Have an interest in the law, but don’t have the money nor the time to become a lawyer? There is still a way for you to see the courtroom! Pursuing a career in court reporting can get you there.
To become a court reporter in Ontario, you are required to complete certifications and courses after high school that specifically focus on court reporting, but it will not take you 4 years or more to complete. Different schools in Canada offer online or in class sessions. However, online courses and schools outside of Canada may not be recognized by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). To see a list of schools that are recognized by the NCRA, click here. Other schools outside of Ontario include one in Alberta and one in Quebec. In Alberta, there is the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and in Quebec the L’Ecole de stenographie judiciare du Quebec.
Once you are admitted into a program, you must try to meet or exceed the minimum requirements for becoming a shorthand court reporter. To each association, the requirements may not be the same. For example, the Certified Shorthand Reporters’ Association of Ontario (CSRAO) requires you to be able to produce 200 words per minute, NCRA needs 225 words per minute, and the Senate of Canada requires you to have a minimum of 225 words per minute. You must make your goal to reach a minimum of 225 words per minute, essentially.
With two years of studies you should be able to reach that goal. After you complete your schooling, you must wonder how you can find yourself a job and begin collecting a salary. To help justify earning a higher salary, you also have the option to become certified. A certified court reporter allows you to charge more because you can do more. The most basic association individuals make with certifications is that they mark professional development and demonstrate your commitment to upholding a standard. Employers will value certifications. It would be wise to invest the time and effort in becoming certified, as it will only benefit you in the long run.
Within the CSRAO for example, there are various categories of membership, each of which have their own definition or requirements:
Associate: must be a shorthand reporter for six months
Affiliate: transcript typist, 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
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.
To see their exam process and how to register, view their certification page for more details.
To become a successful court reporter there are certain qualities that are very valuable to possess. These are not limited to, but include:
- Your English skills, seeing as you are duplicating what is said and reproducing it for others to use and review. This includes grammar, sentence structure, spelling and punctuation.
- Flexibility as a court reporter is the next quality. Scheduling and locations will constantly change and there are not really any set working hours, as you may need to spend evenings preparing transcripts or attending your assignments.
- Your tools of the trade. Technology is now constantly changing and it is important to try and stay up to date as best as possible with the latest tech.
- Growing your knowledge
- being professional
- Getting certified
All of these are among the top qualities that employers seek in a court reporter. You are your brand.
Lastly, there is the question of salary. Depending on your qualifications, certifications, and experience your salary and increase significantly. From a report on salary.com, a court reporter’s salary in Ontario (as of February 22, 2017) can range between $40,869 – $74,138 with the median annual salary of $56,643. Of course, there are individuals that are making less than the $40,869 that the survey has collected, but it is a very small percentage. If you are looking to find a job and not put in the amount of time that is required for a four year degree, becoming a court reporter may be the right path for you. On The Record Court Reporting is also actively looking for certified court reporters to join their team, please visit their careers page for more information.
For more information on becoming a court reporter, please take a look at our previous blog.
At On The Record Court Reporting we offer a very friendly, safe, and quiet environment to conduct your business. Whether it is a meeting or mediation, we are here to help make it as stress free as possible. If you are in need of a boardroom, please visit our website to book one today. We also have optional catering available upon request.