How to Become a Court Reporter in Louisiana?

Court reporters are responsible for the maintenance of accurate and professional records of all court proceedings. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, court reporters perform the following tasks:

  • “Attend depositions, hearings, proceedings, and other events that require written transcripts
  • Capture spoken dialogue with specialized equipment, including stenography machines, video and audio recording devices, and covered microphones
  • Report speakers’ identification, gestures, and actions
  • Read or play back all or a portion of the proceedings upon request from the judge
  • Ask speakers to clarify inaudible or unclear statements or testimony
  • Review the notes they have taken, including the names of speakers and any technical terminology
  • Provide copies of transcripts and recordings to the courts, counsels, and parties involved
  • Transcribe television or movie dialogue to help deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers
  • Provide real-time translation in classes and other public forums for the deaf or hard-of-hearing population”

Court reporters create word-for-word documents of court proceedings. This document is important for future references to the case. They also help judges and lawyers in capturing and organizing the official records of the proceedings.
In Louisiana, court reporters are certified by the Louisiana Board of Examiners of Certified Shorthand Reporters (LBECSR) and they work in the following branches of the judiciary in the state:

  • Louisiana Supreme Court
  • Courts of Appeal
  • District Court
  • Juvenile and Family Courts
How to Become a Court Reporter in Louisiana
How to Become a Court Reporter in Louisiana

Louisiana Court Reporter Requirements

The basic requirements to become a court reporter in Louisiana are as follows:

  • All candidates must be at least 18 years of age
  • Candidates need to provide proof of holding a High School Diploma or a GED
  • Candidates should have a clean criminal record with no felony convictions

Steps to Become a Court Reporter in Louisiana

Once you meet the above stated basic criteria to become a court reporter in Louisiana, you may begin the actual application process.

Step 1: Get an Associate Degree

Even though this is not a compulsory requirement, it is recommended that you get this 2-year long degree to help you develop an understanding of phonetics, legal terminology and legal procedures. Students are also given a chance to practice how to prepare transcripts to improve speed and accuracy of their work. Some schools also offer training in the use of different transcription machines, such as stenomasks or stenotype machines.

Step 2: Pass the Certifying Exam OR get LBECSR Reciprocity Recognition
The Exam

The Louisiana Board of Examiners of Certified Shorthand Reporters (LBECSR) has an examination that you must clear to earn certification. You can qualify for this exam in the following three ways:

  • Attend a state-licensed court reporting school and clear its qualifying test that would typically include a five minute dual voice Q&A session with 225 words spoken per minute. You will need at least a 95% rate of accuracy in this test.
  • Clear the LBESCR’s qualifying examination
  • Provide proof that you are a Certified Court Reporter in another state and have already completed the 225 words per minute test.
LBECSR Reciprocity Recognition

This would be applicable to candidates who already hold a certification from a different agency and want to transfer it to Louisiana. You can go for this option if you hold the following certifications:

  • National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) Certification
  • National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) certifications – Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and Registered Merit Reporter (RMR)

No matter what path you choose to get certified, it is recommended that you attend one of the various schools located in the state or the ones operating online which offer programs in court reporting in Louisiana.

Step 3: Apply to become a CCR in Louisiana

The application process would vary according to the path you take to qualify for the position:

  • Fill out the Reciprocal Application for Certification if you are going for the reciprocity agreement
  • Register for the exam if you wish to follow the process of passing the LBECSR exam

This exam consists of a written knowledge part and a skills test. It is administered twice a year and the LBECSR provides a study guide for it upon request.

Written Knowledge Test

This would consist of a 100 multiple choice questions covering topics such as legal terminology, grammar, punctuation and medical terminology.

Skills Test

This would involve transcription and dictation with five-minute segments on the following – literary dictation at 180 words per minute; two-voice Q&A testimonies at 225 words per minute; Jury charge at 200 words per minute.

Step 4: Maintain your CCR Certification

Once you have obtained your CCR certification, you will need to maintain it. You can do that by going through the renewal process and by continuing getting the necessary education required.

Step 5: Look for a Job as a Court Reporter in Louisiana

Once you have your certification, you need to start hunting for court reporter jobs in Louisiana. Employers of Court reporters in the state include:

  • Baton Rouge Court Reporters
  • Huffman and Robinson
  • Jamie A. Roy
  • Hanrahan Reporting Service
  • Brooks Court Reporting

How long does it take to become a Court Reporter in Louisiana?

To become a court reporter, you will need to fulfill all the requirements of a postsecondary certificate program offered by community colleges or technical institutes. Once you have your certification and a job, you will require some on-the-job training as well, which might last up to several weeks.

How much does a Court Reporter make in Louisiana?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Court Reporters in Louisiana made an annual mean income of $46,300.

Career Outlook for becoming a Court Reporter in Louisiana

The state of Louisiana is expected to experience a 7% increase in court reporters in the state. From 440 in 2016, the number of court reporters is expected to rise to 480 by 2026, with 40 projected annual job openings. This data has been retrieved from O*Net Online.
Demand for court reporters is likely to be affected by federal regulations, which now require a greater degree of captioning for the internet, television and various other technologies. Even though budgetary constraints might affect nationwide job prospects in this sector, Louisiana court reporter jobs are expected to experience a noted increase. Reporters will have multiple employment opportunities outside legal proceedings as federal regulations continue to require more closed captioning.
In addition to the above, the employment is expected to grow with the increase in elderly population. Demand is expected to increase for reporters who are communication access real-time translation (CART) providers or who can accompany their clients to town hall meetings and doctor’s appointments etc. Job prospects are expected to be the best for graduates of court reporting programs and for candidates who have some level of training in real-time captioning and CART.