The evolution of technology has greatly impacted our daily lives and the way we do our jobs each day. It has entered nearly every industry with the purpose of optimizing processes and workflows while also streamlining the outcome. For the legal industry, one area where technology is evolving day-to-day operations is in digital court reporting.
Stenography has been the predominant method inside legal proceedings since the 19th century. Still, due to a significant shortage of court reporters, courtrooms are at risk of experiencing significant delays in the cases and the pursuit of justice. Digital court reporting is an evolving viable alternative to stenography.
The high demand for court reporters paired with a dwindling number of professional stenographers makes digital court reporting a fantastic career option for those passionate about the legal system..
What is Causing the Stenographer Shortage?
Simply put, becoming a stenographer is hard! Here are a few challenges that you may face on your way to becoming a stenographer:
Learning Phonetic Shorthand
To become a stenographer, you must learn an entirely new language called the Phonetic Shorthand. As a stenographer trains, they build their own custom dictionary resulting in no universal dialect that all stenographers rely upon. When training, they learn particular writing theories which vary between different schools and stenographers, meaning it is very difficult for you to decode or translate another person’s shorthand when you need to.
Typing Speed and Accuracy
To become a certified stenographer, you will typically have to type at a speed of at least 225 words per minute (WPM) with an accuracy rate of 95% or higher. This can be quite difficult to achieve.
The investment in schooling for stenography is expensive, extensive, and time-consuming. On average, you would require anywhere between 2 to 7 years to complete your certification or course, which can further add to the cost.
High Failure Rate
The courses are approved by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), which is the official certification authority for stenographers. According to them, only 13% of students manage to graduate from their program, so you can understand how difficult it can be to become a stenographer. Even if you manage to invest in your training as a stenographer, there is a very slim chance that you might succeed.
Job Demand and Outlook
Currently, there is a significant shortage of stenographers in the job market, and recent statistics by the Speech to Text Institute (STTI) show that the gap between supply and demand will cross the 10,000 mark by 2023 and essentially double in size in the next ten years. Of course, this also means that even though there were hundreds of thousands of stenographers in the past few decades, that number has fallen steadily.
Right now, the number of stenographers in the U.S. is around 25,000, and it is expected to drop to 23,100 as soon as the next year rolls around. This number will keep decreasing year after year, leaving us with a mere 12,000 to 14,000 by 2033.
Now that you know how difficult it is to become a stenographer, you can understand why fewer people are making it a career path. The NCRA has also stated that there is a major shortage in this field, and as many as 33,000 qualified court reports would be required in the next ten years.
Due to the stenographer shortage, there aren’t enough court reporters, which means that the workload for the existing stenographers has significantly increased. This also means that courts are facing a delay in their proceedings, and cases aren’t being resolved or closed on time.
Job Training for Digital Court Reporters
Due to the climate of this industry, you may be interested in trying your hand at digital court reporting to progress in your career. Let’s have a look at some of the courses and certifications that can help you start your career as a digital court reporter.
Digital Court Reporter (GES2096)
This course is specially designed to help people learn the ins and outs of court reporting and how it is done inside the legal system. It spans a total of 6 months and is suitable for people from all backgrounds and walks of life. It is designed to prepare you for the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) national certification, as well as the Certified Electronic Reporter (CER) exam. These certifications are highly sought after throughout the U.S.
Legal Transcriptionist (GES2095)
This course helps you enter the field of legal transcription, and it prepares you for creating high-quality, court-admissible transcripts on a day-to-day basis. This course is spread out over 80 hours and also has open enrollment. It also prepares you for the AAERT national certification and the Certified Electronic Transcriber (CET) exam.
Digital Court Reporting with Legal Transcription (GES2097)
This course prepares you to become a digital court reporter and legal transcriber, and it can also help you pass the CET and CER exams. Both these exams are taken by the AAERT and are highly in demand. In just six months, you will learn how to create and format an accurate legal transcript and the fundamentals of the U.S. legal system.
Benefits of Certifications for Digital Court Reporters
By getting the relevant certification, you can open yourself up to several benefits, including:
- Gain Credibility: Whether you are applying for a digital court reporter or transcriber position, having the relevant certifications would get you in through the door without much difficulty.
- Reflect Your Commitment: If you are looking to make a career out of court reporting, gaining suitable certifications shows that you value your work and are willing to grow with it.
- Add Weight to Your Resume: AAERT certifications are not only accepted all over the U.S. but also valued, so you will be able to find a suitable position in no time.
- Get Better Pay: These certifications also help you earn a better wage.
- Enjoy Better Job Opportunities: Many court systems and government agencies require certification. By getting certified, you can open up a whole new revenue stream.
With the growing shortage of court reporters, there is no better time to become certified, gain new in-demand skills, and improve your marketability while learning on your time.
If you would like to learn more about ed2go or explore our full course catalog, contact our enrollment team today. Our self-paced, online programs are designed to kick start your career with the training and certifications needed to be successful. We are excited to help you turn your dreams into reality!
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