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How To Become A Court Reporter

Working as a court reporter offers you a rewarding and interesting career. One of the best aspects to working as a court reporter is knowing that no two days will be the same. Your day changes with the court cases, legal depositions, conferences, and board meetings you attend.

Yes, as a qualified court reporter, you have a deep skillset that means you can be called on to work in a variety of settings and situations. This gives you a career that is both exciting and stimulating.

Whether you want to become a court reporter in San Francisco or elsewhere in the country, there are some tops skills you need for this career. In this article we look the top skills needed for a court reporter and suggest some different employment opportunities.

Becoming a court reporter is one of the best decisions you can make. And now when someone searches in Google for how to find a court reporter in San Francisco or any other major city, they just might find you.

Becoming a Court Reporter

While every state has its own set of standards and qualifications for court reporters, we thought we would highlight the California requirements. California is ranked second in the U.S. behind Maryland, for its demand for and employment of court reporters. As well, California ranked second behind New York for court reporter salaries.

The California Court Reporters Board, within the Department of Consumer Affairs, is charged with the management of the court reporting profession. This includes overseeing and handling testing, licensing, and managing court reporters. The California Court Reporters Board is also in charge of approving and recognizing colleges and courses that achieve the state curriculum standards for court reporters.

It’s super important that you’re up-to-date with the steps to becoming a court reporter for your state. Don’t assume that the processes and requirements for California are applicable everywhere.

  1. California License Requirements

Make sure you meet the minimum requirements for the California license, including:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • High school education or equivalency
  • No criminal record for crimes that would prevent license approval

You must also be able to show proof of one of the following:

  • 12 months of full-time work experience in shorthand writing and transcribing
  • An RPR Certificate or Certificate of Merit from the National Court Reporters Association
  • A valid certified shorthand reporter’s certificate or license to practice in Georgia, Nevada, or Texas
  • A verified certificate of completion from a California recognized court reporting school
  1. Attend and complete an approved court reporter education program

If you do not have previous experience as a court reporter, an RPR, a Certificate of Merit from the National Court Reporters Association, or a court reporter license from Georgia, Nevada, or Texas you must complete an education program that is recognized and approved by the California Court Reporters Board.

It’s important that your education program meets the required number of hours and credits in key subject areas. Ensure that you confirm this requirement before enrolling and beginning your studies.

As part of your education requirements, it’s expected that upon completion you can type at least 45 wpm and have completed 660 academic and 2,300 machine hours.

  1. Pass the licensing exam

To pass the three-part California licensing exam, you must achieve 200 wpm with an accuracy rate of 97.5 per cent. This three-part exam includes both written and testable performance questions.

You will be tested with dictation and transcription exams that includes completing a transcription of a four-voice dictation from a deposition or court transcript. The next exams are the English Examination and the Professional Practice Examination.

Once you have passed your exams and submitted your Application for Licensure for New Licensee, you can start working as a court reporter. Take the time to find the ideal professional opportunity that meets your interests. Remember that along with working directly for a court, you can work for a private court reporting and legal transcription company.

This is a great time to be embarking on a career in court reporting. Remember to fully research the education and certification requirements for your state. It can be helpful to contact employers in your state to find out about the supplemental skills and education they require beyond the minimum state requirements.


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