It can be difficult to find exactly the school for you. Just because you’ve decided to be a court reporter doesn’t mean the decisions are over! In addition to the factors listed below, you might also consider what type of reporting you want to do. Judicial reporting? Captioning? Transcription? Make sure that the school you choose offers classes and training in the specific type of reporting in which you are interested!
1. Location, Location, Location
Where you do want to go to school? This may be an easy question for you to answer. If you are tied to your current city by a job or family, your list of eligible schools will be much shorter. Essentially, all you have to do is find out what the nearest court reporting school to your house is and you’re good to go. However, if you’re not tied down by other obligations, you have a much longer list of schools available to you. In terms of the “location factor,” you might consider weather and climate, proximity to a big city, resources on or near the campus, or proximity to your other interests, such as an ocean or mountains. Going to school is a great excuse to branch out and try living somewhere new. If you do decide to go to a new town, you’ll have the benefit of built-in friends and opportunities to meet people through your classes. You might also refer to the article on “Salary and Geographical Information for Court Reporters” to find out in what states they make the most money. Moving to one of these states for school might mean easier access to high-paying jobs after graduation!
You absolutely should go to an accredited court reporting school. Accrediting commissions are usually backed up by the U.S. Department of Education and ensure that the school’s curriculum measures up to what is expected for adequate education. You’re more likely to receive a comprehensive, quality education and be better prepared for your future career of choice if you attend a school with an accreditation. This is true regardless of what your intended major or future profession is. Sometimes accrediting commissions are specific to one type of career or institution, and other times they are general to all colleges and universities. Examples are the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, the National Court Reporters Association, and any state Board of Education.
3. Tuition and Financial Aid
You will notice that each school you research will have slightly different tuition rates. Of course, it is important that you attend a school that you can afford. Private schools in cities are likely to cost more. Don’t necessarily write off an institution just because it is out of your budget, however. There are a lot of opportunities for you to get financial aid that you can apply toward your education. Sometimes this will come in the form of help from the federal or state government. Federal grants and loans can help you get through school – and you don’t even have to pay back grants! You can also win a scholarship from a national or state Court Reporters Association. Sometimes individual schools also offer scholarships to help you finance your education, some of which could be need-based, and others which might be merit-based according to your high school or previous college academic performance.