Court Reporter or Simultaneous Captioner

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Job Outlook:
As fast as average
Education: Postsecondary nondegree award
High: $116,380.00
Average: $70,290.00
Average: $33.79

What they do:

Use verbatim methods and equipment to capture, store, retrieve, and transcribe pretrial and trial proceedings or other information. Includes stenocaptioners who operate computerized stenographic captioning equipment to provide captions of live or prerecorded broadcasts for hearing-impaired viewers.

On the job, you would:

  • Record verbatim proceedings of courts, legislative assemblies, committee meetings, and other proceedings, using computerized recording equipment, electronic stenograph machines, or stenomasks.
  • Proofread transcripts for correct spelling of words.
  • Ask speakers to clarify inaudible statements.

Important Qualities

Concentration. Court reporters and simultaneous captioners must be able to focus for long periods so that they remain attentive to the dialogue they are recording.

Detail oriented. Court reporters and simultaneous captioners must produce error-free work because they create transcripts that serve as legal records.

Listening skills. Court reporters and simultaneous captioners must give their full attention to speakers and capture every word that is said.

Writing skills. Court reporters and simultaneous captioners need a good command of grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

99% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
99% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
94% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
94% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
94% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
91% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
90% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
86% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
85% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
84% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
83% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
67% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
66% Innovation  -  Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
A3 Your Strengths Importance


89% Conventional  -  Work involves following procedures and regulations to organize information or data, typically in a business setting. Conventional occupations are often associated with office work, accounting, mathematics/statistics, information technology, finance, or human resources.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

78% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
78% Speech Recognition  -  The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
75% Written Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
72% Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
72% Near Vision  -  The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
72% Written Comprehension  -  The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
69% Selective Attention  -  The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

Job Details

Proofread documents, records, or other files to ensure accuracy.
Process forensic or legal evidence in accordance with procedures.
Prepare legal documents.
Type documents.
Record information from legal proceedings.
Provide information to the general public.
Record information from legal proceedings.
Record information from legal proceedings.
File documents or records.
Maintain the order of legal documents.
Confer with court staff to clarify information.
Record information from legal proceedings.
Verify accuracy of records.
Review documents or materials for compliance with policies or regulations.
Enter information into databases or software programs.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

99% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
96% Indoors, Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
95% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
95% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
95% Spend Time Sitting  -  How much does this job require sitting?
91% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
87% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
86% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
85% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
85% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
82% Deal With External Customers  -  How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
80% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
78% Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls  -  How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
71% Importance of Repeating Same Tasks  -  How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
69% Letters and Memos  -  How often does the job require written letters and memos?
68% Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions  -  How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

94% Documenting/Recording Information  -  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
91% Working with Computers  -  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
81% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
80% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
72% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
71% Processing Information  -  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
69% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

What Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners Do

Court reporters
Court reporters provide an accurate description of court proceedings.

Court reporters create word-for-word transcriptions at trials, depositions, administrative hearings, and other legal proceedings. Simultaneous captioners provide similar transcriptions for television or for presentations in other settings, such as press conferences and business meetings, for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.


Court reporters and simultaneous captioners typically do the following:

  • Attend depositions, hearings, proceedings, and other events that require verbatim transcripts
  • Capture spoken dialogue with special equipment, such as stenography machines and digital recording devices
  • Report speakers' identification, gestures, and actions
  • Read or play back portions of events or legal proceedings upon request
  • Ask speakers to clarify inaudible statements or testimony
  • Review notes they have taken, including the spelling of names and technical terminology
  • Provide copies of transcripts and recordings to the parties involved
  • Transcribe television or movie dialogue for the benefit of viewers
  • Provide real-time transcription of presentations in public forums for people who are deaf or hard of hearing

Court reporters have a critical role in legal proceedings, which require an exact record of what occurred. These workers are responsible for producing a complete, accurate, and secure transcript of depositions, trials, and other legal proceedings. The official record allows judges and lawyers to efficiently search for important information contained in the transcript. Court reporters also index and catalog exhibits used during legal proceedings.

Simultaneous captioners primarily serve people who are deaf or hard of hearing by transcribing speech to text as the speech occurs. They typically work in settings other than courtrooms or law offices.

The following are examples of types of simultaneous captioners:

Broadcast captioners provide transcriptions for television programs (called closed captions). They capture dialogue for displaying to television viewers, primarily those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Some broadcast captioners may transcribe dialogue in real time during broadcasts; others caption during the program’s postproduction.

Communication access real-time translation (CART) providers work primarily with people who are deaf or hard of hearing during meetings, doctors’ appointments, and other situations requiring real-time transcription. For example, CART providers may caption the dialogue of college classes and present an immediate transcript to students who are learning English as a second language.

Although some simultaneous captioners accompany their clients to events, many broadcast captioners and CART providers do not. Establishing remote access allows these workers to hear and type dialogue without having to be physically present in the room.

Court reporters and simultaneous captioners turn dialogue into text for a variety of audiences. For information about workers who convey dialogue through sign language, cued speech, or other means to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, see the profile on interpreters and translators.

Court reporters and simultaneous captioners use different methods for recording speech, such as stenotype machines, steno masks, and digital recording devices.

Stenotype machines work like keyboards but create words through key combinations rather than single characters, allowing court reporters to keep up with fast-moving dialogue.

With steno masks, court reporters and simultaneous captioners speak directly into a covered microphone to record dialogue and to describe gestures and actions. Because the microphone is covered, others cannot hear what the reporter or captioner is saying.

Digital recording devices create an audio or video file rather than a written transcript. In addition to recording dialogue, court reporters and simultaneous captioners who use this equipment also take notes to identify the speakers and provide context for the recording. In some cases, they use the audio recording to create a written transcript.

Work Environment

Court reporters and simultaneous captioners held about 21,300 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of court reporters and simultaneous captioners were as follows:

Self-employed workers 31%
Business support services 23
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 22
State government, excluding education and hospitals 19

Most court reporters work in courts or legislatures. Many are self-employed (freelance) reporters who are hired by law firms or corporations for pretrial depositions and other events on an as-needed basis.

Some court reporters and simultaneous captioners travel to other locations, such as meeting sites or public events. Simultaneous captioners may work remotely from either their home or a central office.

Because of the speed and accuracy required to capture a verbatim record and the time-sensitive nature of legal proceedings, court reporting positions may be stressful.

Work Schedules

Court reporters and simultaneous captioners who work in a legal setting or office typically work full time recording events and preparing transcripts. Freelance reporters often have more flexibility in their work schedules.

Getting Started

Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)
Associate's Degree (or other 2-year degree)

How to Become a Court Reporter or Simultaneous Captioner

Court reporters
Court reporters must give their full attention to the speaker and capture every word that is said.

Many community colleges and technical institutes offer postsecondary certificate programs for court reporters and simultaneous captioners. These workers typically on-the-job training; the length of training varies by type of reporting or captioning. Many states require court reporters and simultaneous captioners to have a state license or a certification from a professional association.


Many court reporters and simultaneous captioners attend programs at community colleges or technical institutes that lead to either a certificate or an associate’s degree. Either credential qualifies applicants for many entry-level positions. Certification programs prepare students to pass the licensing exams and typing-speed tests required by most states and employers.

Most court reporting programs include courses in English grammar and phonetics, legal procedures, and legal terminology. Students also practice preparing transcripts to improve the speed and accuracy of their work.

Some schools also offer training in the use of different transcription equipment, such as stenotype machines or steno masks.

Completing a court reporting program typically takes 2 or 3 years.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many states require court reporters and simultaneous captioners to be licensed or certified by a professional association. Licensing requirements vary by state and by method of reporting or captioning.

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) offers certification for court reporters and simultaneous captioners. Currently, about half of states accept or use the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification in place of a state certification or licensing exam.

Digital and voice reporters may obtain certification through the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT), which offers the Certified Electronic Reporter (CER) and Certified Electronic Transcriber (CET) designations.

Voice reporters also may obtain certification through the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA). As with the RPR designation, some states with certification or licensing requirements accept the NVRA designation in place of a state license.

Certification through the NCRA, AAERT, and NVRA all require the successful completion of a written test, as well as a skills test in which applicants must type, record, or transcribe a minimum number of words per minute with a high level of accuracy.

In addition, all associations require court reporters and simultaneous captioners to obtain a certain amount of continuing education credits in order to renew their certification.

For more information on certification, exams, and continuing education requirements, visit the specific association’s website. State licensing and continuing education requirements are available on the state association’s or state judicial agency's website.


After completing their formal program, court reporters and simultaneous captioners must undergo on-the-job training. The length of training varies by type of reporting or captioning but typically includes training on the specific equipment and technical terminology that may be used during complex medical or legal proceedings.

Job Outlook

Employment of court reporters and simultaneous captioners is projected to grow 3 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 2,100 openings for court reporters and simultaneous captioners are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Court reporters will continue to be needed to create detailed, accurate records of legal proceedings. However, state and local government budgets may affect the employment of court reporters because judicial budgets are contingent on available funds.

Demand for simultaneous captioners will be influenced by federal regulations requiring an expanded use of captioning for television, the internet, and other technologies. New television programming will continue to need closed captioning, and networks will likely expand their use of broadcast captioners to comply with federal regulations.

An increase in the number of older people, a group that may experience hearing loss, also will spur demand for simultaneous captioners who provide communication access real-time translation (CART) or who accompany clients to proceedings such as doctor appointments, town hall meetings, or religious services. In addition, movie theaters and sports stadiums will provide closed captioning for attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Contacts for More Information

For more information on becoming a court reporter or simultaneous captioner, including information on training programs and certification as a Registered Professional Reporter, visit

National Court Reporters Association

For more information on certification and legal resources, as well as becoming an electronic or digital reporter, visit

American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers

For more information on voice writing and certification, visit

National Verbatim Reporters Association

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of court reporters and simultaneous captioners.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Interpreters and translators Interpreters and Translators

Interpreters and translators convert information from one language into another language.

Bachelor's degree $53,640
Medical transcriptionists Medical Transcriptionists

Medical transcriptionists use electronic devices to convert voice recordings from physicians and other healthcare workers into formal reports.

Postsecondary nondegree award $34,730

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.