I recently read a great article dealing with the steps it takes to produce a transcript. It resonated with me because so often, as court reporters, we find ourselves scrambling to get the job done. The pressure of our job is unbearable at times, yet from a distance it’s difficult for “civilians” to understand just how much effort goes into preparing a verbatim transcript. One of the reasons court reporters are so overworked is because there just aren’t enough of us! Becoming a court reporter requires a large investment and a ton of hard work, but the prize is a satisfying and fulfilling career for those that are lifelong learners.
Court Reporters that come out of school have tens of thousands of dollars invested in their education, and even more tens of thousands invested in equipment, software, and maintanence fees. How far does that get you? It only means you can try to form relationships with agencies and these relationships are precious.
Once a court reporter manages to establish a relationship with a firm, or if they have a high enough risk tolerance and/or financial resources to solicit their own clients, the profession can be very rewarding.
Why Choose Court Reporting as a Career?
From an economic perspective, statistics can be found all over the internet about the amount of money you can make as a court reporter, but the truth is, it’s almost all dependent on your motivation. There is plenty of work out there, and finding it isn’t difficult if you take the right steps. With a Go Getter attitude, court reporters can make well over $100,000 per year. However if you like to cherrypick your jobs, you’ll find that less will be offered and you might lose traction with your agency. You’ll hear every agency tell you the same story along those lines. “Take the good with the bad.”
From a job satisfaction perspective, you’ll be hard pressed to find a career that gives you such deep insight into the lives and businesses of your community. As a court reporter, you really are on the inside track. The people you meet will absolutely blow your mind. Insane criminals, the business elite, and the smartest scientists on the planet, as any seasoned reporter will tell you, are all people you will meet. However, what I have found to be the most rewarding part of the job is the education. Court reporters become jacks of all trades. We can learn and converse with doctors on complex medical procedures; we can talk the talk with lawyers and understand how our justice system really works (and fails).
Court reporting is not for the faint of heart, but nothing that is truly rewarding ever is. If you’re considering becoming a court reporter, go for it! We need you.