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Court Reporter Jobs and Training Opportunities in Nebraska

The Nebraska Court Reporters Association (NeCRA) is the state’s primary organization supporting court reporters. It sets standards for the profession, lobbies for the needs of court reporters in Nebraska, provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, posts job opportunities and offers a voluntary certification program.

The steps you need to take to embark on a court reporting career in Nebraska are as Follows:

Graduate from a Court Reporter Program
Participate in the NeCRA Voluntary Certification Program
Find Work as an Official or Freelance Court Reporter in Nebraska
Take Part in Continuing Education in Nebraska

The average annual salaries of court reporters in certain Nebraska cities are listed as:

  • Omaha/Bellevue – $48,879
  • Lincoln-$44,858
  • Fremont – $41,899
  • Norfolk – $38,430
  • Grand Island/Hastings/Kearney – $37,025
  • North Platte – $35,615

 


 

Step 1. Graduate from a Court Reporter School or Program

There are no physical court reporter schools in Nebraska; however, there are a number of reputable online schools that offer an associate’s degree or certificate in court reporting. These institutions provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively serve as a court reporter and pass certification exams consisting of questions related to:

  • Technology in the Courtroom
  • Court Reporting Practices
  • Professional Practices

Expect to spend at least 24 months earning your credentials. A great deal of the time is spent building typing speeds up to those required for transcribing courtroom activities:

  • Literary (180 word per minute speed required)
  • Jury Charges (200 wpm required)
  • Question and Answer Testimony (225 wpm)

Explore Other Education Options Related to Criminal Justice and Legal Studies

Here you’ll find schools that offer certificate and degree programs well suited to a career in legal assisting, law office management and the paralegal profession.


 


 

Step 2. Participate in the NeCRA Voluntary Certification Program

Although the state of Nebraska does not require court reporters to be certified or licensed, the designation of “Certified Court Reporter” (CCR) is highly recommended. Many job announcements for official court reporters state that the applicant “must meet the testing requirements as set out in the Nebraska Supreme Court rules regarding court reporting.” Those rules indicate court reporters must be qualified for National Court Reporter Association (NCRA) certification, best achieved through the NeCRA voluntary certification program. The advantages of being a CCR in Nebraska include:

  • Gives you an edge in an increasingly competitive environment
  • Advances your skills
  • Increases your professional credibility
  • Opens doors to new opportunities

The NeCRA offers regularly scheduled examinations for all levels of NCRA certification, beginning with that of “Registered Professional Reporter.”  The exam includes both written and skills sections. Questions on the written test cover three areas:

  • Technology (22%)
  • Court Reporting Practices (62%)
  • Professional Practices (16%)

A score of 70 percent is needed to pass. The skills test consists of three 75-minute dictations covering the following type of oral material:

  • Literary (180 word per minute speed required)
  • Jury Charges (200 wpm required)
  • Question and Answer Testimony (225 wpm)

NeCRA membership is open to active official and freelance court reporters ($74), court reporter instructors ($40), students ($20) and retired court reporters (no charge).

 


 

Step 3. Work as an Official or Freelance Court Reporter in Nebraska

Official court reporters are found in the courts. It is usually requested that applications be sent directly to the judge of a particular court. Most official court reporters in Nebraska are employed by district or county courts. District courts handle all felony criminal cases and civil cases over $52,000, while county courts deal with misdemeanor cases, traffic violations, small claims, divorces, adoptions, juvenile matters, etc. Open positions and application directions are posted by the NeCRA or you can call NeCRA Placement Chairperson Sondra Petersen at 402/440-5927. You can also contact the administrator of a particular court or courts about employment opportunities. Lists of all Nebraska district and county courts are available online.

Freelance court reporters either work for reporting agencies or on their own. They are needed for depositions, board meetings, hearings, arbitrations and other legal and civil proceedings that require a written record. Employers include but are not limited to:

  • Law firms
  • Non-governmental Agencies
  • Trade Unions
  • Educational Institutions
  • Corporations
  • TV Stations

It is noted that the government predicts that court reporter jobs will increase 14 percent by 2020. Much of this growth will be due to new federal laws mandating that television programs be captioned for the hearing impaired. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) refers to the live captioning of everything that is said. It is one of the most promising specialties for freelance court reporters.

 


 

Step 4. Take Part in Continuing Education in Nebraska

Certified Court Reporters in Nebraska are required to earn three credit hours of continuing education every three years. Continuing education credits can be earned by attending educational seminars or meetings offered by the NeCRA, taking relevant online or in-person classes or participating in educational activities like NVRA’s “Webinars” which feature speakers on important court reporter topics.

 


 

Nebraska Court Reporting Salary

According to Nebraska’s Office of Labor Market Information, the number of legal support workers working in the state is expected to increase 3.8% through 2020.  This occupational category includes court reporters.

Government agencies employ most of the court reporters in the country.  In 2013, an official court reporter for the Nebraska Judicial Branch made from $44,048 to $52,359 a year depending on the applicant’s level of experience.  People in this position can earn additional money from providing transcripts of legal proceedings.

The state’s Supreme Court has designated a set of requirements for people seeking to become official court reporters in Nebraska.  One of them is to pass an exam that examines grammatical and reporting skills.

The skills portion of the test involves using pen, machine shorthand, or a multi-track recorder.  Applicants must be able to take dictation at a minimum of the following speeds if they are using machine shorthand or pen:

  • Literary material:  180 words per minute
  • Jury instructions:  200 words per minute
  • Two-voice testimony:  225 words per minute

Additional sources of employment include the many private firms that hire court reporters and stenographers to contract out their services.  Professionals with specialized knowledge such as knowing medical terminology are in particular demand.  Clients for these firms frequently include the following:

  • Attorneys
  • Businesses that need a verbatim record of proceedings
  • Businesses that need closed captioning

A number of the court reporting firms found in Nebraska include the following:

  • Court Reporters of Omaha
  • JS Wurm & Associates
  • Lehman Reporting Services
  • Matheson, Taulborg, Denney and Schleifef
  • Pell Reporting
  • Petersen Reporting
  • Precision Reporting
  • Quinn’s Quality Reporting Ltd.
  • Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters & Certified Legal Video
  • Weyant Reporting Associates

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