As of 2009, 410 court reporters worked in Oklahoma, making the state one of the highest in the nation terms of court reporters per capita. In Oklahoma, court reporters must be certified through the state. Whether you plan to hold an official court reporter job in Oklahoma’s court system, or work on a freelance basis, you must complete an educational and training program especially for prospective court reporters and subsequently pass a certification examination administered by the state.
|Satisfy Educational Requirements in Oklahoma|
|Become a Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) in Oklahoma|
|Know Oklahoma’s Court System and Court Reporting Agencies|
|Complete Oklahoma Continuing Education Requirements|
Step 1. Satisfy Educational Requirements for Court Reporters in Oklahoma
The profession requires knowledge and skills that are only developed through training programs specifically designed for court reporting. Oklahoma’s court reporting schools may offer students certificates or degrees in court reporting. Most Oklahoma training programs for court reporters follow the outlines of the state’s certification requirements, to make sure that students are properly educated and able to become certified at the end of their schooling.
Courses usually include:
- Theory of Court Reporting, consisting of:
- Usage of the stenograph machine
- Principles/rules of phonetic shorthand writing
- Introduction to abbreviations and phrases used in shorthand writing
- Speed building, which includes:
- Beginning at 60 words per minute and building to 200 words per minute of writing on the stenograph machine
- Being able to transcript one voice straight materials and two voice testimony, as well as three and four voice material occasionally
Step 2. Become an Oklahoma Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR)
The next step after completing your court reporting school program is to become a Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR). Become familiar with the Oklahoma Certified Shorthand Reporters Guide, the document provided by the state to outline the rules and regulations of the profession and steps to becoming a CSR. The state requires that you pass the CSR Examination, administered by the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners of Certified Shorthand Reporters. The exam consists of two parts:
- Writing speed test, including:
- Testimony and proceedings transcription involving question and answer dictation (200 wpm) (you are given one hour to complete this)
- Literary material transcription (180 wpm) (you are given one hour to complete this)
- Oklahoma Written Knowledge Test(you are given 45 minutes to complete this), which is 25 multiple choice questions on:
- Oklahoma law and court rules
- General court procedure
- Duties of Certified Shorthand Reporters
Within 30 days of taking the examination, the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners of Certified Shorthand Reporters will notify you in writing if you passed or failed.
Before taking the exam, you must take a pre-qualifying exam at one of the following locations:
- Tulsa Technology Center in Tulsa
- Oklahoma College of Court Reporting in Oklahoma City
After passing the pre-qualifier, you will arrange to take the CSR examination at the same location. For both the pre-qualifier and the CSR exam, you must provide your own computer, printer and writer, as well as the testing fee of $50.
Step 3. Know Oklahoma’s Judicial System and Court Reporting Agencies
Now that you are a CSR, you have a choice to make. Do you want to work as an official court reporter in the Oklahoma judicial system, or would you rather work on a freelance basis for a court reporting agency in the state? When jobs in the judicial system are available, they are posted at the Oklahoma Government Human Capital Management website.
Oklahoma’s court system is structured like this:
- Oklahoma Supreme Court: Located in Oklahoma City, this is one of Oklahoma’s two courts of last resort. It determines all appeals in civil cases, and only has immediate jurisdiction over new issues, matters of public interest or issues of law.
- Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals: Also located in Oklahoma City, this is the second of the state’s courts of last resort. It determines appeals in all criminal cases, including death penalty cases.
- Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals: There are two of these, which are Oklahoma’s intermediate appellate courts. These courts, in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, hear most appeals from civil court decisions.
- District Court: Oklahoma has 77 districts statewide in which jury trials are held. District courts have exclusive jurisdiction in small claims cases up to $6000, civil cases, criminal, juvenile, domestic relations, ordinance violation and traffic infraction cases.
If you decide that working for the Oklahoma court system is not for you, consider the many freelance court reporting agencies across the state. These agencies employ court reporters who take depositions and perform other matters for clients including attorneys and corporations. Larger agencies in the state include:
- Chisolm Trail Reporters in Enid
- Word for Word Reporting, LLC in McAlester
- Associated Reporting, Ltd. in Norman
- City Reporters, Inc. in Oklahoma City
- Young Reporting Services in Oklahoma City
- Russell Court Reporting, Inc. in Tulsa
- Tulsa Freelance Reporters in Tulsa
Step 4. Complete Continuing Education Requirements for Certified Shorthand Reporters in Oklahoma
In order to maintain your certification as a CSR in Oklahoma, you must meet the state’s continuing education (CE) mandates. This entails completing four hours of CE every year. If you work as an official court reporter in the court system of Oklahoma, one hour of those four hours must relate to the Oklahoma Court Rules and Procedures. Appropriate CE programs include:
- Course or seminar sponsored by an approved court reporter education program
- Those sponsored by the National Court Reporters Association
- Those sponsored by the Oklahoma Court Reporters Association
Oklahoma Court Reporting Salary
The field of court reporting is growing at a high rate in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) estimates that the number of court reporter and stenographer jobs will increase 14.13% in the ten year period between 2010 and 2020.
Employment projections from 2008 to 2018 for court reporters are available for the following areas of Oklahoma:
- Central workforce investment area: 18.1% increase
- Eastern workforce investment area: 5.3% increase
Salary information for court reporters in Oklahoma is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the OESC. The average annual salaries for 2011 and 2012 are shown below:
The BLS indicates that court reporters in the 90th percentile wage group made $45,030 a year in 2012. They also provide the following salary information from 2012 for selected cities in Oklahoma:
2011 wage information for the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) for these cities is available from the OESC. The average wage is shown below:
- Oklahoma City MSA: $26,528
- Tulsa MSA: $29,337
Throughout the country, state governments are a common source of employment for court reporters who are needed to record and transcribe court proceedings. In 2013, the starting salary for a court reporter for the state’s Corporation Commission was $39,160.
Applicants for this position are required to be licensed or certified by the State Board of Examiners of Official Shorthand Reporters.
The BLS provides a detailed breakdown of 2012 court reporter salaries in Oklahoma City and Tulsa by percentile in the following table: