You’ve enrolled in an accredited school and your court reporting classes will begin soon. You’re excited to learn about this exhilarating, trending career and eagerly looking forward to becoming one of the highly skilled professionals that are needed in so many industries these days! By the time you finish court reporting classes, you will be prepared for an entry-level job and are able to:
- Show proficiency in using computer-assisted writing software.
- Describe relevant courtroom procedures.
- Complete an acceptable court and freelance deposition transcript.
- Define and have general knowledge of significant legal and medical terminology.
- Document dictated material up to 225 wpm (words per minute).
- Have successfully completed 72 credit hours of classes and earned your Associate in Occupational Studies degree.
You’ll have studied and practiced these skills long enough to feel comfortable – even confident – enough to work as a court reporter. But what exactly will you learn in court reporting classes? In addition to learning that you’ve made the right choice for your future, here are the courses that will give you the proficiency and knowledge that can lead to an entry level job after graduation:
You need three total credits, and each elective class is three credits. You are usually only required to take one, but you can take more if you are interested:
- Contemporary Health Issues
- Any Paralegal course
- Basic Human Anatomy – Why does a professional court reporter need to take an anatomy class? You don’t necessarily – it’s an elective – but a good class to consider, because medical transcriptionists (sometimes called “healthcare documentation specialists”) are often needed to transcribe voice recordings into readable reports. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is unresolved about the job outlook for medical transcriptionists; they expected it to decline slightly, but with the now-epic increase in health care services, this specialized profession may flourish.
General Education Classes
You will need 15 credits in General Education; each class is three credits, so you will take all of these courses:
- College English
- Oral and Written Communications
- College Mathematics – This class will review what you may have learned in high school; decimals, ratio and proportion, percentages, the metric system, basic algebra and geometry, statistics and problem-solving.
- Psychology – In addition to basic human behavior, you’ll study behavior disorders’ terminology and psychological investigations that may be used as evidence in the courtroom.
- Computer Concepts
Professional Education Classes
You must earn 54 credits total, and the number of credits-per-class varies:
- Courtroom Procedures – You will learn about courtroom attire, etiquette and personal ethics while studying the different types of judicial systems, government agencies and freelance court reporting. Record-keeping for billing and the security of confidential information records is discussed. Vocabulary and spelling will be tested also.
- English for Court Reporting – Editing, punctuation, vocabulary, proofreading and how to use source material will be learned.
- Professional Development
- Legal Terminology – Court reporter students will work toward mastering the terminology that is used by legal professionals. Branches of law: real estate, corporate, criminal and contract, for example, will be examined.
- Medical Terminology – Knowledge of medical terminology is useful in the courtroom as well as when you work in the healthcare industry.
- Stenotype I – Your first class that prepares you for your career in court reporting will train you in transcription, read-back, and the theory of real-time translation. Your stenotyping should reach 40 wpm.
- Stenotype II – Your stenotyping should reach 90 wpm.
- Stenotype III – Your stenotyping should reach 130 wpm.
- Stenotype IV – Your stenotyping should reach 180 wpm.
- Stenotype Theory
- Computer Technology
- Court Reporting Internship – An internship is a valuable learning experience, so it’s important that your court reporting program include a “hands-on” internship class. By the time you take this course, you should be typing or “writing” about 180 wpm. You will be required to “work” a minimum of 9 hours/week for a total of 135 hours (100 of those hours must be spent actually using your shorthand machine, recording trials, depositions, etc.) as a practicing court reporter. Your transcripts will be graded.
- Advanced Court Reporting – Upon completion of this vital class, you will finally be able to demonstrate you can enter data at 225 wpm. You’ll learn how to identify and record the words spoken by more than one person. In a courtroom, two attorneys may be speaking – and interrupting each other – at the same time before the judge interrupts them, so it’s important that you are able to type who said what as well as describe gestures and emotions. If called upon, you should be able to quickly read-back what you have typed. By the time you complete this class, you will have confidence in your abilities and be ready for your first job as a court reporter!
You’ve been making decisions – choices – all of your life; some were good and some were bad, but you learned from them all. Enrolling in court reporting classes, and learning about this profession, is a career choice that that can change your life for the better!