How to Become a Court Reporter in New Jersey

Court reporters, also known as shorthand reporters in New Jersey, are responsible for keeping written, verbatim record of legal proceedings, whether in court, private or government settings. In addition to judges, lawyers, witnesses and juries, court reporters play a crucial role in the dispensation of justice. Therefore, if you do not have the will or means to become a lawyer, consider becoming a court reporter, since court reporters are as integral to any legal system as lawyers and judges are.

However, before you learn how to become a court reporter in New Jersey, know the types of court reporters in detail. This is important since each type may have its own qualifications.

How to Become a Court Reporter in New Jersey
How to Become a Court Reporter in New Jersey

Types of Court Reporters in New Jersey

Court (Official) Reporting

These court reporters take down records of proceedings, be it court proceedings or administrative hearings.

Court (Freelance) Reporting

These court reporters write testimony or the spoken word verbatim especially at arbitration or deposition hearings.

Realtime Closed Captioning

These types of court reporters provide realtime captioning for live television events such as sports events and weather emergencies.

Closed (Broadcast) Captioning

If you turn on closed captioning function on your TV, you will see a feed at the bottom of your TV screens. This feed is prepared by these court reporters.

Webcasting

These court reporters provide realtime reporting services for internet-based events.

Communications Access Realtime Reporting (CART)

These types of court reporters provide specialized services to hard-of-hearing people in live situations.

Skills Required to Become a Court Reporter in New Jersey

The following are standard requirements for getting into any of the above mentioned types of court reporting:

  • The ability to operate a stenographic machine at 200 wpm
  • The ability to perform legal clerical work with a high degree of accuracy and speed
  • The ability to work independently
  • The ability to read back verbatim

In addition, court reporters in New Jersey must be able to successfully:

  • Follow oral and written directions
  • Operate a variety of machines such as computers, printers, audio equipment, and transcription machines
  • Work in a group environment – a court reporter must be a team player
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing
  • Concentrate for long periods of time
  • Remain seated for long periods of time

Furthermore, court reporters must have expert level knowledge of:

  • The English language
  • The English grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and spelling
  • Legal and medical terminology
  • Legal and clerical recordkeeping procedures and practices
  • Principles, methods, practices and techniques of court shorthand reporting

Requirements to Become a Certified Court Reporter in New Jersey

According to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs official website, the following are the requirements to become a certified court reporter in New Jersey. Candidates:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Must be of good moral character
  • Should have submitted a complete application form to the State Board of Court Reporting not less than three weeks before the date of the required examination
  • Ought to have paid the application fee
  • Should have passed the Board approved examination for the Certification of Court Reporters called the National Court Reporter Association’s RPR exam
  • Must have a place to conduct business in New Jersey

Once you are certified, your certification is good for two years. To renew, you will need to obtain continuing education credits.

How Much Do Court Reporters Earn in New Jersey?

According to May 2017 statistics taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), court reporters earned the annual mean wage of $58,420, which is more than what court reporters earned in Florida and Pennsylvania, two of the biggest states that employ court reporters.