Court Stenographer Training


Become a Court Stenographer




Court stenographers are professionals also known as “court reporters.”  They have the duty of accurately preserving the record and producing transcripts of legal proceedings.  To accomplish this task, court stenographers use several methods.  The most recognized method involves the use of a stenotype machine.  As opposed to a regular computer keyboard, a stenotype machine contains 22 blank keys representing various letters of the alphabet.  Combinations of these keys are pressed simultaneously to create words and phrases using machine shorthand.  The pressing of multiple keys at once is referred to as “stroking” or “chording.”  Because whole words and phrases can be “stroked” in one motion by the court reporter, the spoken word can be transcribed at much greater speeds than regular typing.  Computer-aided transcription software allows the court reporter, or stenographer, to instantly produce a readable transcript.


Court Stenographer Methods


Other methods of court reporting, or stenography, include digital reporting and voice writing.  In digital reporting, the court stenographer uses advanced recording equipment in the courtroom or other official setting to record the proceedings.  When a transcript is requested by an interested party, the digital court reporter will use the recording to produce the transcript.  Voice writing is a technique in which the court reporter speaks into a special reporting mask containing a microphone that is interfaced with a computer.  The mask shields the court reporter’s voice from others in the room as he or she repeats everything that is said by the participants in a proceeding.  Both of these methods are used in official legal proceedings, as well as business conferences and agency meetings that require an accurate record.  It is common for local, state, and federal governmental entities to utilize the services of court reporters to preserve the details of important meetings and public hearings.
Court Stenographer Classes and Education
The time it takes to become a certified court stenographer can vary between one and four years.  Training in voice writing is the quickest way to get into court reporting, while stenotypist training requires the most time to build up to necessary working speeds.  Across the nation, the number of technical and vocational schools providing an education in court reporting is increasing, and several community colleges, junior colleges, and universities now offer degrees in court reporting and related fields.  Some states have specific requirements for becoming a certified court stenographer, including such things as successfully passing a state-administered test.  While most states require a court stenographer to obtain state licensure, there are some states that only require that a court reporter be a notary public commissioned to administer the oath to tell the truth.  Whichever state is issuing the certification, however, it is mandatory that the court reporter have received proper training by a professional organization.  Proper training and ability of the student court stenographer are evidenced by the granting of state certification to allow him or her to join the workforce.  School guidance counselors or admissions counselors can answer more detailed questions regarding certification requirements for individual states.

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