Becoming a Court Reporter in NYC: Steps You Need to Follow
Court reporters also known as Certified Shorthand Reporters (CSRs) or Court Stenographers transcribe spoken or recorded speech into written words, which then serves as the official and legal record for depositions and court hearings. In order to become a court reporter anywhere in anywhere in the US, including New York, you will need to have two basic skills – typing with accuracy and typing at a fast speed. The good news is that you can learn both of these skills in court reporting programs. If you want to become a court reporter in New York, you will have to complete the following steps:
To work as a court reporter in New York, you will need postsecondary education like an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree. During these degrees, you will get to study courses that will make you understand different judicial procedures, and provide information about court reporting.
Just like most other states in the US, you will have to get licensed from a professional organization to work as a court reporter in New York. You will have to sit through and pass certain tests. You can get these licenses/certifications from professional bodies like the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) or the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA).
Some states accept license/certification from professional bodies. However, some states might require you to take a separate exam to get state certification.
Once you have completed the license and the educational requirements, you can apply for the job.
To maintain your court reporters certification/license, you will have to get certain continuing education credits.
Requirements to Become a Court Reporter in New York
A variety of court reporting programs are offered all across New York to help you enter this field and then excel in it. These programs may be offered in a traditional classroom setting or online. To know more about these programs, check with your local continuing education school(s), technical institutes and community colleges.
Typically these programs are offered at certificate, diploma and associate degree level. While you may complete a certificate in court reporting much earlier than the associate degree in this field, the main focus of all these programs is to familiarize yourself with:
- New York Court Reporting Rules
- Legal and medical terminology
- Courtroom procedures
- Grammar, punctuation and spelling
Another equally important facet of these programs is to help you type accurately at a certain speed. The objective is for students to type 225 words per minute. This will help you get certified or licensed later.
The State of New York does not require a license to practice as a court reporter, however The New York State Department of Labor’s official website states that only individuals certified by the Board of Regents may use the title of the certified shorthand reporter.
How to Become a Certified Shorthand Reporter in New York?
In order to become a CSR in New York, fulfill the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Be of good moral character
- Meet experience requirements – Three years of experience if you meet the educational requirements or five years of experience if you do not meet the educational requirements.
- Meet education and examination requirements – Have a high school diploma or GED. Additional educational requirements can be fulfilled if you hold a certificate, diploma or associate degree in court reporting from an accredited institute.
- Examination requirements – You must pass the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) examination administered by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). This examination consists of the Written Knowledge Test (WKT) and three sections of a skills test.
Once you are certified, you need to look for a court reporter’s position in your desired location. This could be the shortest or the longest phase in becoming a court reporter in New York. For beginners, join a professional body like the New York State Court Reporters Association (NYSCRA), where you will not only network but also find latest job openings. Also do not forget, you will need to obtain continuing education credentials to renew your certification.
How Much Do Court Reporters Earn in New York?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), court reporters nationally earned $55,120 (median annual) in May 2017. However, BLS quotes $89,140 (annual mean wage) for court reporters in the State of New York in May 2017. In short, the state pays a lot more to court reporters than what they earn in many other states. This makes the State of New York the highest paying state in the United States.
According to BLS’s May 2017 statistics, a total of 1,440 court reporters were working all over the State of New York. This makes New York the second biggest employer of court reporters in the United States after Texas where 1,640 court reporters worked as of May 2017. Interestingly, Texas is fifth best paying state for court reporters. In short, the State of New York is the ideal state to work as a court reporter both in terms of earnings and employment.