Court Reporters are responsible for recording everything word-for-word during a legal proceeding. They create transcripts of all that is said by the concerned parties over the course of a deposition, court hearing, trial or an appeal, etc. Television broadcasting is another place where court reporters can utilize their skills by providing closed captioning services.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Keystone State has over 900 employed Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners as of 2019. Do you want to join this profession? Read this detailed guide on how to become a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania.

Should I Become a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania?

  • Education Required
  • Area of Study
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2020)-National
  • Job Outlook(2019-2029)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2020)-California
  • Post-Secondary Certificate/Associate Degree
  • Stenography, Transcribing, Court Reporting
  • Needed in Most States
  • On-the-Job Training
  • Active Listening, Time Management, Oral and Written Comprehension, Writing, Speech Recognition, Near Vision, Written Expression.
  • $66,710 (Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners)
  • 9% (Court Reporters)
  • $52,470 (Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020)

As a court reporter in Pennsylvania, you will use transcribing, stenography, shorthand and voice writing techniques to create transcripts of legal proceedings both within and outside a court of law. You may also have to perform different research-related tasks from time to time.

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 9% increase in Court Reporter jobs between 2019 and 2029. As per federal laws, there will be greater use of captioning on the Internet, television and other technological mediums in the coming years. Hence, the demand for court reporters is likely to grow. However, the availability of employment opportunities will also be affected by budgetary limitations and advancements in technology.

Steps to Become a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania

To become a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania, you need to follow the process described here.

Complete Specialized Post-Secondary Education

After graduating from high school, you can enroll in a specialized education program aimed at training court reporters. The kind of certificate or degree program you go for will depend upon the branch of court reporting that you plan on pursuing.
For instance, if you are interested in voice writing and voice dictation using a steno-mask or microphone, then you can complete a relevant certificate program in as little as 6 months. To become a court stenographer, you will probably need an Associate degree. This is usually 2 years long. Below are some good study options in this regard.

  • Associate of Science (AS) in Court Reporting
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Court Reporting

Earn Your Certification

Once you have your court reporting degree, you can pursue the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification offered by the NCRA (National Court Reporters Association).

Find Employment

As a certified court reporter, you can find full-time, part-time and freelance work in Pennsylvania. While jobs at law firms and courthouses are usually full-time, you can pursue various kinds of paid employment with this skillset.

Join the PCRA (Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association)

The Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association (PCRA) offers great support to different types of court reporters in the state. They offer professional guidance and resources which can be quite handy for the members, especially newcomers. The PCRA membership is open to veteran and young court reporters as well as students pursuing a court reporting degree or certificate program.

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

It usually takes about 3 years to become a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania. Of these, you will probably spend 2 years getting an Associate degree in court reporting. After that, you will prepare to take the NCRA (National Court Reporters Association) certification. This will take some time too. However, the duration will be considerably less if you pursue a short-term certificate program in court reporting.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania?

Following are the requirements for becoming a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania.

  • Earn a High School Diploma or GED (General Educational Development) Certificate.
  • Complete specialized post-secondary education in court reporting.
  • Become certified by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Court Reporter in Pennsylvania?

In 2020, Pennsylvania’s Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners had an annual mean wage of $52,470. This is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.