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Stenographer Job Description, Career as a Stenographer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Associate’s Degree

Average Salary: $34,400 Annually

Job Outlook: Good

Job Description

Stenographers are court reporters in the fundamental sense. They work to capture all of the legal proceedings in a very accurate way. This may sound like a simple task initially, but it involves a great deal of hard work, special tools, and a great attention to detail which the stenographer must possess. Most often, stenographers work in an actual courtroom and that is where most people are accustomed to seeing them appear. They work to capture all of the words exchanged during court proceedings and record them in the most appropriate manner.

Though they spend most of their time in the courtroom, they may also work in other capacities. They may be involved in special events, meetings, or any other venue where capturing accurate legal proceedings is important. They generally work for an individual or a large group and help them with whatever recording that they may need. They work through a variety of different tools and methods to capture what the people are saying, and therefore must be able to focus in on the events at hand.

There are several recording tools that may be used by a stenographer. There is a special mask that they can use to capture the words, as well as several tools that allow them to quickly and accurately transcribe the words. A big part of the responsibility of a stenographer is to learn and become familiar with these tools and any new methods that they may use. They may be involved in research or training as they work to perfect their job and responsibilities through these methods.

Stenographers are also involved in helping attorneys or other legal professionals to get the information that they need. They are considered the gatekeeper and the subject matter expert on the court proceedings that they capture, and therefore are often looked to by others in the legal community when necessary. A big part of the job is taking their work and putting it into a format that others can readily understand and utilize as well.

Education and Training Requirements

Though many stenographers do possess a bachelor’s degree, you will most commonly see an associate’s degree as a qualification. There are many different community colleges, special training courses, and universities alike that offer stenographer courses. Though some may go for a four year degree, it is most common that stenographers take the necessary training courses and perhaps earn a certification or an associate’s degree when all is said and done. There is a need for ongoing education within this profession as new tools or methods for recording come available. As they are a part of the legal community where accuracy is key, the necessity for ongoing training is definitely possible.

Getting the Job

One of the best ways to get the job initially is to show a great aptitude for the tools used by a stenographer. Initially an employer and a court want to see that the stenographer can work under pressure to capture all of the lengthy detail that comes up in court proceedings. Once that accuracy and attention to detail has been proven, then it will be necessary to build up great experience working in this role. As a stenographer moves forward with their career, experience working within a variety of different environments and court proceedings will become exponentially important. That’s what will help stenographers to get the job moving forward.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

The growth for a stenographer is expected to grow at a fairly steadily rate moving forward. This is a job that is demand because there are always courtroom proceedings going on. As a matter of fact, there may be more instances of crime in tough financial times than any other time, and therefore the need for this job becomes even more prevalent. Though there is a good amount of competition for jobs, stenographers that are good at what they do and who have a good reputation can expect to enjoy a lengthy career. This is typically not a job for which there is high turnover, as stenographers tend to stay in their same position for years. However there is the potential for new job positions to open up based on needs. Those entering the field or wishing to find a job elsewhere should be able to find opportunities out there.

Working Conditions and Environment

There can be a good amount of stress involved in this job. As accuracy and attention to detail is very important, stenographers have to always be focused and on top of their game. Just one slip up or omission of detail can be a big deal, and therefore a stenographer has to be aware of everything that goes on around them. Their transcriptions will become very important at a later date, and it’s important that they keep tuned in and capture everything, which can be stressful at times. Generally you will find a stenographer in a courtroom, but they may be present in other venues as necessary. They typically have a small office where they can put their recordings to the right format, and where they can field any questions or help others to get the information that they need.

Salary and Benefits

A stenographer generally earns about $34,400 per year. The salary earned depends heavily on the geographical location that they work within, as well as the level of experience that they bring to the job. The responsibilities that they hold may also factor into the salary earned, and so the range can be rather wide based on all of these things. Typically a stenographer earns the standard benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and perhaps may qualify for tuition reimbursement and a retirement account.

Where to Go for More Information

National Court Reporters Association
8224 Old Courthouse Rd.
Vienna, VA 22182

American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers
2900 Fairhope Road
Wilmington, DE 19810

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service