Employment of court reporters is expected to grow by 14 percent from 2010 to 2020, as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for court reporter services will be influenced by new federal legislation requiring increased captioning for the Internet and other technologies.
Reporters will increasingly be needed for captioning outside of legal proceedings. All new television programming will continue to need closed captioning, while broadcasters are adding closed captioning to their online programming in order to comply with new federal regulations.
Growth of the elderly population will also increase demand for court reporters who provide Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) services and can accompany their clients to doctor’s appointments, town hall meetings, and religious services. In addition, movie theaters and sports stadiums will provide closed captioning for disabled customers.
Employment growth may be negatively affected by the increased use of digital audio recording technology (DART). Some states have already replaced court reporters with this technology, while some others are currently assessing the reliability, accuracy, and costs associated with installing and maintaining recorders.
Even with the increased use of DART, however, court reporters will still be needed to verify, check, and supervise the production of the transcripts after the proceedings have been digitally recorded. Despite the cost-savings that may be associated with DART, some state and federal courts may still prefer the quality provided by highly-trained court reporters.
Job prospects for graduates of court reporting programs are expected to be very good. Many training programs report that nearly all graduates are able to find jobs. Those with experience and training in CART and real-time captioning will have the best job prospects.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition