As a court reporter in Tennessee, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your transcripts will be part of the official record in the state for decades. Court reporters in Tennessee are a bit like historians, but without a personal opinion on the matters they record. For this reason the profession has maintained its vital role in Tennessee courthouses for decades.
In Tennessee, the court records that are produced may be used in a variety of different manners. One of the most important ways a court record is used is when a particular ruling is appealed. The appealing party can consult the court record for clues to the best appeal strategy. Court justices may even have occasion to review these records when considering an appeal. This was the case when the Tennessee Supreme Court reviewed records to deny an appeal from the City of Nashville relating to an award of $30.4 million owed to the owners of a piece of real estate that the city had taken under imminent domain, saving tax payers untold sums of money by avoiding another costly trial.
In the state of Tennessee court reporters are regulated and licensed by the Board of Court Reporting. Since July 2010 court reporters in the state of Tennessee have been required to be licensed before working in the state’s judicial system.
The steps to becoming a court reporter in Tennessee are as follows:
Step 1. Seek a Degree in Court Reporting
The Tennessee court reporting statute requires court reporters to posses a minimum level of competency as demonstrated through certification. Earning a degree through one of Tennessee’s specialized court reporting schools is an invaluable way to develop these competencies and prepare for a career.
There are many colleges and technical schools in Tennessee offer training and coursework in court reporting. Undergraduate degrees available in the state include:
- Associates of Science in court reporting
- Fundamentals of court reporting
- Associates of Stenography
Step 2. Become Certified through One of Three National Certification Associations
Tennessee recognizes certification from three national associations. In all cases, after becoming certified with the national association, you must submit the Tennessee application, along with proof of certification, to the board. The three national associations are:
- The Registered Professional Reporter certification available through the National Court Reporters Association
- The Certified Electronic Court Reporter certification issued by the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers
- The Certified Verbatim Reporter certification issued by the National Verbatim Reporters Association
Step 3. Submit an Application in Tennessee and Pay the Fee
Once you have become certified, a copy of your certification, as well as the $50 non-refundable application fee and the application, should be submitted to:
Tennessee Board of Court Reporting
Administrative Office of the Courts
Nashville City Center, Suite 600
511 Union Street
Nashville, TN 37219
Tennessee offers reciprocity with many states as it relates to court reporter licensing. This means that if you have a license in another state, Tennessee may automatically grant you a license without you having to meet further criteria. You will still have to complete the application, and submit proof of your current out-of-state license.
Step 4. Seek Employment as a Court Reporter in Tennessee
Once you have completed all the requirements to get your license, and have received it in the mail, you are ready to begin looking for work.
Court reporter jobs in Tennessee may be found in the private sector with firms such as:
Another place to look for employment is directly with the Tennessee State judiciary and other courts in the state including:
Step 5. Maintain Certification through Continuing Education in Tennessee
Tennessee requires that you take 20 hours of continuing education, which equals 2 credits, before the renewal date of your license. License renewals carry a $200 charge, and the application can be found here.
Continuing Education requirements are also required of all associations which issue certification. It is a good idea to join one or more of these associations, including the Tennessee Court Reporters Association.
Requirements are as follows
- NCRA – 3 credit every 3 years
- NVRA – 30 credits every 3 years
- AAERT’s CE requirements match those of the state in which the license is issued.
Tennessee Court Reporting Salary
The field of legal support workers, which includes court reporters, is expected to increase 1.5% in Tennessee from 2010 to 2020 according to the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Salary data for the 100 court reporters who worked in Tennessee in 2012 is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They earned an average salary of $52,660 with those in the 90th percentile having made $104,850 a year.
Court systems rely on having accurate transcripts of testimony and depositions and thus are a significant employer of court recorders. In 2013, twenty-eight court reporters worked full time for the Court System of Tennessee. They made salaries ranging from $33,132 to $36,468 a year.
Another major source of employment for court reporters and stenographers is the industry of business and support services. A number of businesses specialize in retaining court reporters that they contract out to legal professionals and businesses.
Such court reporters document legal or business proceedings or provide closed captioning so that hearing impaired viewers can follow broadcasts. Some of the many court reporting firms in Tennessee include the following:
- A to Z Reporting Services
- Alpha Reporting Corporation
- Angel & Associates Court Reporting
- Chambers Legal Production
- Clarkesville Court Reporting
- Cookeville Court Reporters
- Cornerstone Professional Services, Inc.
- Hall & Associates Court Reporters
- Huseby, Inc.
- Morrow & Associates
- MWA Court Reporting & Video
- National Court Reporters
- National Reporting Agency
- Omega Reporting
- Professional Court Reporting & Video
- Todd Olivas & Associates