Congratulations on your decision to become a North Carolina court reporter! In spite of what you may read in the media, digital recordings are not replacing court reporters and there is an ever-growing need for new professionals to join the field. If you’re attending court reporting school while working full-time, you’re going to need to have a good support system, stay organized, and communicate with loved ones that you need time to study so that you can meet or even beat that 225 wpm minimum requirement to become a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR).
Connect with your support team.
For some, you may be able to tell your employer or trusted colleague about your plans but for others, the risk of losing the stability of a job while going to school may be too great. Either way, you will need to rely on your support team. Whether that means hiring a babysitter to pick the kids up from school, a dog walker to keep your pooch happy, or a service to provide healthy meals, you will likely need to make adjustments on the home front.
It will be exceedingly important to communicate with your spouse, family, and friends about your schedule so they can support you and also distract you when you need a break from work and studying.
Research online court reporting schools.
Before signing up for the first program you find, research options, ask other court reporters for referrals, and use industry resources.
If you’re going to attend court reporting school while working full-time, we recommend looking at online court reporting school programs or established online professional schools. The last thing you want is to pay to be in a program that isn’t accredited or doesn’t understand how to teach to students who are studying from remote locations. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has a list of NCRA-Approved Court Reporting programs.
The key to staying sane and as stress-free as you can be, is to stay organized. How you do that is really whatever works for you and your family. My husband and I share a Google calendar so we can see when we each have appointments.. We use a grocery delivery service because we like having groceries but don’t always have time. My brother and sister-in-law use grocery shopping as a day date activity which I think is pretty cool and accomplishes two things – time together and having food in the house – which are both important.
Find what works for you as you travel this amazing journey and attend court reporting school while working full-time. And don’t be afraid to change whatever isn’t working.