As of November 2013, court reporters in Ohio need not meet any license requirements nor be certified in order to work in the state. However, many courts in Ohio will only hire official court reporters that have completed an accredited program through Ohio court reporting schools. Many aspiring court reporters in Ohio start out on a freelance, realtime basis in order to gain experience needed to work in Ohio’s court system.
Complete these steps to become a court reporter in Ohio:
|Fulfill Educational Requirements|
|Seek National Certification (optional)|
|Explore the Types of Court Reporter Jobs Available|
|Know the Ohio Court System and Ohio Court Reporting Agencies|
Step 1. Fulfill Educational Requirements for Court Reporters in Ohio
Both freelance court reporters and those who wish to work for Ohio’s court system must complete court reporter training programs at accredited court reporter schools located in Ohio or online. A solid educational background, consisting of both knowledge and practical skills, is necessary in order to work as an Ohio court reporter in any capacity. There are many top-notch educational programs for aspiring court reporters throughout Ohio, in cities including Parma, Springfield, Cincinnati, Independence, Canton, Dayton, Maumee and Brockville.
Court reporter schools in Ohio offer programs such as:
- Realtime/Judicial Reporting Program – prepares students to work as realtime reporters in court or deposition situations. Programs usually include these courses:
- Business English
- Vocabulary and Reference Use
- Introduction to and Advanced Realtime Writing
- Computer Concepts and Office Productivity
- Beginning and Advanced Speed Building
- Beginning and Advanced CAT Concepts
- Fundamentals of Legal Terminology
- Transcript Production
- Broadcast Caption/Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) Program – prepares students to work in realtime captioning for broadcast programs and/or the deaf. Programs usually include the courses above plus:
- Survey of Earth Science
- Medical Terminology
- Business Mathematics
- Captioning/CART I, II and III
- World Regional Geography
- Introduction to the Deaf Community
- Court Reporting with Steno – This type of program prepares students for the traditional stenography court reporting method, using Digital Cat Computer –Access Realtime Translation software- it may include the above courses plus:
- Editing legal documents
- Speedbuilding and transcription
- Court reporting technology
- Court procedures
- Court Reporting with Voice Writing – This type of program trains students to use software programs that recognize voice (such as Dragon speech recognition software) and Eclipse computer access realtime translation software to translate realtime audio into text. Prospective court reporters, captioners and transcriptionists all benefit from this type of training program, which may include courses above plus:
- Realtime theory and reinforcement
- Voicewriting I, II and III
- Speed Development I, II and III
- Criminal Court Procedure
- Technical Terminology
Step 2: Seek Certification Through a National Organization (Optional)
Court reporter certification is not a requirement for most court reporting jobs in Ohio. Some employers, however, prefer to hire nationally certified court reporters over those without certification. National certification through organizations such as the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) shows that you, as a court reporter, have met stringent standards of performance and excellence set forth by the NCRA.
Two NCRA certifications are the most common for Ohio court reporters to seek: Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) and Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). You must first become an RPR before you can seek CRR certification. The certification process through the NCRA is as follows:
- RPR Certification: Two tests, one on written knowledge and one on skills, must be passed to gain this certification. The written knowledge portion tests your knowledge of professional practices, reporting practices and technology. The skills portion tests your words per minute (wpm) in realtime reporting of jury charge (200 wpm), literary (180 wpm) and questions and answers or testimony (225 wpm). Register to take the tests at the NCRA Certification Test Center. The written knowledge test is given at Pearson Vue testing centers in Westlake, Moraine, Copley Township, Gahanna and Columbus. The skills test is offered at NCRA sites in Springfield, Parma, Maumee and Cincinnati.
- CRR Certification: This certification entails passing realtime question and answer test, using two voices. For five minutes, at a minimum of 200 wpm, you must accurately provide realtime transcription at a minimum of 96 percent accuracy. You may register to take this test at the NCRA Certification Test Center. It is given in Cincinnati, Maumee, Parma and Springfield.
Court reporters in Ohio who are not nationally certified through an organization such as NCRA are not required to complete any continuing education. If you are nationally certified as an RPR or CRR, however, you must complete three units of continuing education (CE) every three years to maintain your certification. You may use the same three units of CE to satisfy the continuing education requirements for both titles (RPR and CRR). Find appropriate CE opportunities at the NCRA website.
Step 3. Explore the Types of Jobs For Court Reporters in Ohio
There are various types of court reporter jobs in Ohio for those who have completed court reporting training programs. They include:
- Official Court Reporter – This type of court reporter works in a municipal, county, city or federal court system. In Ohio, Official Court Reporters earn a salary and are also paid as an independent contractor for transcripts they produce.
- Independent Freelance Reporter – This type of court reporter works independently for attorneys in Ohio, taking depositions and transcribing hearings. They are usually paid by the hour and by the page, and may work as an independent contractor, as a partnership, or as a corporation.
- Agency Freelance Reporter – This type of court reporter works for a court reporting agency in Ohio. They will be assigned depositions by the agency, and may work from home or from the agency’s office. Most agency freelance reporters work as employees of their agency and are paid salary and benefits. Others are paid as independent contractors and may work for various agencies in Ohio.
Step 4. Familiarize Yourself with the Court System and Court Reporting Agencies
The Ohio Judicial System is structured like this:
- Supreme Court of Ohio: This is Ohio’s highest court and its court of last resort. The Supreme Court of Ohio hears appeals from the state’s 12 District Courts of Appeals. The Supreme Court of Ohio also hears death penalty cases, cases with different opinions from more than one Court of Appeals, and cases that involve either the Ohio Constitution or U.S. Constitution. It is located in Columbus.
- Courts of Appeals: Ohio has 12 Courts of Appeals in Districts statewide. These courts hear appeals from county, municipal and common pleas courts. The Districts are:
- District 1: Hamilton County, court is located in Cincinnati
- District 2: Montgomery, Miami, Greene, Drake, Clark and Champaign Counties, court is located in Dayton and Springfield
- District 3: Wyandot, Van Wert, Union, Shelby, Seneca, Putnam, Paulding, Mercer, Marion, Logan, Henry, Hardin, Hancock, Defiance, Crawford, Auglaize and Allen Counties, court is located in Lima
- District 4: Washington, Vinton, Scioto, Ross, Pike, Pickaway, Meigs, Lawrence, Jackson, Hocking, Highland, Gallia, Athens and Adams Counties, court is located in Chillicothe
- District 5: Tuscarawas, Stark, Richland, Perry, Muskingum, Morrow, Morgan, Licking, Knox, Holmes, Guernsey, Fairfield, Delaware, Coshocton and Ashland counties, court is located in Canton
- District 6: Wood, Williams, Sandusky, Ottawa, Lucas, Huron, Fulton and Erie counties, court is located in Toledo
- District 7: Noble, Monroe, Mahoning, Jefferson, Harrison, Columbiana, Carroll and Belmont counties, court is located in Youngstown
- District 8: Cuyahoga County, court is located in Cleveland
- District 9: Wayne, Summit, Medina and Lorain counties, court is located in Akron
- District 10: Franklin County, court is located in Columbus
- District 11: Trumbull, Portage, Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula Counties, court is located in Warren
- District 12: Warren, Preble, Madison, Fayette, Clinton, Clermont, Butler and Brown Counties, court is located in Middletown
- The Court of Claims: The Ohio Court of Claims can hear all civil case filed against the State of Ohio and its agencies. Cases it may hear include property damage, contract disputes, wrongful imprisonment, personal injury and state officer/employee immunity. It is located in Columbus
- Courts of Common Pleas: These are Ohio’s trail courts of general jurisdiction. Every county in Ohio (all 88 of them) has its own Court of Common Pleas. Divisions of these courts are:
- General Division – Hears civil cases over $15,000 and criminal felony cases
- Domestic Relations Division – Hears marriage dissolution, divorce, legal separation, parental rights and spousal support cases
- Juvenile Division – Hears cases of those under the age of 18 charged with crimes and cases of neglected or dependent children
- Probate Division – Hears cases involving supervision and administration of guardianships and trusts, and wills
- Municipal and County Courts: Ohio’s Municipal and County Courts hear preliminary hearings in felony cases, non-traffic and traffic misdemeanors, and civil cases under $15,000
Some of the most well known court reporting agencies in Ohio that hire court reporters include:
- Elite Reporting Agency, LLC in Dayton and Cincinnati
- PRI Court Reporting, LLC in Columbus
- Runfola Reporters in Columbus
- Premier Court Reporting in Canton and Akron
- Mike Mobley Reporting in Dayton, Cincinnati, Blue Ash, West Chester, Dublin, Worthington, and Columbus
Ohio Court Reporting Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 520 people worked as court reporters or stenographers in Ohio in 2012. Over 20% of these professionals were located in Columbus.
The field of legal occupations in Ohio, which includes court reporters, is projected to increase by 8.4% in the ten year period leading up to 2020 according to the state’s Department of Jobs and Family Services.
The median salary for a court reporter in Ohio in 2012 was $47,100 according to data from the BLS. Experienced professionals in the 90th percentile earned $68,690 that year. The BLS provides a breakdown of salaries by city, and those in Ohio are shown below:
Nationally, a large number of court reporters work for their state’s judiciary. In Ohio, the courts tend to be moving away from having court reporters document the state’s legal proceedings. Instead, they are implementing electronic recording systems.
Appeals in the state do require a written transcript, however, thus providing continued employment for court recorders in Ohio. One court that continues to use court reporters is the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
Court reporting firms are another frequent source of jobs for court reporters. Their services are contracted out to businesses that need their proceedings documented. Other types of companies need closed captioning provided for various types of media, including television and the Internet.
The BLS provides a detailed breakdown of salary percentiles of all types of court reporters in cities throughout Ohio in the following table: