referrals.
- Certifications matter. Language proficiency isn’t the only technical skill you will need. Your marketability will improve greatly if you have passed the Registered Professional Reporter or Certified Shorthand Reporter exams.
- Workloads can be stressful. No matter what your experience level, you will be expected to perform your job quickly and accurately, including clarifying words from multiple speakers and providing fast transcription turnaround times.
No matter whether you find full-time employment at a circuit court or provide freelancing services for local attorneys, court reporting will always have its ups and downs.