There is currently a shortage in the amount of court reporters interested and willing to train for the job.
Court reporting is critical to ensure that there is a written record of the proceedings in a courtroom. A
2013 industry study predicted that there would be a shortage of more than 5,000 court reporters by
2018 and there is evidence that documents this shortage.
In Kansas, Illinois, South Carolina, and Florida the decreased number of court reporters has led to delays
of court proceedings which in turn delays any verdicts or need for justice.
One court reporter from Mississippi, Melissa Grimes, said, “It’s just one of those jobs that people don’t seem to know about. I know, personally, I would never have thought about being a court reporter if my
typing teacher in high school hadn’t mentioned that I might want to try it.”
According to the National Court Reporters Association, three-quarters of the country’s court reporters are self-employed. It’s also important to note that court reporters don’t necessarily have to just record court sessions. LaTonya Allen, president of the Mississippi Court Reporters Association, said,
“’ It’s a great way to have your own business. There are so many opportunities. There’s computer-aided
real-time translation which is used for the hearing impaired. There is closed-captioning like you see on
TV. There are conferences and meetings where transcripts are needed. Really, there are a lot of areas where court reporters are needed. It can be a lucrative, viable job. We just need to do a better job of
getting the word out.”
One strategy being employed by the National Court Reporters Association to address the decline in court reporters is a program called “A to Z” to introduce the public to the profession. Allen explained,
“It’s kind of a try before you buy thing. In eight weeks, we’ll show people a little about the job, enough for them to have an idea of whether court reporting is right for them. After that, if they are interested,
we’ll help guide them to online programs and support them any way we can.”
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