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Nation Faces Critical Shortage of Certified Court Reporters

Jan 26, 2008
Many years ago some experts predicted that technology would cause a shortage of jobs for court reporters, leaving many in the career with no employment opportunities. In fact, members of the profession are in more demand today than ever before. Here are a few case studies showing how the opportunities are booming.

New York City - State Blunder Scares Away Certified Court Reporters

There are eight million people in New York City and only 405 of them are court reporters.

Several years ago the state implemented a pilot program to use electronic recordings in courts. Fear of losing their jobs to technology meant that few young people chose the career path. Training programs shut down and at one point only two schools in the city were offering court reporting courses.

After a substantial drop in student population, the state realized its error and has tried to correct it. Their actions have led to an increase in court reporting schools but there is still a critical shortage of reporters in the city.

Florida Doesn't Learn from New York's Mistake

Oblivious to history, Florida recently announced a similar program to use electronic recordings. Pinellas-Pasco judicial court spokesman Ron Stuart said, "I think this is inevitable and it's progress. It's going to be a more accurate system. We certainly have no plans to go back."

Rick Greenspan, president of the Florida Court Reporters Association disagrees, saying, "The best voice-to-text machine that anyone ever developed is the live human being." Many experts in the field are expecting the state to experience some shortage of certified court reporters.

Even the Bahamas is Suffering

The Bahamian government is facing a serious shortage of native-born reporters, turning to recruiting them from the US. There are only 33 reporters in the country and 18 of them are immigrants.

Many Bahamians attend court reporting classes at Kilgore College in Texas. One student said, "Many court cases go unrecorded because there aren't enough court reporters. The shortage has created a large backlog in our court system."

Career Opportunities are Everywhere

These examples are typical of the job climate all over the country. Massachusetts, Wisconsin, California and other states are all experiencing loss of critical court reporting services as students fear being replaced by a tape recorder.

The reality is that technology has only increased the opportunities in the profession. Television and web broadcasts will always need reporters capable of real-time closed captioning. Private businesses are finding more opportunities every day to employ reporters.

Courtrooms will always need certified court reporters as well. A tape recorder can't ask a mumbling witness (or judge) to repeat himself or ensure that the names of everyone present are entered into the record. The reporter is the only person in the room focused on nothing but creating an accurate record of the proceedings.

Technology has never been a danger to the court reporting profession. Increasing job prospect and soaring salaries make this one of the best career opportunities around today.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on
Certified Court Reporters, visit
http://www.huseby.com.
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