How to Become a Court Reporter in Alabama

Court reporters, also known as Court Stenographers and Certified Shorthand Reporters (CSR), etc., have an all important job of creating word-for-word transcriptions at trials, and other legal proceedings such as depositions and administrative hearings. These professionals create word-for-word transcripts of what is being said inside a courtroom. This transcription then becomes the official legal record relied upon by judges and juries to reach a decision. A court reporter’s job is therefore of utmost importance in a legal system. The created transcription must therefore be accurate and complete; skills which can be learned in a court reporting program.

In the State of Alabama, if you want to practice as a court reporter, you need to be licensed by the Alabama Board of Court Reporting (ABCR).

How to Become a Court Reporter in Alabama
How to Become a Court Reporter in Alabama

Requirements to Become a Court Reporter in Alabama

The following are laid down in the ABCR Rules and Regulations CHAPTER 257-X-3-.03 Traditional Application for Licensure:

  • Proof of graduation from court reporting program or its equivalent
  • Pass the Licensure Examination
  • Complete application and appropriate fees

Steps to Become a Court Reporter in Alabama

Step 1

As mentioned above, the first step in becoming licensed to practice as a court reporter in Alabama is to graduate from a court reporting program. There are a variety of technical schools and community colleges offering programs in court reporting in Alabama at both non-degree and degree levels. If you opt for the non-degree option such as a certificate, you will need to be a high school graduate or its equivalent to be considered eligible for admission. You will need to complete a certain number of credit hours to obtain this certificate and the courses will be along these lines:

  • Applied Writing I
  • Medical Terminology
  • Legal Terminology
  • Civil and Criminal Law Terminology
  • Realtime Reporting I
  • Realtime Reporting II

On the other hand, if you opt for the degree option such as the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.), degree, you will need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent to be considered for admission. This degree can be completed in 2-years with full-time enrollment with “C” or higher grade. An internship might also be a component of this degree program. The emphasis is on creating transcription with accuracy and speed. Some of the courses may be titles such as:

  • Applied Writing I
  • English Composition I
  • Medical Terminology
  • Realtime Reporting I
  • Realtime Reporting II
  • Civil and Criminal Law Terminology
  • Broadcast Captioning
  • Moot Court Practicum
  • Courses in Humanities, History, Social Sciences and Mathematics
Step 2

Once you have cleared Step 1, the next step is to pass the licensure examination. The details of this step are laid down in CHAPTER 257-X-3-.04 Examination wherein a prospective court reporter must pass the Written Knowledge Examination administered by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) and provide documentation of having passed the NCRA Registered Professional Reporter Examination (RPR) or National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) CRA Examination or Alabama Skills Examination administered by the Alabama Court Reporters Association (ACRA).

Step 3

The third and final step is to actually apply for the license. Once you are licensed, you can start looking for work. Joining ACRA is one of the best and most effective ways of job hunting. As a member, you will be able to attend association sponsored events and network with your peers and seniors. This will give you an insight into the profession.

How Much Do Court Reporters Earn in Alabama

The following statistics are taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and reflect the numbers for May 2017:

Occupation Title Employment Annual Mean Wage
Court Reporters 280 $40,440

Future Job Prospects

O*NET OnLine forecasts a slow job growth rate in this field in the coming years. From 2016 to 2026, court reporters’ jobs will grow at the rate of 2%, creating approximately 30 new jobs in this field. Therefore expect stiff competition while job hunting.