Online Stenography Schools: How to Choose

Instruction in stenography can be obtained through online programs in court reporting. Besides working as court reporters, stenography students also find jobs as medical transcriptionists, freelance reporters, closed caption reporters for the hearing-impaired and publishing transcriptionists.

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How to Choose an Online Stenography School

A few community colleges offer programs in stenography, as do online for- and non-profit schools. Both associate's degrees and shorter certificate programs are available in online format.

Considerations

  • Career objectives
  • Internships
  • Program delivery
  • Job placement
  • Certification

Career Objectives

Stenography training can lead to different professions. Students who wish to pursue a degree or training for a state-specific licensing exam in court reporting will need to attend an accredited court-reporting program that meets state requirements.

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 actually be more applicable than courtroom-focused programs.

Internships

Students may also want to look for schools that offer internship programs. Internships help students acquire hands-on courtroom experience.

Program Delivery

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 either need to attend certain activities at specific times or have the option to complete some coursework on their schedules. Study materials can include textbooks, audio-visual aids and computer software programs.

Job Placement

Students should explore the job placement departments of the schools in which they intend to enroll. Many online schools employ job placement professionals, while others merely feature help-wanted advertisements on their websites. Students should talk over their options with a placement counselor before entering a stenography program.

Certification

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 or use the NCRA certification exam instead of their own exam (www.ncraonline.org).

Some states 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

Certificate programs typically require a specified number of hours focused on coursework and a specific amount of time spent transcribing. 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. Coursework includes:

  • Courtroom procedures
  • Terminology
  • Shorthand techniques
  • Transcription speed skills
  • English

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 can include:

  • Composition
  • Grammar
  • Court reporter regulations
  • Psychology
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