Becoming a Court Reporter
Becoming a court reporter requires a commitment of time, effort, and money.
You start typically at a court reporting school. These are usually private business schools located in large cities. The NCRA maintains a list of approved schools. The course of training and practice takes most people several years.
Most of the practice is in the skill of live transcription. You start out slow and then build up your speed, accuracy, and stamina to a point where you can take down hours of rapid speech.
You will also need your own equipment. A steno machine is needed during the training. Some rent or buy a used manual machine for their early training, but, upon going out to report for real, production quality equipment is needed. This includes an electronic stenographic writer, a desktop computer, a laser printer, a notebook computer, and the CAT software to run on the computers.
Additionally, since most reporters are self-employed, home office equipment is also necessary: a space to work in, a fax machine, and possibly an additional phone line or two for fax and business calls. A cell phone is also necessary for the independent reporter.
So, all in all, a new reporter is looking at several years of study and $10,000 worth of equipment to get started.
In states where reporters are certified, the reporter must pass the state certification exam. Even where certification is not required, tests to pass levels set by the National Court Reporters Association can designate a reporter as having achieved a certain level of skill.