Employment change. Employment of court reporters is projected to grow 18 percent, faster than the average for all occupations between 2008 and 2018. Demand for court reporter services will be spurred by the continuing need for accurate transcription of proceedings in courts and in pretrial depositions, by the growing need to create captions for live television, and by the need to provide other real-time broadcast captioning and translating services for the deaf and the hard of hearing.

Increasing numbers of civil and criminal cases are expected to create new jobs for court reporters, but budget constraints are expected to limit the ability of Federal, State, and local courts to expand, thereby also limiting the demand for traditional court reporting services in courtrooms and other legal venues. Further, because of the difficulty in attracting court reporters and in controlling costs, some courtrooms have installed tape recorders that are maintained by electronic court reporters and transcribers to record court proceedings. However, because courts use electronic reporters and transcribers only in a limited capacity, traditional stenographic court reporters will continue to be used in felony trials and other proceedings. Despite the use of audiotape and videotape technology, court reporters can quickly turn spoken words into readable, searchable, permanent text, and they will continue to be needed to produce written legal transcripts and proceedings for publication.

Voice writers have become more widely accepted as the accuracy of speech recognition technology improves. Still, many courts allow only stenotypists to perform court reporting duties.

Increasingly, court reporters will be needed for captioning outside of legal proceedings. Not only is there Federal legislation mandating that all new television programming be captioned for the deaf and the hard of hearing, but all new Spanish-language programming likewise must be captioned by 2010. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act gives deaf and hard-of-hearing students in colleges and universities the right to request access to real-time translation in their classes. These factors are expected to continue to increase the demand for court reporters who provide CART services. Although such services forgo transcripts and differ from traditional court reporting, they require the same skills that court reporters learn in their training.

Job prospects. Job opportunities for court reporters are expected to be excellent as job openings continue to outnumber jobseekers in some areas. Court reporters with certification and those who choose to specialize in providing CART, broadcast captioning, or webcasting services should have the best job opportunities. Court reporters who are willing to relocate to rural areas or large cities, where demand for court reporters’ services is very high, should have good job opportunities. The favorable job market also reflects the fact that fewer people are entering this profession, particularly as stenographic typists.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Interpreters and Translators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos175.htm (visited 11th August 2010)

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