Depending on how long you choose to go to school for, you will have the opportunity to take a number of different classes. Understandably, the exact classes you will take will depend on where you go, but at times the only differences in curricula are in the course names and program organization. Nearly everywhere you go, for instance, you will learn about stenotype theory and certain aspects of vocabulary and terminology. The course descriptions below are merely examples of classes, and by no means guarantee any topics that you will learn at your court reporter school of choice.
As part of your training, you may receive instruction in how to edit transcripts after your initial recording. During this class you will have to utilize your knowledge of English, including grammar, spelling, and punctuation, to edit scripts accurately. You will learn how to edit punctuation to account for verbatim English and how to use computer-assisted transcription systems to help you. You may use actual trial testimony, interviews, or other official documentation during your practice.
Communication is an essential part of many different occupations, and court reporting is no exception. You may be trained in both written and verbal communication through seminars in report writing, public speaking, and/or vocabulary training. You may be required to give oral presentations or prepare a research paper crafted with impeccable English. Having a strong vocabulary is an important part of court reporting, as you will need to understand and know how to spell a wide variety of words – some specifically related to the legal or medical fields.
There is a chance you will take a computer class as part of your instruction during the program. You must know how to use different types of computers and a variety of software programs, such as Microsoft Word, to be fully prepared for your future career. If you work as a freelance transcriptionist or frequently edit recordings, you should understand how to use not only word processing software, but transcript templates and multiple operating systems.
In this class you will learn about the basics of a stenowriting machine, such as the details of the phonetic alphabet. You will start to amass basic skills related to use of the machine, and slowly start to build up your speed. You might practice typing phrases, specific words, or abbreviations, and also train to transcribe scripts based on shorthand notes. You may have to pass a test proving that you can type using a stenowriting machine and obtain a certain degree of accuracy and a minimum average speed. It is also likely that you will have more than one course dedicated to teaching you stenotype skills, with a focus on speed building.
In addition to a class in basic communication and/or English, you may also attend courses devoted to teaching you terminology in specific subjects. If such classes are built into your curriculum, it is most likely that you will learn about medical and legal jargon. You might learn about specific medical procedures, surgery terms, and medical abbreviations, as well as court procedures and details of the judiciary system. You may have one class devoted to each of the topics about which you must learn.