If you want to become a court reporter in the USA, then you will need some skills, and depending on the area that you want to operate in you might need to be a notary public.
Many, but not all, states require that court reporters hold a certification. The National Court Reporters Association is one recognized body offering certifications, and the National Verbatim Reporters Association is another. Some states require that court reporters earn a state-specific qualification.
In addition to those bodies, there is a group called the International Alliance of Professional Reporters and Transcribers. This organization is a not for profit consortium which has the goal of developing and improving court reporting as a profession. The IAPRT offers are own online training and certification, and this can be valuable for people who are looking to get started in the profession, but it is not something that is a substitute for the mandatory certifications that are listed above.
This particular job is an important one that offers stable employment and good pay. It is also an industry that is growing at a healthy rate. To get started. However, extensive training is needed, so it is not a 'get rich quick' pursuit.
Court reporters are required all over the world, but the certifications that are recognized in the USA are not ones that will translate to other countries. A reporter looking to move to the United Kingdom or Canada would need to investigate the qualifications that are required in those countries. Joining an internationally recognized group will help with this - some employers may if someone is well recognized and has good references, be willing to work with an international reporter and pay for their fresh certifications, as long as they sign a contract requiring them to stay with their company for a given period afterward.
Certified realtime reporters, and certified broadcast captioners are two popular job roles at the moment. Some court reporters contract to multiple courts, or offer other services freelance, such as real-time transcription for events, or even in the education sector, as a way to supplement their income during times where they are not in court. The skills that they use in the courtroom can transfer to some different areas, offering lots of alternative employment options and mobility for the future, should you wish to leave the courtroom.
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