Court Reporter Salary Guide [2018]

Court Reporting Salaries

Court Reporting Job Description

The creation of verbatim transcripts of legal proceedings, speeches, conversations, meetings, and other events is done by court reporters. This information is often recorded, captured in shorthand, or obtained using a stenotype machine. It is then transcribed and provided to lawyers, judges, and the public, upon request. Court reporters must ensure that an accurate and complete legal record results. They also sometimes assist trial attorneys and judges with official record information searches. Many are now providing real-time translation and closed-captioning services for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Court Reporting Salary Statistics

Range in Annual Court Reporting Wages

May 2010 statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reflect a mean annual wage of $53,270 for this occupation. Approximately 18,430 people are employed in this occupation, the majority of them working for state governments. Local governments are the highest payers, providing a mean annual wage of $57,050 in May 2010. Business support services feature the highest concentration of employment within this occupation.

Highest annual mean wages are paid in Oregon, New York, Maine, and California and the wages are substantially higher than in other states, exceeding $80,000 per year.

Court Reporting Job Outlook

2008 – 2018 Projected Employment Changes 3,900 new court reporting jobs 18% increase in employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job prospects for court reporters look excellent over the next several years, especially for certified individuals. Employment growth is being stimulated by the increased demand for real-time captioning and translating of broadcasts for hearing-impaired individuals as well as the need for accurate transcription of court proceedings. Between 2008 and 2018, 18 percent employment growth is projected, which is greater than the average for all U.S. occupations.

Court Reporting Education & Training

Court Reporter Education Chart

Area of specialization determines how much training is required to become a court reporter. In addition, there are licensing requirements, which vary by state. Those who perform electronic recording and transcribing learn on the job. Becoming a novice voice writer usually takes under one year but it may take two years or more to become proficient in real-time voice writing. On average, approximately 33 months is required to become a real-time stenographic court reporter. Approximately 100 postsecondary technical and vocational colleges and schools offer this training. Over 60 programs are certified by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). Each includes courses in real-time reporting and stenotype computer-aided transcription. Students must capture at least 225 words per minute in order to complete an NCRA-certified program.

According to an occupational survey conducted by O*Net, 75 percent of respondents in this career possessed an associate’s degree and an additional 20 percent had taken some college courses. Only four percent had obtained their bachelor’s degree. Tuition for degree programs varies by level of degree and school and most U.S. colleges and universities offer some type of financial aid. To serve as a voice writer, some states require individuals to pass a test and earn a state license. As an alternative, the National Verbatim Reporters Association has three national voice writing certifications and earning these qualifies an individual for licensure within the home state.

Related Occupations

Several other types of workers record information, type, and process paperwork on a regular basis. Information processing and data entry workers enter data into a computer and perform clerical duties.

Human resources assistants record employee information into paper files and databases.

Medical transcriptionists transcribe medical reports that are recorded by healthcare practitioners regarding office visits, diagnostic studies, chart reviews, and treatment summaries. Interpreters and translators interpret sign or oral language or translate written content from one language to another.

Court Reporter Salary and Career Guide

A court reporter reports all the activities that transpire in a court. However, it is not limited to matters handled inside the court. The court reporter fulfills the responsibilities of legal proceedings inside and outside the court premises. This could include any pertinent conversation between two or more parties. There is a great demand for documenting all that goes on so that there is tangible evidence available. The proficiency of the court reporter is put to the test because of the absolute accuracy that is required. The capability of a court reporter is also proven by how accurately the information is recorded.

Apart from court matters, there is a variety of services including broadcasting and translation for television. This has also created a number of jobs for voice writers that can use the technology that requires speech and technology that captures audio.

There are 18,430 court reporters not including the self-employed reporters. They receive a mean hourly wage of $25.61 and a mean annual wage of $53,270. The median hourly and annual wages are $22.93 and $47,700, respectively.  With hourly wage of $12.36 and an annual wage of $25,710 for the tenth percentile and hourly $16.84 and annual $35,030 for the 25th percentile, this remains below the median.

At the other end above the median, it is $33.24 hourly and $69,140 annually for the 75th percentile and  $43.89 hourly and a wage of $91,280 annually for the 90th percentile.

Of all the cities in Massachusetts, Boston and Cambridge have the highest median salary of $56,566. In these two cities, the tenth percentile earns an annual wage of $27,988 and the 25th percentile earns an annual wage of $40,814. The 75th and the 90th percentiles earn an annual wage of $74,038 and $89,944, respectively. Hampden and Springfield share the same median wage of $54,671. In these two cities, the tenth and 25th percentiles earn an annual wage of $27,051 and $39,446, respectively. The 75th and 90th percentiles earn an annual wage of $71,557 and $86,931, respectively. Worcester has a median wage of $55,058. The tenth percentile earns $27,242 and the 25th percentile earns $39,726. The 75th percentile earns $72,064 and the 90th percentile earns $87,546.

From 2008 to 2018, there is an expected growth in the number of jobs from 21,500 to 25,400 making it 18% of growth. The median wage in 2008 was $49,710. The Certified Verbatim Reporter, the Real-time Verbatim Reporter, and the ones who have earned the Certificate of Merit are all awarded the respective certificates from the National Court Reporters Association. With these, there is a definite possibility for growth and advancement. Over and above these, different states may expect a qualifying test in order to become employed in the following industries such as State Government, Business Support Services, Federal Executive Branch and the local government.  As there is always a need for accurate documentation and accurate transcriptions, the demand for court reporters is only expected to grow.

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