I am 48 and have been thinking about making a career change to court reporting. I am a legal secretary (8 years). Our local technical school recently started a program. I called and spoke to the head of the program. To my dismay he was not very encouraging at all stating it had been his experience that persons of my years didn't do very well as their study habits were rusty and simply couldn't hang with it. I was offended. At first it motivated me. But I have started to worry that perhaps he knows what he is talking about. But, I am not old! I am motivated, very spry - I feel a 'young' 48 (geez, I'm ONLY 48!), I type 72 wpm (I know not an equal comparison, but all I have to go on). I work full time so would consider on line courses (because of the negative feed back I received from my local school). I welcome any input, but especially anyone over 40 who has attempted or completed a court reporting program. Thank you all in advance! Joanne

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Age is NOT an impediment to acquiring the necessary skills to perform this job. There have been many reporters who work into their golden years. The bigger problem is the future of the field and whether we will be able to survive the incredible technology that is now available. I am concerned about the ageist attitude that you say was expressed when inquiring about the program. Great things can be accomplished at just about any age where there is health, determination and drive. P.S. I recently won an award for being the oldest female runner to finish in my class and I have a few years on you!!!
Anita, thank you for your words of encouragement and wisdom (regarding the future of the field). I just read something about the new technology. I am hopeful that if it should come to pass it'll be a while. I find it hard to believe it will replace reporters. Time will tell. Again, thank you for your opinion. It is such a huge (and costly) step I want to find out as much as I can about it from those of you who have been there (or rather, are there).
This reply is directed towards Anita's response regarding available technology which could affect the future of the Court Reporting field. Could you please elaborate and provide some perspective on what you think lies ahead for the future of Court Reporting? I ask this in light of the concerns that you voiced. I am considering a career in Court Reporting, and as a "layman", the future of the profession as you discussed is my greatest concern. I have already gone through one major career change. This will be my second, and I would like it to be my last. I appreciate any input and perspective that you (or anyone else) could provide. Thank you.
I had a similar experience when I inquired into a community college program a few months before I turned 40. I was furious and did not pursue that particular program further. I now regret not having pursued a matter of what might well be seen as age discrimination with the administration. I am really glad that I had the maturity to see the inappropriateness of this woman's response and to see that she was not to be taken seriously.

I am a working reporter today. I don't believe the same can be said of this administrator, though I have no idea what she did after that particular court reporting program closed. This is a complex profession that requires constant discernment and good judgment on a daily basis. I think older students are to be encouraged. I feel that this job rewards me for my education and life experiences.

I strongly suggest that you find out as much as you can about the profession. Going through all the posts on this site is a great way to start becoming familiar with the reporting life and give you the information you need to make the decision that is right for you.

I will not be around over the next couple of weeks since I am going overseas tomorrow morning. When I return, I will come back to this thread to see how your exploration of the profession is going.

Blessings, Cathryn Bauer
Thank you so very much for your comment. Amazing how similar your experience was with your local technical school. It's no wonder their program failed. Our technical schools program is very new. I do not believe it is recognized by NCRA yet. I wonder if it will succeed... I will definitely take your advice and read all of the posts. I have a friend who is a court report and has been nothing but encouraging. May I ask how old you were once you did begin and complete the course? Thank you for taking the time to respond. I hope you have a wonderful time on your trip!
I was just about to turn 40 when I started and, I'm afraid, 46 when I got my California CSR and began reporting. About 18 months prior, though, I passed the RPR and did CART work for a several years before moving away from it.

Unfortunately for me, I took up CR study at the time when schools were going out of business right and left. I actually wound up studying on my own in a self-guided program at home for the vast majority of my program. This was before good online programs were widely available. I do not believe that students today need to do what I did, and I do not support taking that route unless no other option is available.

If you have further questions, I will attempt to address them when I return. I strongly prefer to answer questions in public forums rather than receiving email.
Hi, Cathryn.

I know you posted the regimen you used to get through school once before (I think on the old Depoman forum), but when you get back, could you post that here? It might be good for those students who are pursuing their CR studies alone.

Thanks ... and enjoy your trip!

"For a Good (steno) Time ...."
My friend just got accepted to medical school, a dream of hers. She's 50, a dental hygienist by profession, and she has two girls, one who just graduated college and one just starting college. I've known her since our kids were in elementary school together. Her husband is an architect and is supportive and will stay at home alone during the week. She got accepted to a school in Arizona, not too far of a drive from L.A., so they will see each other on the weekends. Just taking the MCAT was tough for her, coming back to studying and all, but, you know what, she did it! You go, Girl! All it takes is drive, ambition and focus. Repeat: drive, ambition and focus. Do it!
Cindy L.A.
My turn. I got my RPR back in 1981. I was 21. I worked as a reporter in Florida for ten years. Florida had no certification requirements, so I was competing against all the pretty girls to get the jobs (and I'm not exaggerating). I became a legal secretary, worked up to paralegal - for 20 years.

Now at 51, I am too old for a legal job, and am again competing against the young pretty girls for a legal assistant job. Last January I took out my old manual Steno machine (which has been in a closed for 20 years) and started to practice. I will not retake the RPR. I don't feel I need to. In September I will start looking for a job.

You already have a good background for court reporting because you have worked as a legal secretary. You already know how litigation works. If you've worked in personal injury or medical malpractice defense, you have an even better background. If you've worked your butt off for an attorney, then you are dedicated.

My only suggestion is: (1) start working in building up your medical knowledge now. (2) Once you get past theory, DEDICATE your practice time like you are a working reporter. A working reporting writes at least two hours a day continuously (an average depo is two hours). So a student should practice like he is already working. It builds endurance, it builds coordination, it builds dedication, and it will help to build speed. Because if you put two hours a day into it like a job, you will be inclined to make an affort to write clean.
Mary Jo,
Thank you sooooo much for your post. As a matter of fact, my 1st 10 years of employment were in the medical field (pediatric oncology, pharmacy and pathology/laboratory medicine). By NO means am I saying I have all the medical background I need, I am just saying at least I have some background, so what you have said I feel I have a 'little' jump on it and will definately find ways of brushing up and learning more in the mean time. You all have been most encouraging and supportive. I am so very glad that I found this forum!
An older person (as opposed to someone right out of high school) has lived a life of dedication of sorts. You have learned what it takes to do the hard stuff. You know what you need to do to have security and you have a view of the future and can see it clearly and realistically. All of that means that you can make a decision to change careers and devote the time necessary and make it happen. You have learned how to take the steps necessary to achieve a goal. This is another goal in life that, as an adult, you can certainly achieve. The difference is, as an adult, you can work towards it with a specific purpose and a dedication because you have a very clear view of the future and how it fits into your greater plan for your life. I see no reason why you should feel that because of your age, you will find it harder. I think it is the opposite. The only thing that makes it harder is all the commitments adults have in dealing with life. But you also have a clear view of those commitments and responsibilities and can organize your life to achieve this. It's not any more or less difficult because of your age. It depends solely on you and your decision to make it happen.

Good luck with your plan. I wish you well.

Hi, Joanne...

If you need some encouragement, please check the page of my friend Monica Gerard...she is a prime example of how wrong that technical school head is!!! No one should tell you you can't do something just because of your age. Everyone is an individual and how his or her talents, experience, passion, etc. merge to have them reach a goal is not predictable just by looking at chronological age.

I would say that you have to be ready to work hard, as typing is not at all equivalent to court reporting. Court reporting is more like learning a language while you are learning to play a musical instrument at the same time. Your background as a legal secretary is a big plus, I think, as you know the lingo and the environment, and your medical knowledge is an excellent help, too.

As others have said, read other blogs and posts on CSRNation. There is a LOT of information here. Use all of it to help you make your decision, and check out other schools. I know my school does not discourage older students at all. You may find another school that suits you better.

Good luck and let us know what you decide!


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