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If you’re looking for a career path and industry that aligns with your specific talent and interests, a job in stenography may be right for you if you enjoy transcribing. Besides, a basic grasp of what becoming a stenographer entails can in a great way assist you in planning your educational program, acquiring on-the-job work experience, and gaining the appropriate qualifications for your professional objectives. Stenographers operate in a wide range of industries, so studying the profession will help you figure out which one is the best fit for you. But how long does it take to become a stenographer court reporter in NY(New York) and how much do they make? Let’s find out together…

Who Is a Stenographer?

A stenographer is an individual trained to create a written typed record of verbatim speech using shorthand methods. This training enables stenographers to write or type as quickly as people speak. The paperwork that stenographers produce can be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from legal proceedings to medical consultations. This is clearly useful in a variety of legal circumstances, but the talent is also utilized for live closed captioning on television as well as captioning for audiences who are stone-deaf at events.

Stenographers are frequently employed in settings related to the law, science, academia, medicine, commerce, and the entertainment industry.

Stenographers also have the ability to transcribe;

  • Podcasts
  • Lectures
  • Webcasts
  • Procedures at the court
  • Talk radio shows
  • Insurance adjustment procedures

What Does a Stenographer Do?

A stenographer’s duties include transcribing court sessions, witness statements, and other judicial hearings, as well as public meetings and live events with closed captioning. Stenographers perform the job of typing testimonies in a fast and accurate manner so as to preserve them for future generations or so that those with hearing impairments can readily understand a conversation going on or delivered speech. Using a stenography machine, which is a specialized typing machine, allows you to type more quickly and accurately than you could with a standard keyboard.

They also check their work against audio recordings to make sure it is accurate. When the transcripts are ready, they are given to the court clerk to be filed and copies are made available to the judges, attorneys, and the general public as needed.

Should I Become a Stenographer?

Stenographers or transcriptionists often work in the legal field( as court reporters). They use stenotype machines to capture and record the exact transcripts of various hearings. The majority of these individuals usually secure employment and work in various branches of government agencies( including municipal & state levels), administrative support companies, as well as information service providers. Court reporters and stenographers frequently work full-time schedules that allow them to choose their own hours. 

How to Become a Stenographer

Basically, there are a number of professional and educational requirements you will need to meet before you can become a stenographer in NY. The majority of court stenographers hold either a high school diploma or a certificate of completion for the General Educational Development (G.E.D.) program. This is in addition to further training in court reporting and stenography from a vocational school or community college. It usually takes two to five years to complete a court reporting program, which includes classes on grammar, shorthand, phonetics, and transcription of spoken words.

Meanwhile, the majority of states mandate that court stenographers hold a valid certification. For the most part, you’ll require previous work experience and a working knowledge of industry principles and procedures. There is also the option for stenographers who work in captioning and other transcription-based services can also choose to become certified of their own volition.

The following are the basic steps you can follow to become a stenographer in NY and the United States as a whole;

#1. Complete High School

Stenographers often begin their careers by attending high school or a similar secondary institution. During your secondary education, it is essentially important to gain a strong command of the English language. Enrolling in English and creative writing classes will help you improve your reading, writing, and listening comprehension.

#2. Join a Post-Secondary Education Program

Generally, vocational schools and community colleges offer the most common post-secondary education options for stenographers. However, community college students are more likely to receive an associate degree than those who attend vocational schools. You might need two to four years to complete these programs.

To make the most of your time in post-secondary education, you can decide to take classes in English grammar, typewriting, and stenographic writing method as well as the full knowledge of how to operate specialized stenography machines.

In addition, you can also learn professional languages utilized in domains or professions where stenography is common. Such fields may include legal, business, and medical terms.

#3. Complete Intensive On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training can provide you with valuable stenography expertise that can assist progressing in your career, regardless of whether you have completed your high school education or a stenography program at a post-secondary institution. 

What you get from the on-the-job stenography training may include:

  • Studying and going over the technical and instruction manuals for the machinery with the instructors
  • Acquiring an understanding of the stenography machines and how it works
  • Watching skilled stenographers at work is one fascinating experience

#4. Decide on an Industry

One of the first things you should do after completing your post-secondary education and/or work experience is contemplate your professional interests. You can narrow your career options by learning about the speed and accuracy requirements of various businesses. Stenographers can be found in a variety of industries, including:

  • Legal
  • Business
  • Medical
  • Entertainment

#5. Obtain a License

Stenographer certification standards vary from state to state. Before beginning entry-level stenography work, most states require that applicants get a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) credential. New stenographers often take an RPR certification exam that tests their typing, legal terminology, and ethical standards. You can get a head start on a stenography job by learning about the licensing requirements in the state where you intend to work.

#6. Further You Education

To keep their certification, stenographers must take continuing education courses and pass speed tests. Stenographers who hold the RPR certification according to the National Court Reporter Association (NCRA) need to get a minimum of three CEUs every three years. Hence, you can learn new stenography abilities by continuing education classes. This will also help to keep your credentials current as technology advances in the sector.

#7. Think About Adding on More Credentials to Your Resume

Following the completion of the RPR certification, stenographers frequently go on to obtain one or more of the following further certifications:

  • Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) certification.
  • Certified Electronic Court Reporter (CER) certification
  • Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) certification.
  • Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR) certification

How to Become a Stenographer Court Reporter

A stenographer court reporter is a court reporter that creates transcriptions of legal procedures, meetings, speeches, and other judicial events. In legal situations, court reporters are responsible for providing a legal transcript of judicial hearings, depositions, and witness testimony that is both complete and accurate. In other words, not all court reporters are employed by law firms. They may be able to work with the deaf and transcribe their speech to text. It is also possible to work as a court reporter on your own. Overall, it’s a career that’s both personally enjoyable and financially rewarding.

Court reporting and stenography occupations have excellent employment and compensation opportunities, so it’s no surprise that many people are pursuing them. Candidates considering a career as a court reporter, however, must first complete a lengthy training program and meet licensing or certification criteria in many states.

Below are the steps to kick start your career if you plan to become a stenographer court reporter in NY and other parts of the US;

#1. Acquire a GED or Other Equivalent Proof of High School Diploma

Basically, you will need a high school diploma or a GED for entry into any judicial stenography program. There aren’t many classes at the high school level that prepare you to work in the area, so it’s unlikely that you can begin preparing in high school. Even if you’re not ready to switch to stenography just yet, taking typing or business classes can help you get up to speed.

#2. Make a Career Choice

It’s a good idea to do some research before enrolling in a court reporting program to determine which route you want to take. All court reporting programs follow the same basic structure in order to prepare students for state licensure and/or certification as court reporters.

However, schools divide their court reporting programs in a number of ways to best prepare students for specific areas of court reporting, while others provide a more comprehensive approach to court reporting.

If you’re interested in learning about a wide range of aspects of the trade, for example, some colleges offer a broad stroke approach. This may include;

  • Judicial reporting
  • Closed-loop broadcast captioning
  • These are services specially designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
  • Court reporting/Stenography
  • Court reporting/Voice writing

#3.Acquire an Associate Degree Program Qualification

Stenographers normally take 33 months to complete their training. This means it takes approximately about three years to become a court stenographer. There are numerous community colleges and technical schools that provide extended associate’s degree programs in court stenography. The stenography programs commonly last for three-year instead of the two-year option. The various programs teach you how to utilize computer-aided transcription and stenography machines and cover topics such as legal vocabulary, medical terminology, courtroom procedures, and American legal.

#4Get a License.

Court stenographers are not subject to any standardized licensing requirements at the state level. To receive the Certified Court Reporter certificate in some states, you must first earn your notary public commission. While in other states, you must first pass the Certified Court Reporter exam. In some states, being certified as a verbatim reporter by the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) can stand in for having a state license if the state allows the use of voice recorder transcription. There are three different certificates offered by the NVRA for voice writers: Certified Verbatim Reporter, Certificate of Merit, and Real-Time Verbatim Reporter.

#5. Obtain Employment

According to the data provided by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most likely places for you to get work are within state and local governments, as well as within court reporting agencies. It is anticipated that non-legal captioning will be a significant area of job growth. In the year 2020, there were approximately 21,300 people working as court stenographers. It was anticipated that there will be a 3% increase in employment during 2020-2030. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual pay in 2020 was $61,660.

#6. Obtain the Required Certification.

There are at least two professional associations, the United States Court Reporters Association (USCRA) and the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), from which you can earn certifications in the field of court reporting. You can also obtain The Federal Certified Realtime Reporter designation(FCRR) through USCRA. The dictation portion of the FCRR exam lasts five minutes and requires a speed of between 180 and 200 words per minute. To be qualified, you need to be a member of USCRA, but you do not necessarily need to work as a federal court stenographer.

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) gives out three different credentials: the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), and the Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR). There are 105 multiple-choice questions on the written portion of the RPR certification exam, and there are also three practical skills exams. To keep your RPR status current, in addition to being a member of the NCRA, you will need to earn three credits of continuing education over the course of every three years.

Both the RMR and the RDR are designations of a higher level. In addition to that, the RMR includes a written test and three skill tests. To qualify for this award, you must first obtain the RPR and then be a member of the NCRA for a period of three years. The RDR certification process on the other hand only includes a single written test. However, in order to qualify for the RDR, you will need to have been an NCRA member for a minimum of six years and hold the RMR status.

How Long Does it Take To Become a Stenographer Court Reporter?

Stenographers normally take 33 months to complete their training. This means it takes approximately three years to become a court reporter or stenographer in NY. There are numerous community colleges and technical schools that provide extended associate’s degree programs in court stenography. The stenography programs commonly last for three years instead of the two-year option. The various programs teach you how to utilize computer-aided transcription and stenography machines and cover topics such as legal vocabulary, medical terminology, courtroom procedures, and American legal.

What are the Skills You Need to Become a Stenographer in NY?

You’ll need the following abilities if you want to work as a stenographer in NY;

  • A keen eye for detail and the ability to comprehend and implement elaborate instructions are required.
  • A patient disposition, including the capacity to maintain stillness over extended periods of time
  • Understanding a wide range of transcription conventions while also doing transcription
  • Regard for privacy, particularly in the context of confidential court proceedings
  • Capabilities in writing, including familiarity with English grammar and terminology
  • Active listening, which is particularly useful for transcribing proceedings


A legal field is a common place for stenographers and transcriptionists to work as (court reporters). They use stenotype machines to get exact transcripts of different hearings. Most of these people get jobs and work for different levels of government, such as local and state governments, administrative support companies, and information service providers. Court reporters and stenographers often have full-time jobs where they can set their own hours.

How to Become a Stenographer FAQs

How many words does a stenographer write per minute?

A NY-certified stenographer normally types at a rate of at least 225 words per minute. Strictly trained stenographers may reach speeds of up to 375 words per minute on their keyboards. While a 97.5 percent accuracy rate is common among stenographers who want to stay certified.

What are the five common career paths for a stenographer?

A certified stenographer can also have a career in any of the following positions in the U.S including NY;

  • Legal Secretary
  • Legal Assistant
  • Executive Secretary
  • Medical Transcriptionist
  • Senior Secretary

Is it stressful to work as a stenographer?

Working as a NY court reporter or stenographer isn’t the most demanding profession in the world. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t days when things aren’t going so smoothly. As a certified stenographer court reporter, even if your back or fingers ache, as long as you have a task to complete, you keep going.

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