There are currently 260 actively employed court reporters in Missouri and the job outlook is better than in many states. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that court reporter jobs in Missouri will increase 26 percent by 2018.
The Missouri Court Reporters Association (MCRA) has promoted the professional welfare and high ethical standards of Missouri court reporters since 1922.
Learn how to become a court reporter in Missouri by following these six steps:
Step 1. Graduate from an Accredited Court Reporter Program in Missouri
You must earn an associate’s degree in court reporting in order to qualify for a court reporter job in Missouri. It is important to select a community college or vocational school program that is accredited by the Council on Approved Student Education of the National Court Reporter Association (NCRA).
There is at least one accredited program in Missouri from which approximately five students graduate each year, in addition to online programs available to state residents.
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. Apply for Certification in the State of Missouri
Missouri Supreme Court Rule 14 (1975) mandates that court reporters must be certified by the State Board of Certified Court Reporter Examiners. This can be achieved by passing the Board examination, which is offered twice a year in the spring and the fall.
Applications must be received at least 30 days prior to the exam date.
You can obtain an application, list of examination dates/places and a helpful study guide from the MCRA.
Step 3. Successfully Pass the Missouri Certification Examination
The certification examination consists of three parts: written general knowledge exam, dictation speed test and dictation transcription.
The written examination is generally given on Friday evening. Topics covered include:
- Criminal and appellate court procedures
- Rules of civil procedure
- Juvenile court rules/procedures
- Grand Jury procedures
- Oaths, affirmations and depositions
- Rules related to mental illness
- Legal and medical terminology
- English grammar, spelling and punctuation
- Relevant Missouri statutes
Both parts of the skills examination are given on Saturday. The three-part speed dictation test consists of a one-voice dictation (minimum speed 180 words per minute, a two-voice dictation of medical or technical questions and answers (200 wpm), and a two-voice question and answer dictation (225 wpm). You are then given up to one hour and 15 minutes to accurately transcribe each dictation.
Test results are mailed. Questions concerning the examination can be addressed to Maggie Burch, Administrative Assistant, Board of Certified Court Reporter Examiners, P.O. Box 150, Jefferson City, MO 65102; 573/751-4144.
Step 4. Find a Court Reporter Job in Missouri
As in most states, Missouri court reports either work directly for the courts (official) or for a different entity (freelance).
The Missouri judicial system has three levels: Supreme Court, intermediate appellate courts and trial (circuit) courts. Most court reporters are employed by the circuit courts which have jurisdiction over almost all criminal and civil matters. The circuit court system is organized in 45 regional circuits located in every county throughout the state. Each county’s circuit court system has numerous specialized divisions, such as divorce court and juvenile court. If you wish to become an official circuit court reporter it is necessary to contact a circuit judge or judicial administrator in whatever district(s) you are interested in.
Freelance court reporters are employed by a variety of entities, including the following:
- State agencies
- Private reporting firms
- Hospitals/medical centers
- Trade unions
- Educational institutions
- The media industry
The MCRA is a source of open court reporter jobs in the state as well as a good place for networking. Membership is open to all active, student or retired court reporters.
The median annual wage of court reporters in various Missouri cities is reported as:
- St. Louis – $51,124
- Kansas City/Independence- $50,863
- Springfield – $48,304
- Jefferson City/Columbia – $46,947
Step 5. Maintain Certification in Missouri through Continuing Education
Each certified court reporter in Missouri is required to complete a minimum of 10 credit hours of continuing education each year in order to renew certification. Credits can be earned in many ways including adult education classes, attending MCRA’s annual convention, attending either MCRA’s half-day or two-day educational seminars, or participating in NCRA educational or certification programs.
Consider National Court Reporter Association certification. NCRA certifications have many professional advantages. Examinations are given twice a year, in April and November, at sites in all U.S. states. Contact the NCRA to find the dates and places of examinations in Missouri.
Missouri Court Reporting Salary
The Missouri Department of Economic Development projects that the field of court reporting will grow 13.58% in the ten year period leading up to 2020. In contrast to the situation in many states, nearly half of these jobs are projected to come from the creation of new court reporter or stenographer positions. The remainder is expected to come from people leaving the workforce.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 330 court reporters who worked in Missouri in 2012 had an average annual salary of $45,570. Those in the 90th percentile wage group made $58,590 a year. The BLS also provides salary data for some of the cities in the state. It is shown below:
Salary information from 2013 is available for court reporting positions with the state. The range of salaries for two types of court reporter positions is shown below:
- Court reporter I: $30,696 – $42,552
- Court reporter II: $39,040 – $54,360
Court reporters for the state of Missouri must be certified by the Board of Certified Court Reporter Examiners. They offer an exam, but professionals with the following certifications are exempt from it:
- Missouri Court Reporters Association
- Missouri certified shorthand reporter
- National Court Reporters Association
- Registered professional reporter
- National Verbatim Court Reporters Association
- Certified verbatim recorder
In addition to jobs with state and local government, court reporting firms are a significant source of employment for court reporters.
The BLS offers a detailed breakdown of court reporter salaries from 2012 for two cities in Missouri. The table below offers an analysis of wages by hourly and annual percentiles: