Where can you find women who love their careers, have work-life balance with a flexible schedule, and feel that their jobs are rewarding and important to society? They’re court reporters, those who are not only enjoying a world of unique job opportunities, but they’re also in high demand—a rarity in the current job market.
Many assumed that electronic recording equipment would replace the human court reporter. But, the fact is that technology has increased the demand, and the field is alive and well.
“We have nearly 100 percent of our recent graduates landing jobs, and many are receiving multiple offers even before they graduate,” said Marlene Cohen, employment specialist at The Court Reporting Program at Orleans Technical Institute in Philadelphia, which offers the only court reporting program in the tri-state region approved by the National Court Reporters Association.
Orleans has been providing court reporting training for nearly 25 years, offering an Associate in Specialized Business degree, comprehensive curriculum pairing stenography skill building and legal classes, internship program, and on-site department dedicated to career advisement and job search assistance.
Variety of Career Opportunities
Court reporters hold a prestigious position, delivering an official written transcript of what it is spoken at trial, during motions or in depositions. The role of court reporters continues to evolve from serving as information managers in the courtroom, to capturing business proceedings in digital format, to assisting hard-of-hearing and deaf persons through advanced “realtime” captioning technology.
Many court reporters are attracted to the job security and potential earnings, but Cohen notes that the majority of Orleans court reporting graduates especially enjoy the independence that comes with working as freelancers. Attorneys hire freelance court reporters to create a record of pretrial depositions. Freelance reporters are also hired to create verbatim, computer-based transcripts of proceedings beyond the walls of the courtroom, from corporate meetings, roundtable discussions and stockholder sessions to public hearings, arbitrations and webcasts. Freelancers can determine their own availability; they’re paid per job and receive a per-page fee for transcripts.
For 28-year-old freelance court reporter Chiara Ulvi, RPR, working as an independent contractor allows her the “flexibility to choose my own schedule” and apply her transcription skills to an array of specialized services. She may be hired to transcribe a deposition one day, and another day she could provide realtime captioning at a convention or seminar.
One type of realtime technology that Ulvi provides is called CART, which stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation. With CART, a court reporter can be paid to accompany a college student who is hard-of-hearing or deaf and provide an instant conversion of the teacher’s lecture, notes and class discussions into text that is readable live on the student’s laptop.
“I enjoy providing CART services because the students are so thankful,” said Ulvi, a 2005 graduate of The Court Reporting Program at Orleans Technical Institute. “They tell me that they couldn’t have succeeded in the class without me.”
With this technology, a person who doesn’t use sign language or has a limited ability to read lips can sit alongside a court reporter who provides instant word-for-word, speech-to-text. Ulvi has also provided this service to students while working remotely from home.
With endless career opportunities at her fingertips, Ulvi is working toward expanding her skills to provide broadcast captioning, which are the captions seen running across the bottom of live news broadcasts.
Court Reporting Training
The Court Reporting Program at Orleans Technical Institute is now enrolling for day and evening classes that start in September. Visit their open house on Saturday, July 17 at 10am. For more information, visit www.orleanstech.edu or call 215-728-4426.