To become a court reporter in Ontario, one must complete certifications and courses after high school that specifically focus on court reporting. The good news for you is that these courses shouldn’t take more than 4 years to complete. Schools across Canada offer both school, and online courses, but it is likely that considering the Covid-19 pandemic, most courses will be held online. This is a good thing, and shouldn’t be taken as a disadvantage. Court reporters trained online will now have a skill that court reporters had to develop over the past 15 months when transitioning to virtual reporting. 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. , The requirements may not be the same for each association; 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 should set a goal to reach a minimum of 225 words per minute. Within two years of studies, you should be able to reach that goal.
.After you complete your schooling, you can find yourself a job and begin collecting a salary. To help you earn a higher salary, you also have the option to become certified. A certified court reporter allows you to charge more because you have the increased skills to do more. Certifications mark professional development and demonstrate your commitment to upholding a certain 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, there are various categories of membership, each of which has its 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 of 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:
- Proficient English skills. You are duplicating what is said and reproducing it for others to use and review. This includes knowledge of grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation;
- Flexibility as a court reporter. Scheduling and locations will constantly change and since there are few set working hours, you may need to spend evenings preparing transcripts or attending your assignments;
- Your tools of the trade. Technology is constantly changing and it is important to try and stay up to date as best as possible with the latest technology;
- 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.
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.