If you’re trying to decide if you want to be a court reporter, there are a lot of factors to consider. Even if you’ve already decided you want to work in court reporting, you still have to decide what industry to work in and where you want to live. You may be surprised to hear that in what industry you work and in what region you live can affect everything from how much money you make to how many people you will meet who have the same occupation you do. In a nutshell, you’ll make the most money if you work for your local government and if you work in New York. However, you should keep in mind that you need to factor in cost of living when calculating how far your salary will take you.
In 2012, there were 18,590 court reporters employed in the United States. The mean hourly wage was $25.48, with an annual salary of $53,010. Those that earn the least only make $11.92 an hour, or $24,790 a year. On the other hand, the top 10% of earners make approximately $43.52 an hour, or $90,530 a year. There are a lot of factors that can influence your potential earning capacity as a court reporter. One of those factors is the industry in which you work. You’ll make the most ($56,920, on average), if you work for the local government. You can also make a higher-than-average income if you work for the federal government, for the state government, for a business support service, or in the motion picture and video industry (these reporters are more likely to work in captioning). For all of these top paying industries, the average salary is over $45,000. This list is very similar to the one related to the industries that employ the most court reporters. In fact, the industries are the same, just in a different order. Local governments employ the most people in this occupation, followed by state governments, business support services, the motion picture and video industry, and finally the federal government.
The states that employ the most court reporters are Maryland, California, Florida, New York, and Texas. The last four are all states with high populations relative to other states, so it makes sense that they employ a high number of court reporters. The metropolitan areas with the most of this occupation are Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Orlando, and Minneapolis. A location quotient is a term that refers to the concentration of people in one particular occupation – in other words, how many people are employed in this occupation out of every 1,000 jobs. The states with the highest location quotient of court reporters are Maryland, Louisiana, Indiana, Montana, and Florida. The cities are Salisbury, Maryland; Charleston, West Virginia; Shreveport, Louisiana; Bloomington, Indiana; Montgomery, Alabama; El Paso, Texas; Lafayette, Indiana; Lafayette, Louisiana; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Lastly, the states that offer the highest salaries for court reporters are New York ($84,090), California ($76,840), Maine ($74,940), Colorado ($70,130), and Oregon ($64,760).