Court reporters, also known as stenographers,have an important role to play in court proceedings by ensuring there are accurate records. Judges and lawyers depend on these transcripts!

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You'll find court reporters attending depositions, hearings, and proceedings.

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What Skills Should I Possess?

  • Ability to concentrate for long stretches of time

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  • Meticulous, with a track record of producing error-free work

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  • Exceptional ability to listen and absorb details

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  • Excellent knowledge of grammar and above-average writing skills

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Know the Equipment

A court reporter may need to learn to use:

  • a stenograph machine

  • a steno mask

  • digital recording devices

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A stenograph machine is very different from a typical keyboard and allows the user to transcribe quickly.

A stenomask allows the court reporter to speak what's happening into a closed microphone, which others can't hear.

Digital recording devices are used to create audio or video files. In some cases, the reporter will create a written transcript using the audio recording.


The first step to determine the appropriate training and certification to become a court reporter is to know the requirements of your state.🗺️

After you complete high school, required training may include earning an Associate’s degree or completing a certificate program. 👩🏿‍🎓

  • Many community colleges and technical institutes offer programs related to court reporting. 🏫

  • Required classes will include English grammar and phonetics, legal procedures, and legal terminology. 👨🏽‍💻

  • You'll practice creating accurate transcripts quickly. Some courses will teach you how to use the equipment. 📰

  • Prepare to spend 2-3 years working through a typical court reporting program. 🗓️

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Licensure and Training

Nearly half of US states accept theRegistered Professional Reporter certification offered by National Court Reporters Association in place of state certification or a licensing exam. 

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The National Verbatim Reporters Association and American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers offer certification for digital and voice reporters. 

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Each of the above certifications require both a written exam and a skills test. 

On the job training is required, but varies by equipment used and type of reporting.

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Once you complete your education and training, it's recommended that you join a professional organization such as the National Center for State Courts to explore networking opportunities.

Advice from a Pro on How to Succeed as a Court Reporter

The most important thing in court reporting is to stay organized. We often juggle multiple deadlines for transcripts and we have to stay extremely organized in order to not miss a deadline. We’ve got to manage work that’s out to scopists and proofreaders. And we have to keep our accounting organized to constantly manage the accounts payables and receivables. Our profession is deadline driven and organization is crucial.

--Cassandra Caldarella, a court reporter in Orange County

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Kay wants to become a court reporter. What classes should she take in high school to prepare?

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