The Guardian

College of Court Reporting est. 1984

March 2018

York County court reporter wants more people to have her job

By Maria Yohn

It's National Court Reporting and Captioning Week, but across the nation, there are fewer court reporters to celebrate it.

Established by the National Court Reporters Association in 2013 and held annually during the week of Feb. 14 to 20, it is dedicated to celebrating the work that court reporters, also known as court stenographers, do and their indispensability to the legal profession.

However, the association is facing an uphill struggle as educational institutions rapidly eliminate court-reporting programs because of lack of interest, and courts around the country delay important proceedings because of their inability to find a court reporter.

York County: York County chief court reporter Christine Myers is well aware of the looming dearth of court reporters in the legal system, but she says that York County, which currently employs 19 full-time court reporters, has not been affected at this point.

"We have a couple of really good freelancers that we can call upon to help out when there are vacations, a death in the family, etc," she said.

However, she predicts changes in the next few years as two or three official court reporters are expected to retire along with several court reporters she knows in the freelance world. Meanwhile, the county's 14 judges will continue to be very busy on the bench.

"There will be plenty of jobs in this area, but there is also a growing need across Pennsylvania and into Maryland," she said.

Effects: A report commissioned by the National Court Reporters Association in 2014 predicted that an estimated 5,500 new court reporter jobs would be available by 2018 in the United States and that demand for court reporters would likely exceed the supply. Myers said that the position of court reporter was recently listed in Forbes Magazine's list of top 20 jobs to get.

According to the NCRA, criminal proceedings are already being delayed in certain states because of the court-reporting shortage. The NCRA reports that the future of the profession looks even more dire as enrollment and graduation rates continue their free fall and court reporting schools close as a result.

Further exacerbating the situation is the fact that the population of court reporters is aging, as 70 percent of court reporters are now 46 years of age or older.

Myers has personally noticed the changes that have occurred over the past 10 to 15 years in her field, and she noted that far fewer schools are available that offer court reporting programs.

Myers experienced the frustration personally when she became involved in a court reporting program at HACC started by court reporter Annette DeWald, who retired in 2016. The program lasted from 2004 until 2012 but was discontinued because of the lack of enrollment.

Many students take online classes, and they can find them through the National Court Reporters Association website,, she said. If a student chooses to pursue an online program, she recommends finding a mentor by contacting local court reporters.

One cause: Myers attributes the court-reporter shortage to a variety of causes, but one of the most prominent is its lack of recognition in high school guidance offices. High school counselors have been encouraging students to pursue four-year degrees, she said, but not making them aware of potential careers that require only two-year degrees, such as court reporting.

"I think that's a huge part of it. They're just not emphasizing that," she said.

How to become a court reporter: According to Myers, those who are interested in pursuing a career in court reporting must enroll in a program, which lasts from 18 months to two years.

The first six months of the program usually involve learning how to write shorthand, and Myers emphasized that all court reporters must write verbatim and phonetically, which requires them to divorce themselves from traditional spelling when covering a proceeding.

After learning shorthand, the emphasis shifts to improving speed, she said.

It also behooves students to learn medical and criminal terminology, as they will be hearing those words in the courtroom, and when studying for an associate's degree, classes in criminal justice and forensics can help.

In order to graduate, students must pass an exam in which they take dictation at least 225 words a minute for question-and-answer sessions for five minutes.

The second portion of the test is called the literary section, and the student must take dictation at 180 word per minute for five minutes. The literary section tests the student's ability to correctly report speeches.

All portions of the test must be passed with 95 percent or above accuracy, she said.

Many counties recommend that court reporters be certified through the National Court Reporters Association. According to Myers, York County highly recommends it but does not require it.

Opportunities: After graduation, the prospective court reporter has a few options, Myers said.

Some might choose the official route by applying at a courthouse, and after they are hired, they will be assigned to a courtroom. Official court reporters usually start at $40,000 to $50,000 per year, she said, and have the advantage of set hours, job stability and medical benefits.

However, many court reporters choose freelancing, as it offers a more flexible schedule, more travel and the prospect of earning as much money as they are willing to work for, she said. The downside is that there are no benefits, but freelancing is ideal for individuals who wish to spend more time with their families.

According to Myers, it's possible to work two days a week and earn a healthy income, while she knows some court reporters who are ambitious enough to bring in six-figure salaries.

Technology: Technology has had a massive impact on the court-reporting field as court reporters can now hook into a laptop, run their transcript through the court internet system and have it arrive at the judge's office with only a three-second delay.

It also has expanded opportunities in real-time translation for the hearing-impaired, a service that court reporters have used in the York County courthouse.

Myers cited one case where she offered the service during a divorce hearing for a woman who had lost her hearing. Myers transcribed the proceedings in real time for the woman so she knew exactly what everyone was saying as they were saying it.

"It was a tremendous help for her," she said.

Myers said that, although many people don't make the association, court reporters can do closed-captioning, often for news and TV shows, and some do so either as a full-time career or for extra money on the side.

Usually, four hours of the eight-hour day are actually spent taking dictation while the other four hours are used for research to ensure names and locations are correct.

Spreading the word: Myers said that court reporting remains mysterious to the

public, as they are mainly seen as the individuals situated near the judge and typing at breakneck speed. She wants adults and particularly students who have not settled on a career to know that court reporting offers a high salary and only requires a two-year degree.

"Many students graduate from college with a four-year degree and don't make the same amount of money or can't get a job," she said.


Welcome to The Guardian version of the Job Drawer! Each month we'll highlight some jobs that are currently advertising vacancies while taking special note in our "Indiana Spotlight" of Indiana court reporting agencies, courts, captioning services, or CART providers that are interested in hiring.

Indiana Spotlight: Indiana Task Force on Public Defense

The Indiana Task Force on Public Defense requires transcription of the testimony from upcoming community forums to be conducted around the State. Applicants may apply to transcribe one or multiple events, depending on ability to travel. These events would require in-person attendance but would not require simultaneous transcription (realtime). Pay is dependent on experience but begins at $30/hour.

The dates and locations are as follows:

1/26 – Indianapolis

2/9 – Indianapolis

2/15 – Fort Wayne

3/20 – Evansville

3/22 – Jeffersonville

3/27 – Valparaiso

Hires will be considered contractors with the State of Indiana and will be paid with a W-9. Applicants must not be current state employees. For more information please contact Kathleen Casey at or at 317-650-8043.

PLEASE NOTE: Many Indiana agencies are looking to hire court reporters! Contact Natalie Kijurna at if you have any questions or want more information.

  • Freelance Reporters, Lake Cook Reporting, Chicago, IL

Please see Facebook post below:

Carla Peterson Letellier

22 January at 12:39

We're looking to hire 1 or 2 experienced full-time court reporters in the Chicago area. We have two offices, one downtown, and our headquarters is located in the northwest suburbs 20 minutes north of O'Hare Airport. The work is good. We'll even consider relocating the right candidate. Illinois requires a CSR license or RPR. Please call (847) 236-0773 for more information, or visit our Thanks!

  • Freelance Reporters, Network Reporting, various, MI

Please click here for more information.

  • Federal Court Reporters, Federal Courts, various USA

Please click here for more information.

  • Official Court Reporters, Illinois State Courts, various, IL

Please click here for more information.

  • Offiicial Court Reporters, Minnesota Judicial Branch, various, MN

Please click here for more information and also here.

  • Official Court Reporter, Court of Common Pleas, Indiana, PA

Please click here for more information.

  • Official Court Reporter, S.C. Judicial Department, Columbia, SC

Please click here for more information.

  • Court Reporter II, Colorado Judicial Branch, Greeley, CO

Please click here for more information.

  • Realtime Court Reporter, Superior Court of Delaware, Wilmington, DE

Please click here for more information.

  • Official Court Reporter - Resident, Superior Court, Durham County, NC

Please click here for more information.

  • Court Reporter, Hawaii State Judiciary, Island of Hawaii and Oahu

Please click here for more information.

  • Legal Transcriptionist, Kelsey Transcripts, remote

Please click here for more information.

  • Court Reporter, Superior Court of Dekalb County, Dekalb County, GA

Please click here for more information.

  • Official Court Reporter, Judiciary of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas/St. John District, U.S.V.I

Please click here for more information.

  • Realtime Captioners, Innocaption, remote

InnoCaption is growing! We are now opening contracting hours and looking for Independent Contractor Real-Time Captioners.

In order to contract with InnoCaption, contractors must:

  • Must use either CaseCat, Eclipse, DigiCat or ProCat Software
  • Be able to do 180WPM with at least 95% accuracy
  • Have a dictionary of at least 50,000 words
  • Must complete speed and accuracy testing
  • Must complete compliance training and technical training
Each stenographer who is contracted with after passing the testing and training requirements will be able to set their own hours, and work remotely.

If you have any colleagues you think may be interested in contracting with us, please feel free to pass along the information.

Individuals interested in contracting should send a resume to

If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.

A judge and his court reporter weigh in on realtime in the courtroom

Last August, NCRA member Julie Hohenstein, an official realtime court reporter for the Hon. Stephen A. Wolaver, Greene County, Ohio, added a Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) to the Register Professional Reporter (RPR) certification she already held. Hohenstein said her judge was so happy with her earning the certification that he offered to be interviewed, along with her, to share thoughts on why realtime is a benefit to have as a skill and in the courtroom.

Why did you decide to pursue the CRR credential?

Hohenstein: Ever since the CRR certification became available, I have wanted to achieve it. I think having the CRR says that I am on the cutting edge of my profession both in technology and skill. I think the CRR designation earns me immediate respect among professionals in the court reporting and legal fields.

I had attempted a couple of times when the CRR was first offered, and then I was discouraged because I didn’t pass it. I always knew I could. After attending the 2016 NCRA Convention in Chicago and participating in the CRR seminar and learning more about how the online testing worked, I decided to go ahead and try again.

I really liked the convenience of being able to take the CRR in a setting that I was quite comfortable and familiar with and on a date that I chose. I especially liked the fact that you can take the CRR up to three times in a given quarter.

What do you think are the benefits of realtime?

Hohenstein: For me as the court reporter, I use realtime to improve my writing skills. I watch my realtime to see areas in which I need to improve on my skills. I think no matter who you are, there is always something that we can do to make our writing better.

For the attorneys, I think the benefits are the ability to see and reread what the witness has just said or had said previously.

We use the iCVNet with iPads in our courtroom, and to have at the attorney’s fingertips the ability to search back through the transcript for certain areas of testimony and mark it and then be able to refer to it is an indispensable tool. Also the ability to search a word or phrase and see every single time it is used and to be able to go to that spot with just a tap of the finger is invaluable.

Judge Wolaver, when you first saw realtime, what was the most exciting part of it for you?

Wolaver: Having the knowledge that I would not miss anything, that I could see testimony immediately, it would aid me in making rulings and also the ability with the iPads to search back through the day’s transcript for any discrepancies in witnesses’ testimony. I find that having the iPads with the realtime gives me the flexibility to take the transcript into chambers to review before I make a final ruling, if necessary.

How often do you use realtime, and who in the court uses it? What is your setup like?

Hohenstein: In our courtroom, I provide realtime to the judge and both plaintiff’s and defendant’s counsel on a daily basis. All parties involved use the realtime whenever they feel the need to. Our courtroom is setup with the judge and both counsel having an iPad to receive the realtime feed via Wi-Fi and ICVnet. There have been many times that I have noticed that the defendants themselves have used my realtime.

Have any attorneys, clerks, or deaf or hard-of-hearing jurors or parties used the realtime feed?

Hohenstein: Yes. I have watched both plaintiff’s and defendant’s counsel use the realtime that I provide. Just recently, we had a trial where a potential juror had a severe hearing loss and tinnitus. The juror could let us know that they could not hear any of the Voir Dire examination that was being conducted, and they were able to follow along with the iPad to complete the Voir Dire process.

We also had a 14-day civil trial where both plaintiff’s and defendant’s counsel wanted realtime and a daily rough copy of the day’s proceedings by the end of the day.

What situations do you think that realtime is especially helpful for?

Hohenstein: I find that in all situations realtime is helpful. Realtime helps me if I mishear something a witness says. I can immediately look at the screen and read it again to confirm what I thought I heard the witness say.

Why do you think that realtime is so important that you wanted Julie recognized for pursuing being certified in it?

Wolaver: Julie goes above and beyond and excels in all aspects of her job duties. She has great dedication and respect for her job and wants to always improve her realtime skills for everyone that comes into our courtroom, and the public we serve should know of her dedication to justice.

At a time when many courts are replacing court reporters with ER systems, I find Julie’s realtime skills to be an invaluable asset for what she brings to my courtroom every day. I can’t imagine not having her here.

What would you say to encourage other court reporters to pursue this certification?

Hohenstein: Have the confidence to try it and achieve it. I never thought I would, but deep down I had the desire to pursue and achieve it. I think the sky’s the limit. Just keep working on your writing skills and keep practicing and you too will achieve it. Not everyone can do what we can do, or everyone would do it. Be proud of what you have accomplished.

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