Career Profile: Court Reporter

Career Profile: Court Reporter

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Suppose that you need to know exactly what someone had said from another day. For legal matters, you might ask a court reporter. People in this field record what people say in court cases so that the participants and the public can have an exact record in case of any disagreements or problems in the future.

Court reporters have very important jobs because their work can influence many other people. This job involves using special electronic stenograph machines or other devices to make verbatim, or word-for-word, records of what people have said. Sometimes, the judge or someone else in the courtroom will ask the court reporter to read back what someone has said.

People in this field must be sure that they have not missed anything or misheard what the people have said since small mistakes can have a large influence on what happens with a court case. For example, a word missed out from or added to what someone said could mean the difference between who receives an inheritance or who is convicted of a crime.

Generally, court reporters have a diploma or certificate in secretarial science, or they are trained as administrative assistants at a career college or business school. Normally, these programs are under two years long. Being able to type quickly is essential, and people in this field can generally type at least two hundred words per minute. They must be extremely accurate and be able to type while listening to what is happening around them. In high school, courses in English, computers, and related topics can be useful.

Accuracy can be difficult, considering the potential difficulties. Court reporters need to be able to understand different accents well enough to be able to record what the people have said. People in court can also often be emotional, and court reporters might sometimes need to transcribe the words of someone who is crying and difficult to understand. Sometimes, people might trail off at the end of their sentences or have other quirks that make their words hard to understand. Court reporters need to be alert to each person’s way of speaking and be able to record the words so that others can understand. Following all established styles or formats is important.

Mistakes can be easy to make, especially if a court reporter is new at the job or is feeling tired or sick. Sometimes, court reporters research the information that they have heard to make sure that it is accurate. For example, they might need to check place names to be sure that they have the correct spelling. Sometimes, they might even need to insert a correction, such as if someone has given the wrong information about a place or a business.

Working as a court reporter is not generally physically difficult, other than sitting in a chair and typing for hours at a time. However, it can be stressful. Also, as people age, their hearing and ability to type quickly might deteriorate. Although some people might want to move into a supervisory role at that point, others can stay in this career for years. Salaries start at about $68,000 per year and can rise to $78,000 per year. Besides courtrooms, people in this field can find work with governments and possibly large companies. Jobs are easier to find in cities than in towns or villages.

The job of a court reporter is not easy, but it can be exciting. If you are a good listener, are patient and methodical, and can type quickly and accurately, it might be right for you.



Indeed. “What is a Court Reporter? (With Duties and Required Skills).” https://ca.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/what-is-court-reporter.

Job Bank. “Administrative Assistant in Canada.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/summary-occupation/24789/ca

Job Bank. “Court Reporter in Canada.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/occupation/1580/ca

Salary Expert. “Court Reporter.” https://www.salaryexpert.com/salary/job/court-reporter/canada.

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