Thinking of a career in court reporting? Or are you a student needing a little push? Then this video, a part of “On the Record,” a documentary about court reporting, is for you!
50-year court reporting veteran Dom Tursi shares his insights on becoming a court reporter.
Click here to view.
How do I start?
Start with an accredited school and program, ask questions and gather as much information and from as many sources as possible. There are two schools in Canada; one with programs in English and one in French. For more information, please contact the schools directly:
In Alberta, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology can be reached at: http://www.nait.ca/program_home_76345.htm
In Quebec, L’École de sténographie judicaire du Québec can be reached at:http://www.ecoledestenographie.ca/
For Ontario, online court reporting schools are also a viable option. Although these online schools are from the U.S. and you may need further assistance with language differences from www.csrao.net, here are online schools recognized by NCRA and indicated by (ON): http://www.ncra.org/Education/content.cfm?ItemNumber=8511
How much do court reporters earn?
Entry level reporters should expect to earn a modest living and build on that over time as they gain experience, increase their speeds and develop professionally. Compensation and benefits (if any) can be derived from salaries, pages produced, attendance, hourly rates or a combination of any or all of the above. Each jurisdiction, organization or firm will have its own scales and systems.
What are the minimum requirements for becoming a shorthand court reporter?
The minimum requirements for a career as a reporter — whether as an official court reporter, a freelancer, a CART provider or broadcast captioner — are, by CSRAO standards, 200 words per minute. However, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) mandates a minimum speed of 225 words per minute. The Senate of Canada also requires its reporters to have a minimum of 225 words per minute.
How long does it take to get to 200 or more words per minute?
While everyone is different, most reporting programs suggest that students should plan for two years to complete the foundation academic programs, the theory and the speedbuilding courses. Two years of training is often a minimum and many students can become frustrated at the length of time it takes to overcome speed barriers or see progress. Many students drop out along the way and it is not uncommon to hear statistics on the subject of graduation rates of between 10 and 17 per cent. However, with consistency, perseverance, skill and effort the results are worth it.
Do I need CSR or other certification to work as a court reporter?
While the CSR designation is neither mandatory nor required in Ontario, certifications are a mark of professional development and demonstrate a commitment to standards. Prospective employers will often look to certifications as an indication of an individual’s sincerity to strive to achieve goals and surpass expectations as well as to determine whether or not a reporter is likely to be able to handle the more difficult assignments. It is important to note that a CSR is mandatory to participate as a full member of the CSRAO.
What are the various categories of membership in the CSRAO?
- an Associate – any shorthand reporter who has been such for a period of six months;
- an Affiliate – any transcript typist or scopist, any principal, teacher or student of shorthand reporting in an approved school, managerial staff of a firm employing shorthand reporters, or computer-aided transcription vendors resident in Canada, upon endorsement of a Fellow and the approval of Council; and
- a Fellow – any shorthand reporter who has had at least three years’ practical reporting experience, and who:
- passes the prescribed examination to become a Fellow and whose application is favourably voted on by at least five members of the Board of Fellows; or
- produces evidence of having passed an examination mentioned in (i) above which is declared to be satisfactory by a two-thirds vote of all the members of the Board of Fellows.
What is the CSR exam and how do I register? NOTE: This examination is in abeyance pending approval at the October 2013 Annual General Meeting of a new format.
The CSR certification is changing as of 2014. Please see our Certification page for further details on the new RPR standard in Ontario.
What are the job prospects for reporting?
There is always room for talented, skilled and service-oriented court reporters, CART providers or broadcast captioners. The work can be varied and offer many opportunities. Many highly skilled reporters in Ontario have had assignments overseas and worked at many levels in the legal system, hearings, quasi-legal tribunals, meetings, legislatures and committees. Broadcast captioners provide captioning for live news, sports and entertainment shows. CART providers can work with hard-of-hearing clients either one-on-one or in group settings or from home through internet broadcasts. The Senate of Canada is another area of reporting for highly skilled real-time reporters that appeals to those with an interest in politics.
What are the essential qualities of a court reporter or captioner?
- Strong English skills (grammar, sentence structure, spelling and punctuation)
- Good general knowledge of the world around you for context (read newspapers, magazines, books – be informed!)
- Professionalism – dress appropriately for assignments, act with the highest degree of decorum, be early for everything and meet or preferably exceed expectations for deadlines or service delivery
- Be flexible – things are constantly changing in the court reporting world and you need to be flexible with your schedule and your ability to work odd hours to either report or prepare transcripts
- Keep your tools up-to-date – having the latest software and writers are essential to being able to provide the best possible service
- Attend continuing education opportunities – this is a great way to network and meet other reporters and firm owners, and as well to ensure that you are always growing your knowledge base as a professional
- Get certified – show your commitment to your profession as well as confirming to the public at large that you have been independently assessed and accredited