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Stenographer Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

A stenographer is a type of court reporter who uses a specialized machine called a stenotype machine to record live court proceedings. These professionals work in courtrooms recording the dialogue of court hearings and trials. Their edited transcriptions become part of court records.

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How to Select a Stenographer School

Aspiring stenographers can enroll in court reporter programs offered by community colleges, vocational schools and online court reporting schools.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Amount of stenography training
  • Certification requirements
  • Internship opportunities
  • Graduate placement rate
  • Online options

Amount of Stenography Training

Because it is a type of court reporting, stenography is not typically offered as a separate certificate or degree program. Instead, training in the field is included in court reporting programs. Individuals interested in stenography should consider attending a program that contains multiple courses in stenography, training on using a stenotype machine and internships specifically focusing on stenography. These programs will provide students with a full introduction to and training in the field, which may make it more likely that program graduates will find employment specifically as a stenographer.

Certification Requirements

When selecting a program, students should consider attending one with a curriculum that conforms to the certification standards set by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). Graduating from one of these programs may make it easier to pass certification exams, which may increase employment opportunities.

Internship Opportunities

Internships are important to aspiring stenographers because they provide experience working in the field and networking opportunities with attorneys, court employees and other court reporters. Schools offering internship opportunities may make finding employment after graduation easier.

Graduate Placement Rate

Another consideration when selecting a stenography school is the school's placement rate and whether it assists graduates with finding employment. Graduating from a school with a high placement rate may mean that an individual's job search after completing a program will be short. Receiving assistance in finding a job may even further reduce the time between graduation and employment.

Online Options

Finally, students should consider whether all or part of a program is available online. Some schools offer fully online programs while others make specific courses available over the Internet. This may make it easier to for working individuals to complete a program.

Stenographer Program Overviews

Certificate of Completion

A certificate program in court reporting may take two years to complete. Many programs include speed and accuracy examinations and prepare students to take NCRA certification exams to become a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), the basic professional level of stenographer. Students may also be required to complete internships to gain practical experience. Courses in these programs include:

  • Machine shorthand
  • Question and answer transcription
  • Speed building

Associate's Degree Programs

An associate's degree program in court reporting prepares students for certification exams. Some programs require students to complete an internship in addition to general education courses and core requirements. These programs include courses in topics like:

  • Machine shorthand theory
  • Court transcription
  • Question and answer reporting
  • Business law
  • Jury charge
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