If you've just graduated from high school and are intrigued by the working of the legal system and the county courthouse, a career as a court reporter may be a good choice for you. A court reporter is an integral part of the court proceedings and such a career doesn't require the years of post-secondary schooling that a career as a lawyer does. "Forbes" magazine has called court reporting one of the top jobs in America that don't require a college degree.

What a court reporter does

A court reporter transcribes the verbatim testimony at a trial, deposition or other legal proceeding. In a video taped proceeding, court reporters may also be charged with providing the closed captions for hearing-impaired viewers. Court reporters can be employed by city, state or county court systems; state legislatures; individual law firms or employment firms that specialize in providing court reporters. Experienced court reporters can even work as freelancers, offering their services to a variety of clients in both the public and private sectors.

What you can expect to earn as a court reporter

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a court reporter in the United States can expect to make $49,500 per year or approximately $23.80 per hour. This figure will vary somewhat depending on what part of the country you live and work in, whether you work for a public or private employer, your experience and your level of education. There are 20,800 court reporters working in the United States and the BLS estimates that there will around 300 new court reporting jobs created in the next decade. This is a slower than average rate of growth for jobs in the U.S.

Training to be a court reporter

To qualify for a job as a court reporter, an individual needs to have a high school diploma and have completed a court reporting training course. Such courses are offered by community colleges and technical institutes around the United States. This course takes around 24 months to complete and results in a certificate of completion. According to the BLS, some states require court reporters to take a licensing test before beginning their careers.

While a career as a court reporter isn't the right choice for every recent high school graduate, this profession offers something different every day, a good salary and hours, and a chance to be a part of the dynamic and exciting criminal justice system. For more information, check out a company like L & L Reporting Service, Inc.