The Internet is a wealth of information, if you know how to use it and what to believe. Sometimes there is conflicting information on the very same page! For example, when searching for information related to “How Long is is Court Reporting School?”, a website that has general information about attending a court reporting school says that some schools encourage students to pursue degrees and certifications which offer “needless academics” that are of little to no value. In that very same paragraph, it tells readers to only attend a school that has credentialed court reporters offering guidance! So, which is it – get the credentials (Associate of Occupational Science degree and/or certification) or not?
In New York, licensing is not required to take the voluntary Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) exam, but all court reporters must be licensed and registered with the New York State Education Department. Therefore, you have to take the exam. If you pass the exam, are a U.S. citizen, are 21 years old or older and are “of good moral character,” you can submit your application and licensing fee ($173) to the New York State Education Department.
Sounds easy, right? There’s no reason to wonder “How long is court reporting school?” because you can just skip school, go right for the shorthand reporter’s license and become a court reporter in no time! Well, not exactly. The test itself has:
- 20 questions on legal terms/processes, court structure and rules of evidence.
- 40 questions on grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and English word usage.
- 1 five-minute, two-voice dictation on a medical subject at 175 wpm.
- 1 four-minute, one-voice jury charge dictation & read back at 175 wpm.
- 1 seven-minute, four-voice dictation/transcription at 200 wpm.
Here’s another catch-22: New York CSRs must have a minimum of three years’ experience working as full-time shorthand reporters to become certified. This means you have to work three years as a shorthand reporter to become a certified shorthand reporter. And why would an employe choose to hire you instead of an already-certified shorthand reporter? Employers typically want the most professional, educated and certified shorthand reporters.
The alternative is to take 1,300 instruction hours in shorthand reporting from a college or private court reporting school.
How long is court reporting school?
The length of time it takes to become a certified shorthand reporter depends on you. According to Excite, many court reporters enroll in a court reporting degree program at a paralegal college after high school. Other court reporting school options include major universities, community colleges and court reporting schools. In addition to stenography, students at a court reporting school will study:
- Electronic reporting
- English grammar
- Technical writing
- Voice writing
- Courtroom Procedures
Again, becoming a certified court reporter in New York can take over three years, but you can earn your Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) degree in as little as 24 months. Those who are diligent about practicing may be able to finish even sooner. “The fastest way to be a court reporter is to take up the associate’s degree (program),” says Excite.
Court reporting school – the time is right
It’s important that your training takes place at an educational facility that is affiliated with and recognized by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). If you’re wondering “How long is court reporting school?”, classes can be taken one-at-a-time or with a full load of credit hours each semester. You can continue to work while you attend school, or you can focus completely on earning your degree.
“How long is court reporting school?” shouldn’t be a major concern of yours – when it’s time for your internship program, your connection with a well-respected, reputable court reporting school may get your foot in the door with some of New York’s best workplaces, while other court reporters will find that doors to opportunities are closing. Most professionally trained stenotype court reporters find that, in addition to the opportunity for higher-paying jobs, they can work the hours and days they prefer, earning as little (or as much) as they want while balancing their personal commitments.
The U.S. and New York justice systems have more lawsuits than ever before, which has created a greater demand for court reporters. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “Job prospects for graduates of court reporting programs are expected to be very good. Court reporters with experience and training in CART and real-time captioning will have the best job prospects.”
Your own pace
Even if you’re a gambler, it doesn’t make sense to take a risk with your future. Whether you take the fast path (24 months) or take your time, your career can have the competitive edge you deserve when you attend an NCRA accredited court reporting school. If you have questions, do your due diligence to find the school that works best for you and ask to speak with a Career Counselor or Admissions Advisor.