There are several steps which should be taken in order to become a court reporter in South Carolina. These steps include:
Court reporters are essential to the legal system because they make lasting and official records of what was said during legal processes. These records are the primary, and often the only, means of determining what happened during any number of legal and judicial proceedings. In South Carolina a shortage of court reporters actually led to the cancellation of court proceedings in Aiken County in summer 2013. Such is the essential nature of the service court reporters provide.
Court reporters in South Carolina not only work in the actual court room, such as during a murder trial or lawsuit hearing, but many South Carolina court reporters also spend a significant part of their working time in out-of-court legal proceedings, such as when recording arbitrations, depositions, and other legal proceedings which may not occur in the court itself.
Step 1. Familiarize Yourself with the South Carolina Court Reporter’s Manual
The State of South Carolina has issued a Court Reporter Manual (SCCRM), which states the proper conduct, dress code, and discipline expected by court reporters in the state. It also states that every court reporter employed by the state is assigned to a Family or Circuit Court judge, among other things. You should read this manual in order to familiarize yourself with the norms of court reporting in the state.
Step 2. Earn an Associate’s Degree or Diploma in Court Reporting
According to the SCCRM one of the ways to qualify as a court reporter in the state is to earn an associate’s degree or diploma from an accredited institution. These degrees and certificates can be found under such titles as:
- Associates in Court Reporting
- Associates in Technical Court Reporting
- Associates in Technical Stenography
- Certificate in Court Reporting Technology
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Step 3. Take the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) or Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) Exam
The SCCRM also states that another way you can become a court reporter in the South Carolina is by becoming certified by either the National Court Reporters Association or the National Verbatim Recorders Association.
The NCRA’s certification is called Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), while that of the NVRA is called Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR). These certifications demonstrate that you have the skills and abilities necessary to perform the job description of a court reporter.
Step 4. Gain Experience and Find Employment as a Court Reporter in
South Carolina is in need of court reporters. There is currently a shortage in the state. Court reporters may find work with any of several firms, including the following:
The South Carolina Judiciary prefers that you have actual court reporting experience in order to be in the best position to gain employment with the court system. This experience can be gained by working with an independent court reporting agency, such as listed above, until you have enough experience to work with the judiciary, if that is your desire.
When you have the relevant experience you can then apply to any of the South Carolina courts:
- South Carolina Supreme Court
- South Carolina Family Court
- South Carolina Circuit Court
- South Carolina Court of Appeals
Step 5. Maintain Licensure
It is a good idea to join either the NCRA or the NVRA or both, in order to keep up with news relating to court reporting in South Carolina. Also, it is a good idea to join the South Carolina Court Reporters Association.
Continuing education requirements must be met in order to maintain licensure with both the NCRA and the NVRA. In order to maintain licensure with the NCRA, it is necessary to earn at least 3 continuing education credits every 3 years. There are a variety of ways to earn the credits, and they do not have to all be earned at the same time. In order to maintain your certification with the NVRA you must earn 30 continuing education credits every 3 years.
South Carolina Court Reporting Salary
The field of court reporting is projected to increase in South Carolina by eight percent in the ten years leading up to 2020 according to the state’s Department of Employment & Workforce.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 230 court reporters were employed in South Carolina in 2012. Their annual median salary was $38,920 with those in the 90th percentile earning $47,330. Information on the salaries of court reporters in selected cities is shown below:
State and local governments are major employers of court reporters nationally, and in 2013 the starting salary of an official court reporter for the circuit court in South Carolina was $39,316 a year.
Applicants for this type of position are required to either have a degree in court reporting or else one of the following types of certification along with four years of experience in court reporting:
- National Shorthand Reporters Association: Registered professional reporter (RPR)
- National Verbatim Reporters Association: Certified verbatim reporter (CVR)
Additional sources of employment are the numerous court reporting firms that contract their services to businesses and attorneys. These professionals carry out activities ranging from providing verbatim reports of the proceedings of meetings to providing closed captioning for Internet or television broadcasts. Some of the court reporting firms in South Carolina include the following:
- A. William Roberts Jr. & Associates
- Carolina Reporting
- Clark & Associates, Inc.
- Creel Court Reporting, Inc.
- Prestige Court Reporting
- Thompson Court Reporting, Inc.
Salary information on all types of court reporters is provided by the BLS for selected cities in South Carolina. The following table provides a breakdown of salaries by annual and hourly percentiles: