Would you leap at the chance to have a job that pays $100,000 a year after just two years of training? If you’re a court reporter, you already answered “yes”—but, unfortunately, your numbers may soon be dwindling.

Common Challenges of Becoming a Certified Court Reporter

The demands of the job and the rigorous training process aren’t the only factors driving the court reporter shortage. In Illinois alone, the state government estimates it will need roughly 400 new court reporters over the next 15 years, since nearly 75 percent of its staff will reach retirement age. It will take a considerable influx of new reporters to fill the market, but there are a number of things holding them back:

  • Technical skills. Court reporters have to pass a rigorous set of requirements to be certified, including typing at least 220 words a minute with 95 percent accuracy, pass classes in complicated medical and legal terminology, and take rigorous English grammar courses. They are also required to pass a certification exam every year.
  • Lack of training facilities. While some schools offer reduced tuition for full-time court reporting students, it is harder and harder to find accredited programs as recording technology leaps forward. Despite the rigorous learning process, most court reporters have a 100 percent job placement rate after graduation.
  • Emotional fortitude. Court reporters often have to leave for a deposition on a moment’s notice, work through the night to finish a transcript, and sit through court proceedings with horrifying subject matter, all of which can begin to take an emotional toll on the reporter.

While California, Texas, and New York have the largest shortages of court reporters, D.C. may not be far behind—and the consequences can be grueling. Many criminal proceedings waiting for court dates at the state government level are delayed because of a lack of court reporters to take testimony, stalling the judicial process.

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