5 Steps to Start a Career in Court Reporting

You’ve finally figured it out! You’ve heard the calling and seen the sign. You have talked to your parents and consulted your friends. Your purpose is clear and you’re ready to dive head first into your new career –
court reporting!

Yet, one question remains: exactly how does one become a court reporter?

First, it’s important to be aware that the process to become a court reporter isn’t an easy feat! By following these five steps, you’ll be on the fast track to joining the elite field of court reporting!

Find a school

Decision time! After determining that you love to hear people’s stories enough to transcribe them for a living, you need to find a suitable school. Most schools nowadays are online, but it is imperative that you find a recognized, reputable court reporting program. Graduating may result in an associate’s degree from a college program or a professional court reporting certificate.

Prepare for your program

Gear up! Students participating in a court reporting program will most likely need to purchase their own manual stenography machines, which vary in price from $100 – $300; be sure to give it a name because you will become best friends with it!  Some schools may also require a basic English comprehension or typing test before you begin classes.

Learn “steno theory”

Prepare to become bilingual! One of the first things you’ll learn in court reporting school is a steno theory, the shorthand language of stenography. Mastering this complex form of listening and writing is essential to the duties of a court reporter.

Improve your speed and accuracy

Practice makes perfect! To successfully graduate from a court reporting program, you must master the task of taking down two people speaking at 225 words per minute. Achieving this level of speed (and accuracy) requires a plethora of practice; studies prove that the more you practice, the quicker you’ll graduate.


You’ve put in the time and graduated from your intensive court reporting program –  now you’re ready for the big leagues!  Some states require certification to work and others don’t, but it’s always recommended to jump on the certification train, conquer that RPR exam, and set future goals to master other certifications.

Now What?!

You’ve paid your dues and now you’re ready to begin working! The road to become a court reporter can be lengthy and difficult, but the reward is well worth it. Less than 4% of students that start down the path to become a reporter complete it, so you are part of an exclusive group.

Congratulations and enjoy one of the most exciting careers in the legal industry!