Court Reporter Salary

Court reporters, for anyone who doesn’t know, are professionals who make real time transcriptions of spoken words, gestures, and other information taking place during court proceedings. That, at any rate, is the strict sense of the term. The term has come to be used more loosely however to indicate a wide variety of real time transcription professionals who cover business meetings, speeches, conventions, live television events, and even day to day activities for the hearing impaired.

The court reporter profession pays quite well and has a fair amount of flexibility. The following are court reporter salary figures from two different sources: the Unites States Bureau of Labor Statistics and the web site Salary.com.

The US BLS places the median at $47,810. They offer information in terms of statistical percentiles and the court reporter salaries that correspond to them. The bottom ten are cited as making $24, 410 annually. The rest of the percentiles are as follows: 25th – $34,710, the median (50th percentile) is given above, the 75th percentile comes in a $67,420, and finally the top ten percent are listed at $89,240.

This squares fairly well with the Salary.com figures. The percentiles given on the site are as follows: Bottom 10%: $25,136 25thpercentile: $36,356 75th percentile: $65,951 top 10%: $80,121. The median is listed as $50,388.

Another site, Payscale.com, lists salary ranges that correspond to certain areas of the industry. According to the site the best salaries come from government reporting work. The site lists the salaries for this type of work as being between $43,452 and $72,959. The next best paying jobs are in the credit reporting industry, which the site says come in at from $41,421 to $70, 729. Salaries for legal services (this would presumably be your classic courtroom reporting and other work of a legal nature) are given as between $39,199 and $68,263 a year. Second to last are salaries for public law offices which are between $37,219 and $63,632. Finally, the site gives translation and transcription services as being the lowest paid, being between $33,183 and $55,850.

So it is clear that even given differences in ranges for popular court reporting industry areas, the profession pays on the whole quite competitively. A number of different factors affect court reporting salary. They include:

Location:

Salaries will differ from area to area as will licensing and educational requirements. The going rate for court reporting in one area of the country may or may not be similar to other areas.

Type of Work

As noted above there are different salary ranges for different areas of the industry. Generally government work is the best paid. This may be due to the especially high standards of accuracy that are necessary in government reporting.

One notable instance here is that in transcription or translation services, for instance services for the deaf or for foreigners the work is paid on an hourly wage rather than yearly salary plus bonuses, which characterizes some the other types of work in the field.

Experience Level

As in any other field, those just staring out can expect to make less than those who have a lot of experience. This is to be expected. Court reporting and transcription skills are not learned overnight, and even if someone has entry level skills from completing an educational program their skills and general knowledge will increase greatly as they accrue more and more real world experience. This will generally result in raises in pay.

Degree Type

This may or may not have as big an effect as people assume, but it certainly can have an effect. Some people start out in the field with little or no formal training. This may be fine, but employers may prefer somebody with an Associate’s degree, which is a common degree type to have in the industry. So lower paying jobs may be offered to those without degree, unless perhaps they have a lot of experience and background that they can prove.

Own Business

Some people prefer to strike out on their own rather than work for an employer. If you set yourself up as a court reporter in independent business for yourself, you will have things like overhead to worry about, but your earning could end up being substantially higher than if you were hired by a company. This is especially true if you get an actual court reporting service going and have a number of employees working for you. Their salaries will count as part of your overhead, but you can still make tidy profits in this growing industry.

Court reporting is a great field to get into if you enjoy fast paced work and enjoy working with speech and text. Though salary should not be your only priority when seeking a new career, it’s nice to know that if court reporting interests you, you can expect a salary that will be quite comfortable and livable.