I am thinking of taking a court reporter course and have some questions.
Is 26 months a reasnable amount of time to complete the course? The director went on and on about income potentional but I was most interested in real time answers regarding the employement as a reporter.
Is it not a typical day? Meaning 9-5? No vacations? Easy enough to find jobs?
I am in the Buffalo NY area and wonder how long it will take to be gainfully employed.

Any advice for someone chewing on the idea of taking the course??

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Hi Christine,

It is reasonable to complete the course in 26 months if you work for it. The more practice you do, the faster you'll proceed through the speeds.

I, personally, love this career. It's interesting, and the freedom and flexibility can't be beat. There are a lot of choices for work once you're through school. You can freelance, work as an official in court, become a CART provider, working with the deaf and hard of hearing, or you can become a captioner.

Try calling a local court reporting agency where you live. They will probably help you by giving you information about the job market in your area.

Remember that you get out of this career what you put into it. The better you become, you'll have more opportunities.

Hi, Christine. There's been an ad in the JCR looking for reporters in Buffalo, NY for over a year now ... maybe longer than that. I know there are at least 3 firms there that you can contact about the work environment and potential for work in Buffalo for a beginning reporter. If you've set your sights on realtime, good for you! But you most likely won't be able to step right into providing realtime straight out of school.

In another forum, someone asked generally if the readers would seriously advise the poster to enter school and move towards becoming a broadcast captioner. Although in a related field, this person would be starting from scratch, with a request that she was looking for a profession that would pay her what she was worth. From the wording of her post, she was looking for a fast-track to a long and lucrative career because in her current position, she found herself working longer and harder for less and less reward. It was her hope to enter the court reporting profession (on the captioning side, though) so she could work smarter, not harder.

There were a lot of "contact me privately" responses. Take from that what you will.

My advice would be to talk to the Big 3 there in Buffalo and don't let anyone blow a lot of smoke about the future of machine court reporting. See what they will commit to. Find some local freelancers and talk to THEM about the availability of work in Buffalo, and see how agreeable they are to having a few new faces in town to take some of that workload off of them.

Last, you ask for advice about "taking the course." Yes, of course you can "take the course," but court reporting is a life-learning profession. An atty asked me the other day how long it took to get out of school, and I told him just that ... a few months to learn, a lifetime to master, especially when it comes to realtime. But that's a whole 'nother thing. Gotta get you out of school first!

Also, I suggest you explore and read other boards, such as Depoman and The Court Reporters Forum. You can go to students sections and read back many months. You can also visit the NCRA Forum, but I'd suggest you'll get a better feel for what's really happening out there if you start with forums that are not under a watchful eye.

That's it. Best of luck to you, Christine.

(Independent freelance realtime reporter in Washington, D.C.
WOW!! Thanks for the responses and the suggestions of contacting people in my area. Great information! Thanks again!
Hi, Christine...

I don't know your age or life situation, but if I could make a suggestion which is my personal opinion...

In general (and there are exceptions to everything), I have noted that people under the age of 35 or so seem to pick up steno skills much more easily than people over 35 (assuming practice time is equivalent).

In general (and, again, there are exceptions), I have noted that people without a great deal of family or work responsibilities tend to have more time to devote to the practice necessary and tend to progress more quickly.

My advice to you would be to recognize that learning this skill is extremely individual. NO ONE can predict how long you, personally, will take to learn it. And, the time can vary tremendously.

That said, I would consider having some sort of part-time income in another field while going to school. That way, you will not have the financial pressure hanging over you IF you find that you need longer than the "average" two years (unless, of course, you have an unlimited source of income for schooling already).

Just my two cents. Hope it's helpful.
I am 37 and have two kids. They are very busy kids, at almost 13 and almost 9. But my husband is wonderful and supportive and his is the coach of all of their team obligations. So he does the lions share. I honestly often come home to a empty house. And gosh, my almost 13 year old daughter wants nothing to do with me anyway. LOL.
I do work but it's somewhat part time.
It sounds like you have a wonderful and supportive family, which will be a great help to you.

I would suggest continuing your present part-time job if you decide to start court reporting school. You can gauge your progress and get a sense of whether you will be one of those people who picks up the skill quickly or not, and go from there.

I have to say that court reporting is one of the most difficult skills to learn (which is why excellent court reporters command high incomes). If you are comparing it to learning typing (which is what I did before I started), it is NOT at all equivalent. It is more like learning a foreign language AND learning to play a musical instrument at the same time. To succeed, you have to have the practice mentality of a musician, because they spend long hours learning their art.

Again, just my opinion, but I hope it helps you.


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