Court Reporter Training

Court reporters record what transpires in legal settings and related contexts. They are relied upon to be accurate, fast, dependable and to blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. What they do allows for people to review and refer to just what happened during that monumental court case or that important business meeting. They even allow for the deaf or hard of hearing to enjoy programming on such topics as sporting events and religious ceremonies.

To get to a high level of proficiency, court reporters require adequate training. This training can take place in different locations and for varying durations, depending on what particular field and salary the court reporter-in-training desires. Once fully trained in the art of court reporting, certification and recertifications are important in order to maintain proof of competency. The NCRA (National Court Reporters Association) has information about recertifications as well as lots of other valuable information about court reporting in general.

Study at Court Reporting schools revolves around two particular focus areas, Theory and Speed Building. Theory will give you the proper background and framework. Speed Building will help you attain the speed that is required of you. Developing your expertise in these domains will allow you to flourish in your court reporting career.


To be an effective court reporter, it is important to have a good grasp on the profession. You will learn about the different settings and contexts that court reporters work in. You will learn about the history of court reporting and innovations in technology. Proper English and grammar will be addressed as well.

You will also learn about various technologies that allow for effective and efficient court reporting such as the stenotype machine, voice silencers, and computer aided transcription (CAT).

Depending on which branch of court reporting you go into, you will go more in depth on different topics in theory. If you will be using the stenotype machine, you will learn about its makeup and uses. This twenty-two key machine is arranged differently from a computer keyboard, and at first will be quite unfamiliar. When you get a better grasp on the positioning and functioning of the keys, you will see how much faster the process can get.

If you are studying to be a voice writer, attention will be paid to the process of saying back what you hear verbatim into a device which records your voice while blocking it from being heard by others.

If you will be doing court reporting in a particular field such as law or medicine, you will learn all about the terminology specific to those areas. If you are new to these fields, it can be like learning a new language. However, becoming fluent with the terminology of your particular area of court reporting is essential for your success.

Speed Building

Its all about getting up to the 225 words per minute. This speed is a requirement of the the NCRA as well as the United States government. Speed building involves utilizing the theory that you learned and becoming faster in your transcription. Detail is paid to posture, alignment and finger positioning. There are various computer programs that provide aid in testing your speed. This area of study involves a great deal of practice.


Court reporters study in different settings depending on the field they plan on working in. This may take place in vocational or technical schools or in a college. Over 60 programs have been certified through the NCRA.

Freelance court reporters usually undergo a formal training as well, though they gain valuable on-the-job experience in several different settings. Some freelancers work for broadcast companies, providing services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. They may also attend sporting events or religious ceremonies. Others work as Internet information reporters and may train on location at the office buildings of the businesses they work for.


The amount you will have to pay for getting properly trained in court reporting varies greatly depending on how long you need to go for and which particular school you go to. You may pay anywhere from $5000 to $28000. This amount of tuition depends on the type of school such as whether is a community college or court reporting school. The community colleges will tend to cost a bit more, particularly if you get your associates degree and not just a certificate. An additional expense is a stenograph if you choose that field. These cost anywhere from $1000 to $2000 new and less for a used or older model.


Some top schools for court reporting include Sumner College in Oregon, the Academy of Court Reporting in Pennsylvania, the Stenotype institute in Florida, Business Informatics in Florida and the Colorado Technical University which offers their court reporting programs in South Dakota. There are also many on-line programs to choose from. Check with the NCRA for a fairly comprehensive list of schools that are fully certified.