Important Questions about Court Reporting School

Chances are, if you’ve decided you want to go to court reporting school, you have some questions you’d like answered before you start. Some questions are highly dependent on the particular institution you choose to attend, but the answers below might help guide you toward a more informed position on your future studies and career.
How long will it take to finish school?
How long it takes you to complete school and become a court reporter depends entirely on a number of factors. First of all, different programs are designed to last different lengths of time. You might enroll in a brief, six month certificate program that will train you in basic skills, or you could earn a bachelor’s degree and study a variety of topics over four years. There are also a number of “in between” options lasting anywhere from one to three years, some of which will allow you to graduate with an associate’s degree. The other main factors are your work ethic and availability. If you can only go to school part time, of course it will take you longer to finish school. But if you go full time, study hard, and attend summer classes, you may graduate in a shorter timeframe than is average for your program.
Is court reporting in demand?
Court reporting is used in a variety of fields and is popular due to its ability to preserve official records and save verbatim documents and recordings electronically. A number of different magazines and popular news sources have praised the career as one with high earning potential. However, the development of digital audio recording technology (DART), which is an automated, computerized system that can perform the duties of a court reporter, may threaten the field’s growth. That being said, the skills and aptitudes of experienced court reporters will likely still be used to check for accuracy, edit recordings, and produce higher-quality records.
What is the difference between stenotype and regular keyboard typing?
While the keyboard on your computer has one button for each letter of the alphabet and a number of individual characters, a stenotype machine has a modified, 22-button setup. The keyboard also allows court reporters to hit multiple keys at the same time, and thus type an entire word in one movement. One hand might begin a word while the other hand ends it, and in the middle there are common syllable combinations. Part of stenotype training also teaches future court reporters how to type in short phrases and abbreviations that they can later edit to be fully legible words.
How much will it cost to go to court reporting school?
Exactly what your tuition is will be determined by the institution(s) to which you apply. As would be expected, shorter programs typically cost less, since you usually pay by credit hour and/or semester. There are a lot of other factors that go into determining tuition, however, so many sure you check with each school you research. Keep in mind that you can always apply for financial aid as well. In addition to federal and state grants and loans, some schools and organizations offer scholarships that you can win based on merit, financial need, or the quality of an essay submission. It always pays to apply to as many types of financial aid as possible so that you can afford to go exactly where you want.
Sources:

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/court-reporters.htm#tab-6

http://sagecollege.edu/faqs/

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