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High school graduation is upon you. Now what?

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 08:00 AM | GlobeNewswire via QuoteMedia

High school graduation is upon you. Now what?

Four years of college not attractive? Court reporting/captioning offers lucrative career options

Reston, Va., May 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On average, students who pursue a career in court reporting or captioning finish their programs in less than three years – sometimes even sooner – with opportunities to enter the workforce and start earning competitive salaries almost immediately, graduating with little or no debt. Employment opportunities in these fields are limitless and plentiful in an array of settings ranging from the courtroom to the deposition room to the newsroom and more.

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the country’s leading organization representing stenographic court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers, offers the NCRA A to Z ® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program, a free online six-week introductory course that lets participants determine if a career in court reporting or captioning is a good choice for them. Participants are simply required to have access to a steno machine or an iPad they can use to download the iStenoPad app . (Loaner programs for steno machines are available.)

Students who move on from the NCRA A to Z program to a stenographic court reporting program at one of NCRA’s approved schools also have the opportunity to apply for an array of scholarships and grants to aid them in supporting their studies.

Shannon C. Alexy, of Fort Worth, Texas,  enrolled as an online court reporting student at a local career institute after completing the NCRA A to Z program. She is looking forward to the career’s flexibility, vast job opportunities, and lucrative earnings. She anticipates graduating in 2024 and plans to start work as a freelance court reporter before pursuing a long-term career as an official court reporter working in a courthouse.

“I had an amazing experience in the NCRA A to Z program. My instructors went above and beyond to give us all the information we would need to make the choice of continuing in this field or not. They had guest speakers every week for us, including the NCRA president at the time,” she said.

“I didn’t go to college after graduating high school. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I worked at a temp agency for a bit and eventually was hired full time as a human resources assistant for a local company. I did that until I married and started having children,” Alexy noted.

“The demand for certified court reporters right now is astronomical, and it isn’t going to diminish anytime soon. With that kind of job security and earning potential I really had no reason to turn away. Having the opportunity to travel overseas to get a deposition down was also definitely something I never had considered as a bonus to this field,” she added.

NCRA President Jason T. Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, added his experience to Alexy’s point of view.

“Court reporting has sent me coast to coast and literally around the world, to 13 foreign countries. It has been a remarkable career, eminently fulfilling, and I have never regretted for one moment my decision to be a stenographic court reporter. The captioning and reporting profession is the best-kept secret in the job market. If people truly knew what we experienced, not to mention our income, they would be breaking the doors down to get trained, certified, and started.”

Ask any NCRA member, and they will be happy to share why they love their chosen careers and the vast number of venues it has taken them to, including front row seats of major events including high-profile legal cases, national and international events, live sporting settings, live theater, and more.

Philip Harrelson, RMR, CRR, from Madison, Wis., has been a stenographic court reporter for nearly 10 years, and currently works for the U.S. District Court for the Western District Court of Wisconsin. After years of hearing tiresome and erroneous claims that stenographic court reporters and their methods are outdated, Harrelson said that in today’s current climate, nothing can replace the value and accuracy of a live court reporter capturing the record, especially when compared to audio recording methods of keeping a record.

“As a stenographic court reporter, you’re in the room; you’re interrupting and clarifying things for the record; you’re making notes on names to get spellings for; you’re live interpreting mumbles, broken English, stammering, misspeaking – all of those subtle nuances of human speech that can take experience to fully understand. And all of that is being written down live. So as soon as the hearing is over, you already have it all written down, saving hours and hours and hours of tedious typing that a non-steno or non-voice writer would have to do,” he said.

“I loved writing on my machine. I still do. And that combined with being in the courtroom and seeing court proceedings play out – I found it all very interesting and fun. I loved the challenge of it all, and getting paid to do it is really just the icing on the cake. This career has allowed me to achieve so many life goals – some way earlier than I ever thought possible – and that’s due in large part to great financial opportunities. The second is getting the chance to really see the judicial side of things play out in front of you. You really gain a lot of insight into how the judicial system truly works. And third is absolutely the camaraderie amongst colleges and peers. I have made so many great friends through this career,” he added.

Renee Russo, RPR, CRR, a captioner from Pompton Plains, N.J., has been a court reporter since 1986. In 1991, she began working as a speech captioner and says the experience has led to some of her most memorable jobs, including covering proceedings at the United Nations, a six-hour wedding, a comedy club show, the State of the City address for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and a technical college where she had to leave her machine behind during a bomb scare.

“Our profession is an adventure every day. Satisfaction is the reward. I love what I do. The valuable knowledge and life experiences I have been given and shared with other reporters and mentoring students. Giving back is how we all improve every day. Much gratitude to this profession. Enjoy, and go for it!” Russo said.

Court reporters and captioners rely on the latest in technology in using stenographic machines to capture the spoken word and translate it into written text in real time. These professionals work both in and out of the courtroom recording legal cases and depositions, providing live captioning of events, and assisting members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities with gaining access to information, entertainment, educational opportunities, and more.

If you are looking for a career that is on the cutting edge of technology, offers the opportunity to work at home or abroad, like to write, enjoy helping others, and are fast with your fingers, then the fields of court reporting and captioning are careers you should explore.

To arrange an interview with a working court reporter, captioner, or a current court reporting student, or to learn more about the lucrative and flexible court reporting or captioning professions and the many job opportunities currently available, contact .

About NCRA
The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has been internationally recognized for promoting excellence among those who capture and convert the spoken word to text for more than 100 years. NCRA is committed to supporting its more than 12,000 members in achieving the highest level of professional expertise with educational opportunities and industry-recognized court reporting, educator, and videographer certification programs. NCRA impacts legislative issues and the global marketplace through its actively involved membership.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the court reporting field is expected to be one of the fastest areas of projected employment growth across all occupations. According to , the court reporting profession ranks sixth out of 25 careers with the lowest unemployment rate, just 0.7%. In addition, Forbes has named court reporting as one of the best career options not requiring a traditional four-year degree.

Career information about the court reporting profession — one of the leading career options that do not require a traditional four-year degree — can be found at

Annemarie Roketenetz
National Court Reporters Association

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