How Much Does it Cost to Become a Court Reporter?

If you’re considering becoming a court reporter, you may be inclined to know about the costs associated with education, equipment, and licensing.

Once you’ve crossed the path and are working as a court reporter, some of your main responsibilities will include:

  • Being in attendance during courtroom proceedings, hearings, and other related events to create formal written documentation
  • Create transcripts and other documents using a stenograph
  • Looking over transcripts to ensure validity
  • Provide documents and transcripts to lawyers, judges, clerks, and other officials

Trade and vocational schools offer reduced costs and shorter duration times for programs versus associates and bachelor’s programs.

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How Much Does it Cost to Complete Court Reporter Trade/Vocational School?

There are many trade programs you can enroll in to earn a certificate to become a court reporter.

Depending on the school and program you choose, costs can range anywhere between $4,000 to $12,000 per year.

Community College

When looking to become a court reporter, community college is always an option.

You can enroll in a two-year program to earn an associate’s degree.

Most schools charge by the semester, credit hour, or quarter.

Trade School vs. College by Numbers

National AverageFour-Year CollegeTwo-Year CollegeTrade School
Average Cost$5,000 to $23,000$6,700 to $13,700$4,000-$12,000 total
Time to Complete4 years2 years8 months
Other ExpensesBooks, Housing, EquipmentBooks. Housing, EquipmentBooks
AwardBachelors degreeAssociates DegreeCertificate of completion

How Much Does a Court Reporter License Cost?

There are a few different types of certification and licensing available that the National Court Reporters Association recognizes.

However, every state will have its own set of requirements and exams that must be taken.

Some states such as Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, and Texas do not accept national certifications.

However, you must pass their own state exams to become licensed.

Fees will vary depending on the state.

For example, in Washington, you will be required to pay $150 for the license application and must also pass an exam.

In some states, exam and application costs can be as much as $260.

What are the Additional Costs After Becoming a Court Reporter?

After you have completed your exams and received a license to practice as a court reporter in your state, your costs won’t end there.

You will still need to spend a little bit of money to ensure you have all the necessary equipment to successfully perform your job as a court reporter.

You can plan on spending additional costs on all the following items:

  • Computer – Must have a hard drive with a minimum of 256 GB and memory of at least 8GB. Your processor must be at least an Intel Pentium i5.
  • Dual Monitor or Large Screen – The majority of court reporters find it much easier to use two computers during court hearings to be able to successfully handle their loads. A second monitor is an option if you have a computer that can handle all the software you are using.
  • High-Speed Internet – Wired networks are a better option than wireless connectivity.
  • USB Hub – Since your equipment will lose space rather quickly, you will need to ensure that you have several ports to take care of any issues that may arise.
  • Microphone – Computers nowadays typically come with a built-in microphone. However, these may not be the best in quality. You must ensure you have a quality microphone to catch every word that is heard during proceedings.
  • Backup recorder – The main duty of a court reporter is to protect the records that are being recorded. The best way to do this is by having a backup recorder on hand in the event your main source fails.
  • Speakers – The best way to ensure that you capture a precise record is by having speakers with comprehensible audio.

Other items needed include:

  • Headset w/ Microphone
  • Recording Software
  • Ergonomic Chair

Is Becoming a Court Reporter a Good Investment?

Depending on the school you select for education in addition to exam and licensing, the costs of becoming a court reporter will differ.

You will need to ensure that you spend the necessary funding on equipment such as computers, headsets, microphones, and more when you are first hired as a court reporter.

Depending on the route you choose for education, tuition will vary.

Whether you choose to attend a trade school and earn a certificate in as little as 8 months or attend a 4-year university, the choice is up to you.

Overall, the salary for court reporters is good.

On average, court reporters can earn anywhere between $48,000 and $100,000 per year.

More than a thousand jobs are expected to open up within the next decade.

This means that many opportunities will become available if you’re looking to become a court reporter.

If you believe that becoming a court reporter is the perfect career choice for you, it may all very well be worth the investment.

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