Court Reporter Jobs and Training Opportunities in Florida

As much as everyone loves a good “Florida Man” headline that looks like it was ripped straight from The Onion, it’s not always so funny for the parties to those cases. But as a court reporter, you can get a front row seat to some of the wild legal proceedings the state is known for, including such matters as:

  • A lawsuit against a Coral Gables hospital that, instead of incinerating a man’s amputated leg per procedure, simply tossed it into the dumpster instead… with his personal information still attached.
  • An emotional distress lawsuit brought against a theme park when visiting children saw a costumed character with the costume head removed.
  • Proceedings against a drug addict who caused a fire in a hospital while trying to smoke crack cocaine near an oxygen feed in the ICU.
  • Immigration proceedings in which the defendant attempted to introduce sex tapes of himself and his wife to prove that his marriage was not a sham created only to obtain a green card.

The entertainment alone might make it worth looking for work as a court reporter in Florida, but it’s also true that the state has a lot of openings, coming in third nationally for the highest employment level for court reporters, and salaries that approach six figures for the most experienced and most highly-trained reporters.

Although there is no state-issued license to practice as a court reporter here, the Florida Supreme Court has written legislation regarding the creation of a Certified Court Reporter designation and the formation of a Florida Court Reporter Certification Board. To date, this legislation has not been passed into law.

In the absence of state government-issued certification, the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) has stepped up to offer the Florida Professional Reporters Certification program as a way to vet qualified reporters and confirm they been trained to the level the courts and other employers require.

Follow these steps to become a certified court reporter through the FCRA:

Complete a Formal Court Reporter Program
Pass the Florida Professional Reporters Certification
Get to Work and Maintain your Florida Certification

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Formal Court Reporter Program

A formal education is a necessary component for beginning a career as a court reporter. But the type of education you choose will be largely dependent upon the school through which the court reporter program is offered. For example, community colleges may offer associate degrees in court reporting, while technical schools and dedicated court reporter schools may offer professional certificates or diplomas.

Many programs adhere to the National Court Reporters Association’s (NCRA) General Requirements and Minimum Standards (GRMS), which was established by the Council on Approved Student Education (CASE).

In general, court reporter programs allow students to earn credit hours for court reporting in machine shorthand, pass dictation tests with an accuracy of at least 95 percent, and pass courses in:

  • Communications/language and writing
  • Word processing
  • Medical terminology
  • Foundations of law
  • Court reporting transcript preparation
  • Court reporting procedures
  • Vocabulary and usage
  • Captioning

Programs may also include a comprehensive internship program and preparation for NCRA’s Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification.

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.

Featured Program

International Realtime Court Reporting Institute offers self-paced online programs at all levels, from basic and retraining courses in speech-to-text technology to advanced CAT system training in Eclipse Vox. Get started today.

 


 

Step 2. Pass the Florida Professional Reporters Certification

The Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) has stepped in to offer the Florida Professional Reporters Certification, which, in the absence of state licensing, has become the de facto requirement for working in Florida’s courts. More than 1,000 people have received their Florida Professional Reporters (FPR) Certification since the program was initiated.

The court reporter certification program is achieved by attending the one-day Florida Rules and Ethics Certification Seminar. At the conclusion of the seminar, you will have the opportunity to take the certification exam. A score of 80 percent of better is considered passing, and you will be awarded your Florida Professional Reporter certificate.

Note: You must show proof of the completion of your graduation from a court reporting school to receive the certification.

You can use the FCRA website to register for the exam and to view upcoming exam dates and locations.

 


 

Step 3. Get to Work and Maintain your Florida Certification

Certified Florida court reporters must complete at least 3 continuing education units on December 31 on a triennial basis to maintain their FPR certification. The Florida Court Reporters Association is an excellent resource for achieving continuing education units and for networking with other professional court reporters in Florida.

Membership in the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) may provide you with a wealth of information regarding professional opportunities, networking opportunities, and employment opportunities. The NCRA also provides many continuing education programs and courses for members.

Professional opportunities in court reporting may be achieved either through the Florida’s court system or through private court reporting agencies:


 

Florida Court Reporting Salary

Analysis from the state Department of Economic Opportunity indicate that the number of court reporters in Florida is growing. The state already has over 1,350 reporters, but about 130 positions will be opening up each year through a combination of turnover and new job creation.

Salaries vary widely between major Florida metro areas, though, so it’s worth exploring your options if you’re in a position to relocate. Miami, for example, not only has more openings, but also pays better at both the mid-level and at the top of the salary pyramid, with annual wages coming in at about $3,000 more than the state average. Orlando, on the other hand, has some of the highest salaries in the state, with a median of $60,490 or $29.08 per hour, but with a smaller market size.

Annual Salaries For Court Reporters in Major Florida Metropolitan Areas including Tampa and Miami

Miami (includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach)

  • Median – $40,400
  • More experienced – $89,590
  • Certified and experienced – $97,070

Orlando (with Kissimmee and Sanford areas)

  • Median – $60,490
  • More experienced – $92,170
  • Certified and experienced – $100,700

Tampa (and the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater)

  • Median – $32,120
  • More experienced – $37,970
  • Certified and experienced – $50,810

Hourly Wages For Court Reporters in Major Florida Metropolitan Areas including Tampa and Miami

Miami (includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach)

  • Median – $19.42
  • More experienced – $43.07
  • Certified and experienced – $46.67

Orlando (with Kissimmee and Sanford areas)

  • Median – $29.08
  • More experienced – $44.31
  • Certified and experienced – $48.41

Tampa (and the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater)

  • Median – $15.44
  • More experienced – $18.26
  • Certified and experienced – $24.43

 

*Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which court reporters work. BLS salary data represents state and MSA (metropolitan statistical area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.

2019 job growth projections from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity are aggregated through the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource, Projections Central. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

All salary and employment data accessed June 2020.

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