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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Elizabeth,
Thank you very much for your reply. I believe you are the only person, thus far, who has/is taken the courses on line. I have many questions about it. May I e-mail you?
Nina,
Thank you so much. I have been reading other blogs and as you stated, it does help. Thank you for the encouragement and I am certain you'll be seeing more of me 'round here! : )
Sheree,
I'm sorry, I don't know. I remember overhearing a conversation about it the other day. I want to find more information about it.
Monica,
I agree with your opinion of not even considering my local technical school due the the department head. I have been looking at Prince Institute in Alabama and Alfred in NY thus far. Thank you for taking the time to respond and for your words of encouragement!
Joanne, I hope you don't hate me, but I know you want the truth, so here goes: I hate to take the wind out of your sails, but there was an "Older" (compared to all us 20-year-olds, which they say is the best age to learn it) student in her late 40s (I think) and it took her FOREVER! to even pass a speed test, and I really don't think she ever even took the CSR; however, the more disconserting topic is jobs. I've been reporting for over 30 years and it has REALLY slowed down in the last 6 - 9 months for me.....I'm sorry, if you think you love it.....go for it, but just be prepared to spend the next 5 years in school, if not more. I sound really mean, but I know you want the truth. I wish you the best of luck though! Susan

Good luck! Susan
Susan,
My gosh, of course I don't hate you! I asked for opinions and I meant all opinions, not just positive opinions. This is a huge life changing decision and I want honest opinions/answers. It is the only way to make a clear informed decision. Thank you for your input!
Joanne -- welcome to "the club." I've got 8 years on you and just finished my first semester as a court reporting student. I'm approaching it as my second career and although have not worked as a legal secretary for some 30 years, I have spent much of my time in a project environment and (unfortunately) a bit of time with attorneys preparing for various contracts and litigations within our business. Don't be deterred; although the post comparing learning machine stenography to learning a language and a musical keyboard simultaneously is a good description. It IS challenging. I put in 3-5 hours daily when class is in session and 1-2 hours when on break, resting one day a week always. I'm making progress but a long way to go. I'm doing everything on line as there are no schools offering the technology nearby. I've been told that skills are most important, and maturity on jobs is a winner; a good combination for someone older, like us. Hang in there and let us know how you do.
Linda, thank you so much! May I ask which school you are taking your courses through?
Joanne...

All of this advice is great (and I'm glad you got in touch with Monica), even the post talking about how many "older" students don't finish...because, unfortunately, many older students don't, but I think it is mainly because they have been in school awhile and run out of money to continue...

I especially agree with the person who said you should make sure you have a source of income while you are in school. You CANNOT predict ahead of time how long it will take you, but if you don't have to worry about money coming in, you can practice at your own pace, even if it takes you a little longer...
This is for everyone who has responded to my post. THANK YOU! I have received so much support from so many of you that I cannot keep with responses. Even the one young gal who was afraid I would hate her, NO I don't hate you at all! I want all views. That is the only way to make an educated decision. I asked for honesty from you all and that is what I want. Please! DO NOT paint a pretty picture for me! (Don't worry, non of you have, lol!) Allison, you did not confuse the issue at all with the statement that 20's "just breath it in". I think a great many of you hit the nail on the head that at that age, one just doesn't have quite as much on their plate as us 40's do. The are able to devote their heart mind and sole to it. I love the analogy of it being like learning another language or an instrument. I think that is great!

When I was in high school - just a few short years ago - I started taking "Century 21 Shorthand" in Fla. It was the new method that would snuff out Gregg Shorthand. In October we moved to SC where they'd never even heard of it. My teacher welcomed me and did not require me to try to conform to Gregg Shorthand. She didn't know Century 21 either. She graded me on my transcription. I had to take the same tests the rest of the class did and I was graded on my transcription. She felt if I transcribed correctly that I must have known what I was doing. I have never used it since. HA! My point is, I was self taught.

With regard to finances, I am gathering that I need to seriously reconsider my current full time job if I want to finish during my lifetime. Perhaps my employer would consider having me work part time????

I have another question (I am afraid it is stupid), how do I choose a school? I have been looking on the NCRA site and have only been considering those with on line courses listed on that site.

Thanks again to all of you have have taken the time out of your busy schedules to give me your most welcomed advice - and you don't know me at all. It means so very much to me. Thank you!!
I started at 35, grad at 40 and working. I get 'more' respect as I am older. Also, us older folks know more 'words' than the younger ones, lol. We usually have better grammar, which is important. I don't get treated as a 'newbie' since I am older. I'm 44 now. So do it if you want, I say. It does take a LOT of dedication. You will have NO life during schooling!!! We didn't have my DD until 1/2 way thru...and I took time off and then got back into it and graduated Dec 2005. Alfred State's online program all the way thru.
Rho
I was in the seond online group, Jan 2000. Their program has grown a LOT since then! I had to mail paper notes the first semester, lol. Now all is done online. I actually still moderate the Alfred Yahoo online email group. I had helped the Prof with grading and other things too. He now is involved in the NCRA program, I believe. He also wrote the Alfred theory, RealWrite/RealTime, which is also used in other schools. He retired the semester I graduated, and the ladies who instruct it now are awesome support, from what the students say in the group.

If you practice 3-5hrs a day, 5 days a week, you can get a solid grasp. BUT each person may take different amounts of time to finish. I just had a friend graduate from a local in-house program who is in her 50s. Took her 4 or 5yrs, can't remember exactly. But no student can be given an estimate of how long it will take 'them'.

Alfred's program IS rigorous and structured. I have seen some do it in the 2yrs, but I would say 3-4 is an average. Some older students HAVE done it in the 2yrs too. BUT it depends on your lifestyle and LIFE, lol. Online students HAVE a life!!!! It is a distraction! You can easily get frustrated and stop practicing the 3hrs a day, that is when you start sliding downhill. BUT the only way to FAIL this course is by quitting too. I took the 4th semester (there are 5 total) of the machine course 3 times before passing it. I was getting burnt out. I then got pg and had my daughter and took time off, but was involved with Alfred helping the Prof. I took Simply Steno online to get my speeds back and went back to Alfred after a year and completed the last machine class, as that is all I needed to get the degree.

It is lonely being online, hence the Yahoo group I encouraged the Prof to start way back when. I like still being involved in it and reply to most emails, when I can give advice to the students. Using other online forums really is encouraging also. STAY involved here, no matter what school you decide on. I have many friends I have met from across the country that are CRs. Conventions are a blast!!!
Rho

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