Should I Become a Court Reporter in Florida

If you want to be part of the legal system without getting a law degree, then read this article on how to become a court reporter in Florida.

EducationPost-secondary education or an Associate Degree
Major RequirementsStenography, Typewriting, Court Reporting
License/CertificationNeeded
Experience/TrainingDepends on the job requirements
Key SkillsTime management, Strong writing skills, Strong comprehension, Honesty, etc.
Annual Mean Salary – US (2020)$66,710 (Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners)
Annual Mean Salary – Florida (2020)$51,150 (Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners)
Job Outlook – Florida(2018-2028)15% (Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners)

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Steps to Become a Court Reporter in Florida

Court reporting is a process in which words spoken in court are transcribed into written text. This legal record then serves as accurate transcription during the appeal stage of a case. In addition to judges and attorneys, court reporters play an equally important part in the dispensation of justice. When an appeal is filed, the appellate court relies upon the written record of spoken words during the trial stage to determine whether the court followed appropriate legal principles and procedures in reaching a final decision.

How to Become a Court Reporter in Florida
How to Become a Court Reporter in Florida

If you’re a resident of the State of Florida and are thinking of becoming a court reporter then the good news is that you do not need to be licensed or obtain specific educational credentials beyond high school. However, court reporting is a skill, which can be learned only though proper education and training.
To become a court reporter in Florida, you will have to complete all of the following steps:

Step 1: Obtain High School Education

The first step is to get high school education or a GED certificate. Once you are done with that, you will have to get some sort of postsecondary education.

Step 2: Get Court Reporting Education

You will need to get formal court reporting education from a community college or a technical school. You can get a certificate, an Associate’s Degree or even a Bachelor’s Degree from these institutions.

Step 3: Get the State Certificate

After completing your degree, you will have to get the Florida Professional Reporters (FPR) certificate. These credentials are offered by the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA).

Step 4: Obtain Continuing Education

Once you start working as a court reporter, you will have to complete a certain amount of continuing education credits to maintain your FPR certification. You should consider joining the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) which provides resources and useful guidance to court reporters.

Requirements to Become a Court Reporter in Florida

Complete a formal Court Reporter Program –There are many technical schools and community colleges in Florida, which offer a variety of certificate and associate’s degree level programs in court reporting. Depending upon which path you chose (with certificate being of shortest duration), you may be able to complete your educational requirements from 28 months to three years. Both, the certificate programs in court reporting and the associate’s degree in court reporting emphasize on teaching their students legal proceedings and how to use transcription machines accurately at a specific speed.
Get the Florida Professional Reporter Certificate – Getting licensed is not a prerequisite to working as a court reporter in Florida. However, there are many who voluntarily take this certification exam to enhance their employment prospects. Obtaining a certification also highlights that you have achieved a certain skill level in your trade.
The Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) offers Florida Professional Reporters (FPR) Certification. You can obtain this certification by attending FCRA’s one-day Florida Rules & Ethics Certification seminar, which covers the following topics:

  • Transcript Production
  • Appellate Procedures
  • Florida’s Rules of Court
  • NCRA Advisory Opinions
  • Federal Rules of Court

A closed-book examination is conducted following the seminar. You will need to score 80% and above to obtain this certificate.
Find a Job – The State of Florida is the third biggest state in the United States which employs court reporters. However, job hunt takes time, so be patient. Start with signing up with the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA). Their website has a “Classifieds” tab where you will find a list of vacancies. In addition, you can also visit your local courthouse and enquire about job vacancies.

How Much Do Court Reporters Earn in Florida?

As per US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners employed in the state of Florida earned $51,150 as mean annual income in the year 2020.

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Florida1,380$50,210

The State of Florida is only behind Texas and New York for employment of court reporters by state, as of May 2017. However, O*NET OnLine predicts 2% growth rate in this field from 2016 to 2026. This means that approximately 100 new jobs will be created in this field in these ten years. Therefore, expect a stiff competition.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Court Reporter in Florida?

The time it takes to become a court reporter in Florida will depend on the educational path you choose, the certifications you get, and the time it takes you to complete all the requirements. It can take you around 2 to 4 years to work as a court reporter in the state.

Skills Need for a Successful Court Reporting Career in Florida

To work as a court reporter in Florida and have a successful career in it, you need multiple skills. Some major skills are:

  • Strong concentration.
  • Ability to handle pressure.
  • Good typing speed.
  • Right educational credentials.
  • Correct certification.
  • Strong writing and listening skills.

Career Outlook

Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners employed in Florida will earn 15% job growth between 2018 and 2028, compared to the national average of 3%. This information has been obtained from O*Net Online

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