All Things Political

Court Reporter Job Outlook

Job opportunities for court reporters are expected to be excellent as job openings continue to outnumber jobseekers. Court reporters with certification should have the best job opportunities. The favorable job market reflects the fact that fewer people are entering this profession, particularly as stenographic typists.

Employment of court reporters is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. Demand for court reporter services will be spurred by the continuing need for accurate transcription of proceedings in courts and in pretrial depositions, and by the growing need to create captions for live or prerecorded television and to provide other real-time translating services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Voice writers have become more widely accepted because of the difficulty in attracting workers and as the accuracy of speech recognition technology improves. Still, many courts allow only stenotypists to perform court reporting duties; as a result, demand for these highly skilled reporters will remain high.

Federal legislation mandates that, by 2006, all new television programming must be captioned for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act gives deaf and hard-of-hearing students in colleges and universities the right to request access to real-time translation in their classes. Both of these factors are expected to increase demand for court reporters to provide real-time captioning and CART services. Although these services forgo transcripts and differ from traditional court reporting, which uses computer-aided transcription to turn spoken words into permanent text, they require the same skills that court reporters learn in their training.

Despite increasing numbers of civil and criminal cases, budget constraints are expected to limit the ability of Federal, State, and local courts to expand, thereby also limiting the demand for traditional court reporting services in courtrooms and other legal venues. Further, because of the difficulty in attracting workers and in efforts to control costs, many courtrooms have installed tape recorders that are maintained by electronic court reporters and transcribers to record court proceedings. However, courts use electronic reporters and transcribers only in a limited capacity, and court reporters will continue to be used in felony trials and other proceedings. Despite the use of audiotape and videotape technology, court reporters can quickly turn spoken words into readable, searchable, permanent text, and they will continue to be needed to produce written legal transcripts and proceedings for publication.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook

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