Employment Outlook for Court Reporters

Great opportunities for professional stenotypists

Look for good pay and benefits with relatively low competition for jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics there were about 18,000 court reporters employed in 2004. Sixty percent of these worked for local and State government agencies in the legislature and in courts. Most others worked for court reporting agencies or were self-employed.

Average job growth will be due to a continued need for transcription of court proceedings and depositions as well as captioning for live or prerecorded television programs. More jobs than qualified professionals (especially when it comes to stenotypists) means graduates will have plenty of employment opportunities. Those who have earned certification will likely find they have the best options.

Where court reporters will find jobs

Voice writers are now used more often as speech recognition technology improves. The difficulty of finding qualified stenotypists has also made voice writing specialists more in-demand (although some courts only allow stenotypists to transcribe proceedings).

Electronic reporters and transcribers are also being used more in courts, as some have installed electronic recording devices to lower costs.

Legislation mandating the captioning of television programs has lead to more jobs in this area. Students in high schools or colleges may also request real-time translation services in their classes.

Court reporter wages

How much court reporters make and how they are paid depends on where they work and what kind of reporting duties they perform. Official court reporters generally earn a per-page fee as well as salary. Freelance court reporters receive a per-page fee for each job they take on.

CART (realtime) court reporters are often paid by the hour, while stenocaptioners may receive a salary and benefits if they work for a captioning company. Independent contractors are paid by the hour.

Many court reporters supplement their salaries by doing freelance work on the side. The median salary for those working in local government is $41,070.

  • Median annual wages - $42,920

  • Middle 50 percent - $30,680 to $60,760
  • Top 10 percent - over $80,300
  • Bottom 10 percent - under $23,690

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Statistics courtesy the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2004