Vermont’s legal justice system is considered to be one of the best in the world. The system has been built, modified, and perfected for over 200 years, and is still a work in progress. Usually judges and lawyers get most of the credit for making the legal system work, but support professionals such as court reporters also play a significant role.
When thinking about entering the field of court reporting, you should consider which field specialty would best suit you, whether it is shorthand, voice, or electronic recording.
The steps to becoming a court reporter in Vermont are as follows:
Step 1. Decide on Your Focus
The two main kinds of court reporters in Vermont are shorthand reporters and voice reporters. Shorthand reporters use a stenotype machine to record all manner of legal proceedings, from court cases to depositions. It should be noted that much of the work of a court reporter in any field may actually occur outside of the courtroom. Court reporters may be called to work anywhere a legal proceeding is being held.
The other main branch of court reporting is called voice recording. Voice reporters have a number of ways in which they record a legal hearing, including wearing a stenomask. This involves verbally repeating everything they hear in the courtroom verbatim.
Step 2. Complete a Court Reporter Degree Program
The only way to develop the stenotype or stenomask skills that potential employers look for is to complete a program online or at a local college or university with a campus location in Vermont. While some programs are offered at the associate’s level, there are also undergraduate certificate programs available online or at local technical schools.
There are a number of degree offerings in Vermont, such as:
- Associates of Science in Voice Court Reporting
- Associates in Stenography
- Court Reporting Techniques – Undergraduate Certificate
- Advanced Court Reporting – Graduate Certificate
Step 3. Consider Becoming Certified by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) or National Verbatim Reporters Association
Vermont does not have a specific license or licensing body that regulates court reporting. Because of this, some choose to pursue certification electively with national court reporting associations, and also by joining and networking with other legal professionals in the state.
The National Court Reporters Association is a good certification organization for Vermont residents who are looking to go into stenography or shorthand reporting. This organization’s entry level certification is called the Registered Professional Reporter certification. Much study and practice is needed to pass. The NCRA also offers two additional levels of certification after the RPR, if you have the desire to continue advancing your skill set and employment options.
The National Verbatim Reporters Association offers a certification called the Certified Verbatim Reporter Certification. This certification is more for those looking to go into voice reporting. The exam for the CVR is short and intensive.
Step 4. Find Employment in the Vermont Judiciary or Private Sector
In Vermont there are a number of places where a court reporter may find employment, but these opportunities roughly fall into two categories: in the private sector and in the court system. Work in the private sector may include much out court work, while court reporters which are employed by the court system can count on being in court a lot more.
Some private sector employers in Vermont include:
- Court Reporters Associates
- Depos Unlimited
- Capitol Court Reporters
- National Court Reporters – Vermont
- Green Mountain Reporters
The Vermont judiciary is also a great place to look for work:
Step 5. Continuing Education
In order to maintain your certification with the National Court Reporters Association, it is important to keep up with your continuing education requirements. This organization requires that you average 1 CE credit per year, or 3 every 3 years.
The CE credit requirement for the National Verbatim Reporters Association is also an integral part of keeping your certification. They require 30 credits every 3 years.
Vermont Court Reporting Salary
Vermont’s Department of Labor projects that the field of court reporting will grow by 1% a year from 2010 to 2020. They report that 79 people worked as court reporters in Vermont in 2010.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides 2012 salary information for court reporters in Vermont. Annual salaries are shown below:
The 2013 annual salary for a level V court reporter working for the state of Vermont was $49,920.
In addition to working for the state and local judiciary, court reporters and stenographers often work for private firms in the business and support service industry. A number of firms retain these professionals and contract their services to businesses and legal professionals who require verbatim transcription or closed captioning.
Often such firms prefer to hire court reporters who have some sort of certification. Common types of certification are provided by the following organizations:
- National Court Reporters Association
- National Shorthand Reporters Association
- National Verbatim Reporters Association
Specialized knowledge of terminology such as that used in the medical field is a highly desirable attribute.
Some of the court reporting firms that are located in Vermont include the following:
- Court Reporters Associates of Vermont, Inc.
- Curley Court Reporting
- Depos Unlimited, Inc
- Double D Reporting
- Green Mountain Reporters
- Kaplan, Leaman & Wolfe Court Reporters
- National Court Reporters
A detailed analysis of the wages of court reporters in Burlington is available from the BLS and is shown below: