Florida ranked third in the nation in terms of the number of court reporters the state employs, and fifth in the nation for its concentration of court reporter jobs in urban centers. From Jacksonville and Miami to Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Orlando, there are several court systems that support jobs for court reporters in Florida.
Although there is no current state-issued license to practice as a court reporter in the state, the Florida Supreme Court has written legislation regarding the creation of a Certified Court Reporter designation and a Florida Court Reporter Certification Board.
Regardless of the absence of a mandatory certification/licensure program for court reporters in the State of Florida, there are a number of steps that you should take if you want to pursue a career in the field of court reporting in Florida:
|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
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.
Step 2. Pass the Florida Professional Reporters Certification
The Florida Court Reporters Association’s (FCRA) Florida Professional Reporters Certification is a mandatory program, due to the absence of licensure requirements in Florida. More than 950 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.
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 Supreme Court
- Florida District Courts
- Florida Circuit Courts
- Florida County Courts
- Gregory Court Reporting Service, Naples
- Orange Legal, Orlando
- Kress Court Reporting, Miami Beach
- Executive Reporting Service, Clearwater
- Florida Digital Reporting, Gainesville
- Palm Beach Reporting Service, West Palm Beach
- Taylor, Jonovic, White, Gendron, and Kircher-Echarte, Miami
- Trial Tec, Naples
- Premier Court Reporters, Sarasota
Florida Court Reporting Salary
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that Florida is a good state for seeking employment as a court reporter or stenographer. By these two measures, it rated in the top five of all states in 2012:
- Level of employment: 3rd highest
- Concentration of jobs: 5th highest
Two metropolitan areas of Florida have the ninth highest indicators of employment:
- Orlando: employment level
- West Palm Beach-Boca Raton: concentration of jobs
The Florida Department of Education’s career profile website indicated that the annual growth rate of this profession will be 37% a year. They project that ten of the state’s workforce regions will have growth rates of over 20% with some being as high as 67-68%.
In 2012, the 1510 court reporters employed in Florida earned an average annual salary of $37,760 according to the BLS. Those in the top ten of their field made $65,470 a year.
The 2012 salary data for selected cities are shown below:
According to the Florida Department of Education, 16% of court reporters worked for the state. 2013 salary ranges are available for court reporters who worked for the State of Florida. There are two levels of this position that pay the following:
- Level 2: $25,774 – $70,999
- Level 3: $30,622 – $88,572
In contrast, 70% of Florida’s court reporters worked for business support services such as court reporting firms.
The BLS has a detailed profile of salary information for court reporters in a number of cities in Florida as shown below: