To be a member of the court, more specifically Guardians of the Record, is an esteemed profession. Most importantly, it’s a career that’s both lucrative and in demand. Courts will always need records and lawyers rely on court reporting in Miami to finalize their trial summaries. In fact, the smallest mistake in a transcript can compromise a whole case. So, while court reporters enjoy a fulfilling and varied work life, they’re also under pressure to pay attention to detail in a timely manner.
The Process for Becoming Certified
The National Court Reporters Association, or the NCRA, licenses court reporters across the US. In addition, many states have their own associations so some court reporters might need to complete both national and state exams. In Miami, for example, you have the Florida Court Reporters Association.
Before the licensing exams, future court reporters work through a court reporting course. In these courses, people learn the ins and outs of court reporting in Miami. That includes the fundamentals of the law and how it works as well as specialist terminology in the legal, medical, and industrial sectors.
These days, many schools also offer an online program so that you can prepare for your license exams from home. Naturally, this means you have to buy your own stenograph machine and sometimes even your own computer-aided transcription software. Overall, the programs are also an important time to learn as much as possible about digital technology and how it helps with court reporting in Miami.
As you do your research for which program suits you best, keep these main steps in mind for completing your training:
- Get your bachelor’s degree
- Complete a court reporter certificate
- Pass the license exams
- Ongoing professional development
Get your bachelor’s degree
Depending on which program you choose, you can either join one after completing a traditional university course, such as English. On the other hand, you can join a specialist associate degree in court reporting after high school. Essentially, you have a choice of attending a community college or a technical school and you’ll leave with a certificate, Associate, or Bachelor’s degree.
Complete a court reporter certificate
During your program, you’ll learn how to take shorthand notes both by hand and with various digital tools. For example, you might get to work with a steno mask where you repeat into the machine what’s being said in the court. The machine then translates this into written notes.
Most programs tend to take between 1 and 2 years. During this time, you want to practice as much as possible so try to take any extra practice credit classes.
Pass the license exams
It goes without saying that you’ll need to pass the exams before you can formally work in court reporting in Miami. Overall, the exam is multiple choice and you’re tested in 7 key areas as listed on the NCRA webpage.
Ongoing professional development
Court reporting in Miami is often a profession for life. Of course, that’s not to say you can’t change but it’s worth remembering that ongoing training and learning are the norms. The NCRA offers short courses as well as webinars and conferences.
Moreover, the Florida Court Reporters Association supports court reporter students with finding jobs as well as providing a mentorship program. It offers various programs throughout the year for licensed court reporters including learning about software and technology.
How to Be Successful in your Court Reporting in Miami Course
To be successful in court reporting in Miami, you first need to consider the core skills you need. Not only do you need attention to detail but also exceptional organizational skills. Lawyers expect transcripts to be completed both accurately and in a timely manner. In some cases, you might also have to deliver real-time transcripts with the help of digital voice-to-text devices.
With this in mind, these tips will get you going with your career in court reporting in Miami:
- Train your mind with brain games
- Develop a research habit
- Find a self-care routine
Train your mind with brain games
We can all improve our focus and attention to detail with memory games. You can easily find these online as well as various apps and social media court reporter groups with other ideas for mind training. Although, another useful option is to go and sit in the public courts and transcribe the notes for your own practice.
Develop a research habit
Court reporting in Miami doesn’t just involve transcribing. You also need to understand the case and support any logistics to make sure people get to the trial on time. Part of understanding the case means researching any technical terminology or industry context. The more you can follow what’s being said in court, the easier it is to transcribe accurately.
Find a self-care routine
Writing and sitting in court for several hours at a time can be exhausting both for the mind and the body. Naturally, you should try to have as many breaks as you can. On top of that, practice healthy eating and regular exercise to avoid repetitive strain injuries.
Final Recommendations for Certifying in Court Reporting in Miami
To become a licensed court reporter, you must complete an education program in court reporting and then pass your license. This can be with the NCRA at the national level or with the Florida Court Reporters Association at the state level. Both these organizations can help you with mentorship and getting your first job. From there, don’t ever stop learning, and keep training your mind to stay alert and focused so you can be a successful court reporter.