Maine’s court reporters work in an expansive field providing their shorthand services for the benefit of all. In addition to recording the public record in court proceedings they also take part in depositions, create a real-time transcript which can be read by the deaf and hard of hearing, and even provide their services to television programs with closed captioning for live broadcasts.
Last year the average salary for court reporters working in the state was $74,940. As you research how to become a court reporter in Maine you will find that not just anyone can step into this career; these professionals are skilled stenographers who have completed extensive training programs.
Review these steps to become a court reporter in Maine:
|Become Qualified to be a Court Reporter in Maine|
|Maintain Professional Awareness|
|Find Employment as a Court Reporter in Maine|
Step 1. Become Qualified to Be a Court Reporter in Maine
It is standard procedure for a professional court reporter to be able to maintain a typing speed of 225 words per minute involving multiple voices. Court reporters actually have speed contests among themselves for fun, and a well-known Canadian court reporter could reliably transcribe legal hearings at a rate of 350 words per minute.
Considering many of the average office jobs in America set their bar at 40 words per minute as a good typing standard, reaching a speed over five times as fast does not come naturally to most people. That is where Maine court reporting schools come in. These can be two-year associate degree programs or technical certifications available through:
- Community colleges
- Technical schools
- Online programs
- Private institutions
It is important that you are taken seriously as a professional in the courtroom, and this typically means you should be over the age of 18, have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, and not have an extensive criminal record. Keep in mind that having relevant education can also make you more competitive when applying to court reporter and stenographer firms.
Step 2. Maintain a Professional Awareness
As a court reporter it is your responsibility to be aware of the rules and etiquette applying to courtroom behavior. Violating court rules and administrative orders can be grounds for dismissal and even criminal penalties or fines. Your most important asset is your reputation, so aside from your professional ability one of the factors that has the largest bearing on this is your courtroom behavior.
Keeping track of the Legislature is also a good idea; although there are no official court reporter license requirements in Maine and several other states, it is not uncommon for this to change. For example, a new Maine Act affecting court reporters became law as of October, 2013. Keeping up with the laws and regulations as they pertain to your trade only makes logical sense and will help you to stay one step ahead of the game.
Nation-wide and in Maine there are many opportunities to attend conferences and events regarding the field of court reporting. These will keep you updated on the latest technology, methods, and developments in court reporting and also give you a chance to travel and mingle with like-minded colleagues. The National Court Reporters Association maintains an active calendar of events that take place in cities across the country. The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers is another national organization where you can find a regular calendar of events.
Step 3. Find Employment as a Court Reporter in Maine
As you begin searching for court reporter jobs in Maine you may find it helpful to join the Maine Court Reporters Association (MeCRA). In addition to sponsoring annual events around the state MeCRA is also a valuable place for:
- Industry news
- Professional networking
- Information about national certification programs
Court reporter employers in Maine include:
- Bishop Reporting, Inc serving Portland and South Portland
- McLean Court Reporting Services in Lewiston
- Alley & Morrisette Court Reporting Service serving Bangor, Auburn and Augusta
Maine Court Reporting Salary
Court reporters in Maine have the third highest average salary of any state in the U.S according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They earned an average of $74,490 a year in 2012. Experienced professionals in the top ten percent of their wage bracket earned an average of $91,800 that year.
The field of court reporting is growing nationally. Maine’s Department of Labor projects that there will be a 7.9% increase in employment in the legal field in the state in the period from 2006 to 2016. Sixty-eight percent of these jobs are projected to be due to the replacement of people who are leaving the workforce.
Nearly a third of the court reporters in the country work for state governments. In Maine, the State Courts employ official court reporters to produce official transcripts of hearings. This provides an immediate translation of the recordings to print, so that attorneys have a visual record of the hearings in real time. In some cases, these hearings are recorded electronically.
Two thirds of the country’s court reporters work for private forms in business and support services. Maine has a number of court reporting firms that employ court reporters or stenographers. A partial listing is shown below:
- Accurate Court Reporting
- Alley & Morrisette Reporting Service
- Bishop Reporting, Inc.
- Brown & Meyers
- Duffy & McKenna Reporting Associates
- Huseby, Inc.
- Maine Court Reporting Services
- National Court Reporters
- Pieske Reporting Service
- Todd Olivas & Associates