Once you have determined that court reporting is the career for you, the next step is to select a court reporting school. Don’t just search the internet and enroll in the first program you find. Consider whether it is an approved program, if it fits your lifestyle, and how long you have to be a student whether that’s part-time or full-time, and the cost.
Is your court reporting school accredited?
Go to the National Court Reporters Association NCRA-Approved Court Reporting Schools and Department of Education to see which schools are accredited and accepting students. Your coursework and certification mean nothing from an unaccredited program, so a little extra work at the beginning will pay off.
It’s unfortunate that there are fewer programs every year, even as the demand for reporters is increasing.
Are you willing to move for court reporting school?
Because there are a limited number of accredited court reporting programs, you may need to consider moving costs, even if it’s a temporary move to another state. Consider attending school in the area where you plan to work so you can work your network of contacts post-completion.
What is the financial impact?
While many court reporters can complete programs in less time and at less cost than what they’d pay for a four-year degree, that’s not always the case. It’s also important to know what your budget can handle. Some programs may be more expensive and therefore the availability of financing may be a necessity for you.
Along with the cost, consider that earning potential as a court reporter is an average of about $40,000 right out of school. Even at that above-average rate, an expensive program may not beneficial if you will not earn sufficient income after graduation. Factor in living expenses during school and post-graduation.
Are you a part-time or full-time student?
What’s great about court reporting school is that you have the option to go part-time or full-time depending on your needs and obligations outside school. Do you have the time to work while going to school? Will you be able to cover expenses and have the time to complete classes? No matter where you go to school, the standards for speed and accuracy are similar and demanding so take time now to consider if you’re ready.
As you’re selecting a court reporting school, be sure to do your research not only on accredited programs but on the cost and flexibility to go part-time versus full-time. We wish you great success in your efforts and are here to answer questions about a career in court reporting!