There are as many as 32,000 court reporters currently working across the country. That seems like a large number and while most areas are covered, there are a few shortages. None are like what we could experience nationwide; in a few years more than 5,000 are set to retire leaving a court reporter shortage. The demand for our profession is set to outweigh the supply. For court reporters, it could mean an increase in pay to keep experienced professionals working to cover the backlog of depositions and transcriptions, but we can’t cover for a long period of time.
Other factors contributing to the shortage are the fact that we’re an older demographic. The average age of a court reporter is about 53 years old, ten years older than the average American worker. And we’re not doing enough to promote younger people to the field.
Some believe the evolution of technology in the courtroom will ease the court reporter shortage but the fact remains that digital recordings aren’t as advanced as we’d like. If two people are talking over each other in a courtroom, speaking too fast or not loud enough, the transcript will not be inaccurate. A trained reporter is still needed to fix errors to create an accurate account of court proceedings.
There’s no replacing humans as part of the process, at least not yet. Even if technology develops to the point that we’re not needed in the courtroom (and we doubt it will go this far), there are opportunities outside the courtroom. Businesses are requesting us for work on transcribing webinars, seminars, and videos so they can re-purpose content to blogs, books, and downloadable documents. The field is growing and pay is increasing.
As an industry we’ve got to be communicating the benefits of being a court reporter. There’s no need for a four year degree and salaries start at an average of $43,000 per year. With experience, professionals can make six figures, work from home, and make their own schedules. It’s a great opportunity for a detail oriented person who wants to create their own career path.
We’ve got to communicate the importance of court reporters before it’s too late.
If you’re in need of a court reporter, please contact us today!