How to Become a Certified Court Reporter
Do you want a career where you feel fulfilled? Perhaps one where you’re making a difference? Court reporting in Miami does all this and gives you independence along with job security. We need law courts to keep our society together and you can be part of that.
Why Court Reporting in Miami Could Be For You
As an officer of the court, reporters are held in high regard. They don’t just transcribe legal proceedings. They support each deposition by making sure the logistics are all organized in the background. This includes getting the witness and the attorneys to the right place and at the right time.
As an industry, it’s one that’s always going to be in demand because courts always need to record their proceedings. Furthermore, many are currently retiring so the industry needs new people. Not only will you be looking at average salaries of around $60,000 per year but you’ll also be in demand.
Court reporting in Miami has now gone fully digital. Reporters not only have to certify transcripts in a speedy manner, but they also often produce real-time transcripts. This puts them in constant liaison with attorneys who might need to refer to the notes.
If you enjoy details and find yourself generally calm and conscientious then court reporting in Miami could be for you. Other critical skills include time management, collaboration and assertiveness. At times, you have to pause a proceeding and remind everyone to speak individually and clearly.
Law crosses everyday life constantly. It’s a fascinating web that covers family, pensions, benefits, intellectual property, industry and many more aspects of life. As a court reporter, you’ll be in the thick of how we’ve built this society further contributing to its evolution.
In terms of your day-to-day, you can also expect these benefits from a career in court reporting in Miami:
- Constant learning
- Remote opportunities
No two proceedings are the same. One day could be covering medical malpractice and another day could be a lawsuit on discrimination.
Not only are you exposed to various aspects of the law but also various specialist subjects. For instance, gene therapy or the latest AI products. Moreover, you have a range of digital tools to work with so keeping you at the forefront of technology.
Covid has made remote reporting the norm. Of course, many proceedings still opt for in-person but remote court reporting gives you many more lifestyle options.
Becoming a Certified Court Reporter in 5 Steps
The good news is that you don’t need a degree because the court reporting program you choose can give you a degree if you wish. Of course, if you do have a degree, you can carry the subjects over into your program depending on your school’s policy.
In terms of getting that final certification, here are the main steps you need to follow:
1- Choose your path
Some court reporting schools have more general programs whilst others allow you to specialize. For example, you could choose to become a judicial reporter or a closed captioner reporter. The first one transcribes proceedings, depositions and hearings whereas the second one provides live feeds to broadcast networks. Sometimes judicial branches use closed captioning services although it also means you can expand your field of service into other industries for example sports.
Another path you might choose to follow which again can cover several industries is CART (Communications Access Realtime Reporting). This service is geared towards people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Don’t forget that you can also ask your prospective school for their advice.
2- Apply to a Court Reporting School
When looking for a program that covers court reporting in Miami, make sure you note the difference between getting a degree and a certificate. If you have a degree already, you could jump straight to the certificate you want. Otherwise, you might have to choose a court reporting degree.
Depending on what you choose, overall it will take you between 2 to 4 years although the average in Florida is about 2 years. When you choose your school, be careful to look at options such as remote versus in-person classes. Also, some programs will be more flexible on how you take the courses whereas others will need you to attend during specific hours.
Again, make sure you talk to the school to understand what they offer to suit your lifestyle needs. You might also want to review what financial or well-being support they provide.
3- Practice and prepare for the final exams
It goes without saying that you’ll need to practice shorthand note-taking. This is one of the primary things you’ll be tested on in the final exam. Moreover, many students have to buy their own stenograph machine and in some cases, their own computer-aided transcription (CAT) software.
As well as being tested on words per minute, you’ll also be examined on your knowledge of fundamental legal, medical and industry terminology. Such knowledge is required to help you transcribe more accurately.
4- Complete an internship
Normally an internship takes a few weeks but some companies for court reporting in Miami might offer their own mentorship program. This helps you learn the craft while allowing you to shadow someone. Mistakes can impact the outcome of a proceeding so you want as much support as possible at the beginning.
5- Earn your license
Interestingly, the state of Florida doesn’t impose that court reporters need to be certified. Although, the Florida Court Reporters Association does highly recommend it for anyone looking for quality service.
Nevertheless, now that remote court reporting in Miami is possible, you can pass license exams for other states. This gives you flexibility if you want to work as a freelancer and build a portfolio of clients from home.
Parting Words on Certifying for Court Reporting in Miami
If you enjoy writing and have an eye for detail, court reporting in Miami could be for you. Every day you’ll learn something new thanks to the variety of the work. Moreover, you can be certified within 2 years with great progress towards becoming an esteemed court reporter.