Verbatim Court Reporter Using Stenomask
Verbatim or voice court reporting can be a fulfilling, lucrative career, and with the current shortage, opportunities for young professionals are boundless.
In an age where a college education can mean nearly insurmountable debt and the job market is mediocre at best, court reporting is one career choice that is both affordable and in demand. A precise, accurate record of legal proceedings is a vital part of the justice system so there will always be a need for court reporters to ensure those records exist.
What is voice writing?
Voice writing is a method used for court reporting, and closed captioning. Using the voice writing method, a court reporter speaks directly into a stenomask – a hand-held mask containing one or two microphones and voice-dampening materials. As the reporter repeats the testimony into the recorder, the mask prevents the reporter from being heard during testimony.
Verbatim reporting may involve either real-time feeds of the proceeding or the preparation of a transcript following the proceeding’s conclusion. The stenomask is connected to a laptop computer, which is loaded with the latest speech recognition software, thereby allowing the voice writer’s spoken notes to be translated onto a screen via a real-time feed or into transcript form.
Voice writers enjoy very high accuracy rates, and many are drawn to the naturally effortless appeal of this career. Unlike traditional court reporters who utilize the stenography method of court reporting, voice writers need not learn stenography and shorthand. And, because the act of voice writing is far more streamlined than stenography, these professionals enjoy speeds of up to 350 words per minute.
Projections indicate that the shortage represents nearly 7,700 qualified reporters over the next 5 years. But why would such a lucrative industry experience this kind of shortage?
There are several factors at play:
Increased demand in the legal field — increased legal activity has driven the demand for qualified court reporters higher.
Increased demand in other industries — A growing number of fields (including business, politics, medicine, professional sports, television and many more) require real-time court reporters and transcriptions of conferences, seminars, and video.
Significant retirement rates — The median age of working court reporters is 52 years old. This is ten years older than the median age of workers in all occupations: 42 years old. Additionally, 70% of the court reporting population is 46 years or older. This contributes to significant retirement rates in the industry.
Low education and enrollment rates — Court reporting schools across the nation have reported a steady decrease in enrollment over the last two decades. The schools attribute this trend to low-awareness and the push toward four-year degree programs.
With high demand, high retirement, and low enrollment, there just are not enough reporters to go around. All these factors contribute to the imminent court reporter shortage, despite the rewarding opportunities the industry offers.
What This Means for Reporters
Current court reporters will experience an increased demand for their services. Court reporting firms and freelance reporters will likely encounter more and more opportunities for business. Some experienced professionals may even find themselves caught up in bidding wars for their expertise. However, as demand rises and professionals retire, court reporting firms and legal firms will find it increasingly difficult to hire qualified, quality reporters.
Prospective court reporters will find themselves entering a lucrative career with boundless opportunity.
There are countless benefits to pursuing court reporting
One of the primary benefits of becoming a court reporter is job security. While it might be a stretch to call any job completely safe from economic uncertainty, recession-proof jobs are the ones that stay in demand and don’t get impacted by periods of high inflation or recession. These careers offer high job security in comparison to others and might even thrive, regardless of the economy’s health.
Less demanding education requirements — An expensive, four-year college education is not necessary to become a court reporter. While continued education is valuable, you can become a certified voice reporter in as little as 6 months while studying online. Less time in school means fewer loans to repay.
High earning potential — The earning potential for a verbatim court reporter right out of school is an average of $55,000 nationwide, and this number drastically increases with experience. In fact, reporters who invest in continued education and advanced certification typically earn six-figure salaries.
Freelance options — With the variety of industries in need of court reporters, professionals can create freelance careers. This freelance path can be very rewarding and enables professionals to choose their own hours and create flexible schedules for themselves.
Stable career, growing demand and increased opportunities —Young professionals in the field will benefit from the various opportunities of this market. New court reporters will be embarking upon a lucrative and stable career.
For more information on becoming a verbatim court reporter/voice writer visit;
International Realtime Court Reporting Institute
The College of Court Reporting (CCR)
Realtime Voice Training
Cuyahoga Community College
Baton Rouge School of Court Reporting
Arlington Career Institute
Downey Adult School
West Valley College
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