Program of Study

Court Reporting/Court Reporter
99-week program/2960 hours (Maximum hours 4440)


2017 Median Pay  $77,770 per year*
$37.39 per hour
Entry-Level Education  Postsecondary non-degree award
Number of Jobs, 2016  20,000
Job Outlook, 2010-20  18% (About as fast as average)*
Employment Change, 2016-2026  1,700

What Court Reporters Do:

Court reporters attend legal proceedings and public speaking events and create word-for-word transcriptions. Some court reporters provide captioning for television and at public events.

Court reporters in California typically do the following:
  • Attend events that require written transcripts
  • Record spoken dialogue with specialized equipment, such as covered microphone
  • Review notes for names of speakers and technical terminology 
  • Prepare transcripts for the record
  • Edit transcripts for typographical errors
  • Provide copies of transcripts and recordings to the courts, counsels,       and parties involved

Court reporters create word-for-word transcripts of speeches, conversations, legal proceedings, meetings, and other events. They play a critical role in legal proceedings and other meetings where it is important to have a record of exactly what was said. They are responsible for producing a complete, accurate, and secure legal record.

Court reporters who work in courts also help judges and trial attorneys by organizing the official record and searching for information in it.

Other court reporters do not work in courtrooms. They also transcribe speech to writing as the speech occurs. However, they primarily serve people who cannot hear the spoken word by providing captions for television programs (called closed captioning). They may also transcribe speech for deaf and hard-of-hearing people in meetings.

Court reporters use stenotype machines to record dialogue as it is spoken. Stenotype machines work like keyboards but create words through key combinations rather than single characters, allowing court reporters to keep up with fast-moving dialogue. Court reporters who use stenotype machines are known as stenographers.

As with a regular keyboard, the symbols are recorded in a computer program. The program uses computer-assisted transcription (CAT) to translate the key combinations into the words and phrases they represent, creating readable text. The court reporter then reviews the text for accuracy and corrects spelling and grammar errors.

Court reporters who work with deaf and hard-of-hearing people use a technique called Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). They go with their clients to events, doctor’s appointments, or wherever they are needed. These court reporters also caption high school and college classes and provide transcripts to students who are hard-of-hearing or learning English as a second language. They also sometimes work remotely because an Internet or phone connection allows them to hear and type without having to be in the room.

Job Outlook

Employment of court reporters is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for court reporter services will be influenced by new federal legislation requiring increased captioning for the Internet and other technologies.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, reporters will increasingly be needed for captioning outside of legal proceedings. All new television programming will continue to need closed captioning, while broadcasters are adding closed captioning to their online programming in order to comply with new federal regulations.

Growth of the elderly population will also increase demand for court reporters who provide Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services and can accompany their clients to doctor’s appointments, town hall meetings, and religious services. In addition, movie theaters and sports stadiums will provide closed captioning for disabled customers.

The “2013 – 2014 Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report, Executive Summary,” Presented by Ducker Worldwide, forecasts a need for 3,500 to 4,000 new reporters in 2018.  

Court Reporters’ Salary Information

The median annual wage for court reporters was $78,220 in May 2013. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,710, and the top 10 percent earned more than $91,280.

CAJ Court Reporting Program

This program prepares students to work in the Court Reporting industry. Court reporters play a critical role in judicial proceedings, as well as meetings where the spoken word must be preserved as a written transcript. The majority of court reporters work in offices of attorneys, courtrooms, legislatures, and conventions.  An increasing number of court reporters work from home-based offices as independent contractors.

The statewide average for completion of the program is 4.9 years. Our graduates usually complete the program in three to five years. Students progress at their own pace.

Employment Opportunities

Employment is projected to grow much faster than the average, reflecting the demand for real-time broadcast captioning and translating.

  • Captioner
  • Medical Transcriber
  • Proof Reader
  • Realtime Reporter
  • Scopist
  • CART Provider

CAJ Gainful Employment Data:

• Graduation Rate for Completers:  100%
• Placement Rate for Completers:  100%

Required Orientation & Assessment

  • Every Wednesday 8:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room.
  • Please bring your government issued picture ID (i.e. Driver’s License, DMV ID card, etc).