Online Stenography Schools: How to Choose
Instruction in stenography may be obtained through online programs in court reporting. Besides working as court reporters, stenography students may also find jobs as medical transcriptionists, freelance reporters, closed caption reporters for the hearing-impaired and publishing transcriptionists.
How to Choose an Online Stenography School
Since stenography training can lead to different professions, students should first determine their career objective. If they wish to pursue a degree or training for a state-specific licensing exam in court reporting, they should consider an accredited court reporting program that meets state requirements. Students may also want to look for schools that offer internship programs so they acquire hands-on courtroom experience.
On the other hand, students interested in becoming publishing transcriptionists or medical transcriptionists should look for programs that offer a wider range of courses. Coursework in topics such as legal and medical terminology, anatomy, psychology and speech may help them more than courtroom-focused programs.
Program Delivery Systems
Fully online court reporting programs and hybrid programs are both available for those wishing to acquire stenography skills. Hybrid programs allow students to take some classes online and some classes on-campus. Both types of programs build typing speed and focus on building students skills in grammar and medical terminology or legal terminology.
Online schools utilize learning systems that are high-tech but user-friendly. School websites typically offer virtual classrooms where students can interact with each other, receive instruction, turn in homework and access study materials. Classes may offer synchronous and asynchronous learning activities, where students may need to attend certain activities at specific times or have the option to complete some coursework on their schedules.
Study materials in distance learning stenography programs can vary according to school. Some schools utilize a variety of materials that can include textbooks, audio-visual aids and computer software programs. In order to access online materials, schools often have technology requirements such as a high-speed Internet connection, new versions on specific browsers, a computer with a CD-ROM drive and a graphics card.
Students should explore the job placement departments of the schools in which they intend to enroll. Many online schools have job placement services for students, while others merely feature help wanted advertisements on their website. Determine if the school's job placement specialists will handle your specific employment needs. Talk over your options with a placement counselor before entering a stenography program.
Following graduation from a stenography program, some states require students to take a state certification exam before they can be employed. Many states either require National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) certification for court reporters or use the NCRA certification exam instead of their own exam (www.ncraonline.org).
Some states may require students to attend NCRA-approved education programs before they can be certified, so always check with your state's regulations when considering a stenography program. The NCRA currently administers the registered professional reporter testing in almost half of the states in this country.
List of Online Programs Related to Stenography
Online Court Reporting Certificate Programs
Certificate programs typically require a specified number of hours focused on coursework and a specific amount of time spent transcribing. Coursework can include courtroom procedures, terminology, shorthand techniques, transcription speed skills and English. Some online certificate programs offer credits that are transferable to associate's programs in court reporting for those wishing to further their educations and careers.
Online Associate of Applied Science in Court Reporting
Associate's degree programs offer more in-depth study of court reporting theories and typically take two years to complete. Besides speed building training and terminology, coursework may include physiology, psychology, composition, grammar and court reporter regulations.
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