If you’re interested in a career field that’s looking bright for the future, then a court reporter may be right for you. Today, many people are looking for new careers but their interested field may not be hiring. This may be frustrating for the average person who may not want to go back to college and simply doesn’t have four years to spend on a degree. However, the career of court reporters in Miami and around the states is a growing field.
The president of the National Court Reporters Association reported that 15% of this industry is reaching retirement age, causing new gaps in the job field. The legal profession is highly dependent on this position as well. Florida court reporting salaries are expected to be on the rise with more demand than supply. Court reporting is also a unique career where individuals can make connections with lawyers, judges, and other professionals that may provide benefits in their future career goals.
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Court Reporter Duties
A court reporter’s primary job is to create a record of everything that’s said in the courtroom. Reports capture and transcribe everything that’s said by all parties during a case so that there is a permanent record which can be used in the future. These transcripts are documented verbatim and can be shared by both sides before entering case law. The court lawyer is an impartial position which is why they’re often considered to be guardians of the courtroom.
This is more than just a title though. The official record of the proceedings helps to safeguard the legal process. When the side which has lost the case may want to appeal, the official record is used by the judge and litigator to determine if the claim is legitimate. Attorneys will also review the transcripts of depositions while preparing for a trial.
Prerequisites to Becoming Court Reporters in Miami
The good news about becoming a court reporter is that this is a specialized position that doesn’t require any prerequisites. Most of what you need to learn is going to be covered in a program. In order to take this course though, you have to be able to speak, read, and write English fluently. You should also make sure that you’re an expert in spelling and grammar. Reporters should be able to type at least the average word per minute speed of 41 or be able to put in the time to improve your speed.
Most of what you need to learn can be taught. However, the one requirement that you must have is a dedication to being professional and impartial regardless of what is happening in the courtroom. Everyone is treated equally under the law and reports have to record the statements faithfully in order for this process to function.
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Degrees and Licenses
In the state of Florida, the process to become a court reporter is fairly straightforward. You will need to complete a court reporter program. This may be an associate’s program or attend a dedicated court reporter school which offers a professional certificate or diploma. Check to see that the program adheres to the NCRA’s general requirements and minimum standards.
With these programs, you’ll earn credit hours and training in how to write machine shorthand, medical terminology, law foundations, court reporting and procedures, captioning, and similar coursework. The goal of these programs is to prepare you for the NCRA’s Registered Professional Reporter Certification.
After obtaining this coursework, you’ll sign up to take the Florida Professional Reporters Certification. This is a one-day seminar that will cover Florida specific rules and ethics. At the end of the seminar, you’ll be able to take the exam. An exam score of 80% is required and then you’ll receive a certificate.
Starting to Work
Once passing the exam, you can apply for positions and start to work right away. If you want to maintain your certification though, you will have to complete three continuing education units on a triennial basis. Your state association is a great resource that has multiple continuing education opportunities and also offers opportunities to network with other court reporters in Miami.
Although there are many court reporters in Miami jobs, it’s still a good idea to develop connections. Some positions may be more desirable and competitive than others. Consider becoming a member of the NCRA. This will not only keep you up to date with the latest developments in your profession but also provide ample opportunities to network and new employment opportunities. They provide additional education and coursework which may help to open new career paths in the future if desired.
The number of court reporters in Florida is growing and the state has about 1,350 reporters. However, due to turnover and new job creation, there are anticipated to be hundreds of jobs available annually. Salaries vary widely between the metro areas of Florida so it’s best to explore options if you’re in a position to relocate. Miami has a larger number of openings and also pays better than surrounding areas at the mid-level and the top of the salary pyramid. Their annual wages are $3,000 more than the state average. The median salary is around $40K, but with more experience, court reporters can expect their salary to be much higher.
This field is growing significantly and has a high salary potential in addition to providing access to a powerful professional network. Once completing training and certification as a court reporter, these professionals have the chance to work directly for the courts at a federal, state, or local level.
Many court reports also choose to work for themselves or a private firm. A larger firm may have their own in-house reporting, which can be a viable option. Regardless of the career path chosen though, courts will always need guardians of the record. The communication skills of reporters are becoming more valuable by the day. For anyone who has an attention to detail and is interested in pursuing a career path with great potential, this is a great option to consider.