Last week the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) led the 2016 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week from February 14th-20th. This was the fourth time the NCRA spearheaded the event, and according to NCRA officials it was also the most celebrated year to date, with seventeen states hosting awareness activities across the country. One of the many talking points of the week addressed the growing demand for court reporters. NCRA President Steve Zinone in particular publicized the abundant job opportunities available for captioners, freelance reporters, and CART providers.
In fact, an estimated 5,000 court reporters are projected to enter retirement in the next five years. Meanwhile the younger generation is expressing little interest in pursuing careers as court reporters, in part because technological advancements in transcription has suggested court reporting is quickly becoming an antiquated practice. Even though some courtrooms are switching to digital recordings, studies conducted by the NCRA in 2013 indicate that the demand will continue to exceed the supply of court reporters across the country.
Veteran court reporter, Chrisitine Phipps, recently echoed NCRA’s prediction to CBS station WPEC by stating, “If you look back at our industry five years ago, you did not see captioning of all proceedings. Now not only do we have jobs available in court systems and depositions and hearings and things going on all across the country, we have meetings like with Microsoft and close captioning opportunities.” Court reporters, it seems, may no longer be confined to courtroom settings.
During the last week’s National Court Reporting & Captioning event speakers attempted to attract more students to the profession by reminding them that court reporters could achieve an almost six-figure salary without the hassle of a four-year degree. In 2014, the United States Department of Labor found that court reporters in the top ten earning percentile were given an average annual salary of $94,140.