Crime and punishment, court room drama is big business. At any given time, you can find any number of TV shows playing across the dial. Interesting, or so it appears, one of the unsung heroes of the court room is the court reporter transcriptionist. If being a court reporter transcriptionist sounds like something that might interest you, then this guide to what skills, training and where to find jobs if the place to start.
A court reporter transcriptionist generally doesn’t type from a recording of some type, but as people are speaking. The trial transcripts, depositions transcripts and other such important things are typed out as the person is speaking. In TV shows, you may have heard an attorney say “Can you read back the last question or answer”. It is the court reporter transcriptionist who has recorded everything that will do this.
To put it simply, a court reporter transcriptionist is a person who does real-time transcription of the spoken word into some type of format that can be seen almost instantaneously.
As with all transcription, the ability to type quickly and accurately is a must. When it comes to being a court reporter transcriptionist, this is imperative. Due to the fact that you are recording as it is being spoken for almost instantaneous review by others, the one skill that almost every company requires is a typing speed of 200 wpm and for federal employment 225 wpm or more.
Your hearing must also be very good, because you will be dealing with all sorts of voices, voice levels, tones and accents, you must be able to discern what is being spoken easily. You can’t stop them from speaking and have the person repeat themselves over and over. With general transcription, you can rewind the tape to rehear that part again this is not true with court reporting transcription.
The short answer is yes. Court reporter transcriptionists need some highly technical skills and most companies and positions do require at least the court reporter certification. While many of these certification programs online, some people find that attending physical classes helps.
There is a shortened certification program, but most positions will also want you to have at least your AAS (Associates of Applied Sciences) in Court Reporting and some jobs may want you to have both. Some programs are hour based instead of credit based. Some programs require that you pass a set of skills before advancing to the next course or level. The length of time will be dependent your state and the certification program you choose.
Many states also require both the certification and AAS to be licensed and certified in your state. If this is the case, you often will have to take a licensure exam to ensure that you are capable of meeting the minimum requirements set forth.
Just another note, many states also require that court reporter transcriptionists become notaries as well.
Above and beyond the degree and certification programs required, the training you will need will be very dependent on your state. However, you may want to join the National Association of Court Reporters, which also has some requirements and training that you will want to take.
You will want some training on the various types of court reporting machines including stenographer machines and voice to text machines. Either way, for those getting ready to graduate and new graduates, there is often a work-study, preceptor ship or internship that will help you get that last little bit of real world experience.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012), the national average rate of pay per year was $48,160. The average hourly rate of pay was $23.15 per hour. According to salary .com, the average median wage was $52.831 as of November 2014.
Of course rate of pay will depend on experience, certification, licensure and state in which you live in.
The last piece of the puzzle when considering becoming a court reporter transcriptionist is where can I find employment? While there are a wide variety of places, we’re going to take to take a look at a few of the online places.
TranscriptionJobsHQ.com: We have partnered with top companies to offer you a very easy-to-use job search engine that pulls all listings from Simply Hired, Monster, and Indeed to show you just about all of the legal transcription jobs that you can find on the internet. If you can’t find your job here feel free to keep searching elsewhere, but we are confident that our database has most of them.
Upwork.com: The transcription jobs on this website range from large to small. Once you create a profile, start out by charging a reasonable rate by audio/video minute and then build up your profile to eventually have a higher cost and repeated clients. It takes some time, but this can be a great way to get multiple clients coming back over and over again.
Rev.com: This is a great company to join if you'd like consistent transcription work provided to you. The problem with joining this company is that you'll be paid less per audio minute because they have to make money too, but they are very consistent with the work that they get.
Simplyhired.com: This is a job listing site that covers a wide range of industries. You can search by keywords such as transcription or corporate transcription. You will want to have a general cover letter that you can edit for each job and a relevant resume as you apply directly to the company itself. These jobs can be at home or in an office.
Careerbuilder.com: One of the largest of the job listing sites, careerbuilder.com has been around for well over 15 years. Again, you will want to upload a relevant resume and have a general cover letter that you can review and edit for specific companies. Since companies can also search the database for relevant workers, it is good to have a copy there as well.
Again, using key words, you will search the database for relevant jobs and apply per the specifics listed in the job details.
Monster.com: Another large job listing site, you can upload resumes, use the resume builder, develop cover letters, search the database for position and review job details. You will apply to each job per the instructions listed in the job details.