The legal industry is growing at a rapid pace and qualified people are needed to fill many new job openings. Lawyers, judges, law clerks, paralegals, and court reporters are just a few of the jobs necessary for the legal system to function.
The legal system continues to grow and expand in response to population growth. Every civic building inside a developing municipality will require a fully-staffed legal department to keep an accurate accounting of everything that takes place inside its boundaries. Because courthouses and legal chambers serve many purposes in addition to holding trials, it is vital that there be new court reporters to step into those positions. The occupational statistics compiled by the United States Department of Labor state that the need for court reporters will grow approximately 14% between 2010 and 2020. This means that thousands of new jobs will have to be filled in the very near future. Government work in general is considered a very stable field so people who train for a career in legal services will have a strong chance of retaining their position even during times of economic downturn.
Personality, Skill-set, and Education
People who are detail-oriented, comfortable with technology, and interested in the law can make good court reporters. A court reporter also has to be a good self-starter and able to work independently or in a team as the job requires. Most court reporting work is done inside a courtroom or in an office setting, though some people doing transcription work may do their job from home.
Court reporters handle sensitive information on a daily basis, so their ethical standards must be exceptionally high. Courtroom records may not immediately be available so anything a court reporter has seen and heard inside the courtroom has to be kept classified until the record is complete. Just like members of a jury, a court reporter has to resist any temptation to discuss an on-going case with friends and family member or with members of the media.
Court reporters are trained in a traditional post-secondary educational setting; a professional certificate in court reporting can be earned at a technical school, community college, or through a specialized training program. Financial aid may be available to students who qualify. While the use of transcription tools and technology is part of the educational curriculum, some students choose to pursue additional certification in other forms of recording and transcription.
A career as a court reporter is not the only path a student enrolled in such a program can pursue. Many of the skills and technical proficiencies attained through the academic program can be applied successfully to in-demand jobs in media, news, business, and many other industries. As the need for closed captioning continues to grow, media companies everywhere are looking for people skilled in the use of transcription equipment.
A new court reporter will find considerable professional support by joining an industry organization. One such organization, the National Court Reporters Association, provides their members with informative publications, opportunities for continuing education, access to job listings and career-enrichment events, and many other services of interest to a court reporter.
Working as a court reporter is not for everyone, though people with the right personality and professional skills can find themselves in a rewarding lifelong career The stable nature of government work and the flexible skill-set gained through this work makes it possible for many people to work in a career that suits them perfectly.