First Off, What Is the Role of a Court Reporter?
Court reporters, also known as certified shorthand reporters (CSRs), are highly trained, licensed professionals who use a stenotype machine to transcribe spoken words in various settings, including courtrooms.
CSRs play an essential role in the justice system because they provide verbatim transcripts of judicial proceedings and ensure that nothing taints them. Court reporters are present in court hearings, trials, and other litigation-related sessions such as depositions. Reporters are in charge of recording and transcribing everything said by all parties involved in order to create a permanent record that can be referred to in the future. Both defendants and plaintiffs share these verbatim transcripts before they become case law. Court reporters have earned the label “Guardians of the Record” due to their well-known impartiality.
That isn’t merely a title. The official record contributes to the public’s trust in the legal system’s mechanics. Future judges and litigators will use the official record to evaluate the legitimacy of the losing side’s claims whenever they exercise their right to appeal. During the discovery phase of trial preparation, attorneys also scrutinize deposition transcripts.
How Do You Become a Court Reporter
There are several steps to becoming a certified court reporter in California. The steps below will help you demonstrate your ability and maintain your credibility during your licensing period. Read more here about the personal and professional qualities that make a great court reporter.
California’s Minimum Licensing Requirements for a Court Reporter
To become a certified court reporter, you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma (or equivalent), and never been convicted of a crime. In addition, you must have some experience with shorthand and transcription.
Complete a Court Reporter Educational Program
To become a certified court reporter in California, you must have prior experience in the field or have completed an approved educational program by the California Court Reporters Board.
Pass the State Examination
You must be able to transcribe 200 words per minute with a 97.5 percent accuracy rate to pass the California state licensing exam. You must pass both the written and performance skills tests to be certified.
Pass the Dictation and Transcription Exam
You must pass the dictation and transcription portion of the test after you have completed the application and included all required materials. It takes about 3 hours to complete the test. You’ll be transcribing actual court documents. For at least 12 minutes, you must maintain a word rate of 200 words per minute.
Pass the Written Exam in California
After passing the skills portion of the exam, you must schedule a date and time to take the written exam. There are many state testing centers from which to choose!
In California, How Long Does It Take To Become a Court Reporter?
Depending on the type of training program you enroll in, it can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to become a court reporter. Enrolling in an associate’s degree program is the quickest way to become a court reporter. More comprehensive degrees can take anywhere from 24 months to 4 years to complete. In addition, the length of these courses is determined by the chosen focus areas. The stenography court reporting, for example, takes 33 months to complete.
In California, How Much Does a Court Reporter Make?
There are numerous reasons why California is a high-paying state for court reporters and stenographers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that court reporters earned an average annual salary of $79,500 in May 2017. Where you live and how much you work can influence how much money you make in a year.
Maintain Your License by Meeting the Requirements
To keep your court reporter’s license, you must continue to meet the state’s requirements. Continuing education classes are required every two to three years.
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