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May 20, 2004

Accuracy leads to lucrative career.

From: East Texas Review, TX - May 20, 2004

by Joycelyne Fadojutimi

Whether you are a team player hoping to join a prestigious firm or entrepreneur intent upon establishing your own business or switching career, you may have what it takes to be a court reporter.

According to Dawn Wilson, director of the court-reporting program at Kilgore College in Longview, court reporting is fast becoming one of the most sought after positions in the East Texas area and positions throughout the country. Furthermore, KC has a geographic monopoly on a court-reporting program. Kilgore College is the only public institution to offer this program in a geographic area from Oxford, MS to the east, Amarillo to the west, Tulsa to the north and Houston to the South.

Since the demand for court reporters is so great and the numbers so few, court reporters tend to start at with a good salary. She said the potential for a solid and secure income is very probable. Working part-time, 3 days a week, from home pays 35K.

It isn't necessarily easy. But again, no good thing comes easy. You have to work for it. Some students have finished in the record time of two years and others needed an extra year. However, the compensation and job demand is far more rewarding than most college degrees offer.

Moreover, Texas does have a State exam. However, some States do not require an exam. The State examination does not bother Wilson because the KC's program is efficient and does train students to pass the exam. Court reporting is like anything else, if you are going to be good, it requires practice. "There is no substitute for practice," she said. "You can only gain speed and accuracy by practicing regularly." Besides speed and accuracy, Wilson said the successful court reporter is one who enjoys working with people and is meticulous in his or her work.

A court reporter writes with a stenography machine in a language called "Steno" which is basically a phonetic script of the syllables heard by the individual reporter. For example the word "attorney" in steno could be written as "toern", interpreter could be "interp". Real time reporters are producing a near complete transcript aided by a program installed in their laptop, which is connected to their stenography machine. Their laptop screens show the testimony already in English because they input case specific terminology as part of the pre job preparation.

Furthermore, not all court reporters work in a court. "When it became law for everything to be closed captioned, the need for court reporters skyrocketed," said Wilson.

Closed captioning is the written subtitles option on television, which is primarily used by the hearing impaired.

The KC program will comply with the standards of the National Court Reporting Association (NCRA). Kilgore College will offer three programs of study: a certificate in Court Reporting Scopist, a certificate in Court Reporting, and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Court Reporting.

The Court Reporting Program prepares students for employment as court reporters and in related fields, such as scoping and captioning. Due to the increase demand for qualified court reporters throughout the nation and the lack of institutions providing the necessary training, the program meets a vital employment need. The Court Reporting Program is accredited by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). For more info. contact Dawn Wilson at (903) 753-2642 or email Ms. Wilson at

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