If you want to be a court reporter, you probably already know that you need to get training before starting it as a career. Court reporting school can be a challenging and rewarding experience. Here are a few tips that can lead you in that direction, help you graduate, and help you be successful in this field.
Work on your vocabulary.
Expanding your vocabulary is beneficial if you are planning on working in court reporting. You can do this by downloading an app, flipping through a dictionary, reading different books, or learning random new words. Learning more legal terms as well as medical words and terms may prove helpful.
The more that you study new words, the better you’ll be prepared as a reporter. Keeping up with local and national news could also be helpful, as you’ll pick up new vocabulary and terms that you could need to recognize while working as a reporter.
Practice your typing.
Keep in mind that there are different machine types and technology. Look up the most frequently used in your own area. Learn how to work the stenography machine, getting comfortable with positions of your fingers before moving on to typing. You must be able to type at a rate of 225 w.p.m. (words per minute).
These words must not only be typed out quickly, they should also be typed out accurately. Being a good reporter is just as much about being accurate as it is being efficient or quick. If you can put aside a block of time every day so that you can practice and work on it, you will see improvement.
Many students that graduate will tell you that they put in their fair share of practice hours. Work on being accurate in the beginning, then work on picking up speed.
Remember to sit in the correct position (up straight, both feet flat, keyboard positioned so forearms are parallel to floor). You want to be comfortable while you are typing. Adjust your chair, posture, machine height and more if you are not comfortable or feel tension or pain. Be sure to stretch as well to prevent later tension.
Keep a notebook.
Keeping a notebook and putting words in that you don’t know, frequently use, or have a tough time typing out. Then you can look up words that you were not familiar with and learn how to spell them as well as what their definition is. Practice typing the words on the list that you struggle with spelling out.
Use the resources available to you.
Maximize the resources you have while at school. Ask questions, practice typing, and get advice and insights from reporters who have worked in the field. Typing skills are important, but you may realize that other life skills are just as necessary.
Being early, planning your time, being accurate, being professional, having a business wardrobe and demeanor, personal grooming and presentation, and even getting enough sleep can all be incredibly relevant to a future career in court reporting.
Have a support system.
Teachers, students, friends, family, guidance counselors, therapists, and more can all be great sources of support. Have people in your life that encourage and support you on your way to success!