Court Reporting Program

Starting August 23, 2021

Consider an exciting, in-demand career with a Certified Shorthand Reporter certificate.

Lamar State College Orange is proud to offer this 18-month program in the prestigious profession of Court Reporting. This program provides the training to prepare students for a profession that offers the freedom and flexibility to choose the type of work that will fit their individual lifestyles. It will fully prepare students to pass the Texas Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) exam required to work in the state of Texas and the National Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) exam necessary in most other states.

Curriculum
Tuition and Scholarships
Admission Requirements
Enrollment Calendar
Books and Equipment
Frequently Asked Questions

What Court Reporters Do

A court reporter, also known as a stenographer, uses state-of-the-art technology to capture the spoken word on a shorthand machine, then transcribes it to produce an accurate, verbatim record. Becoming a court reporter is for anyone who is intelligent, highly motivated and disciplined, enjoys reading, and works well under deadlines. If this is you and you enjoy meeting interesting people across the globe, you will have a lifestyle full of exciting challenges in this very lucrative career.  

Work Environment

Most court reporters work in courts, legislatures or with a freelance firm; however, some people with a Certified Shorthand Reporter certificate can work from home or a central office that provides broadcast captioning for television stations.

Texas is the third highest paying state for court employers in terms of salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2019, court reporters earned an annual mean wage of $73,070. According to BLS’s May 2019 statistics, Texas was ranked No.2 in terms of employment of court reporters in the United States. 1,450 court reporters were reported to be working in the state at the time. Career outlook for court reporters in Texas remains bright. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that court reporting job openings continue to outnumber job seekers.

Therefore, if you are thinking of pursuing a career in this field in Texas, you are on the right track as jobs are expected to increase in the coming years. 

Program Description

This 18-month program will give students the skills required to become professional court reporters. The first year of the program will conclude with a scoping/transcriptionist certificate that will give you the tools needed to assist working court reporters to produce transcripts and do daily copies for court and depositions or use your court reporting skills to do transcriptions for legal proceedings for freelance firms, for attorneys, or fulfilling the needs of a variety of companies that may need the services of a transcriptionist.

The program will teach the principal occupational skills using machine shorthand to write literary dictation at speeds up to 180 words per minute, jury charge dictation at speeds up to 200 words per minute, and question-and-answer testimony in legal settings at speeds up to 225 words per minute, all at a minimum of 95% accuracy. 

Students will learn how to transcribe dictation using CAT software (computer-assisted translation), create and format official court transcripts, mark and index exhibits, create mini-transcripts and ASCII disks, connect to other computers for providing realtime and other technologies related to court reporting. They will receive advanced schooling in English vocabulary and usage, punctuation, proofreading and editing skills, as well as law, legal and medical terminology. Students will receive instruction on court reporting procedures and will complete a practical internship. Graduates of the program will be thoroughly prepared to immediately obtain employment in both official and freelance court reporting positions.

Curriculum

First Semester- Machine Shorthand I
Instruction in general principles of realtime machine shorthand theory and skill-building through readback of dictation notes, machine practice, and transcription. This course will also study the basic rules of English grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and proofreading skills as they apply to court reporting. Students will also be introduced to Case Catalyst, the computer-aided transcription system used to produce transcripts and receive instruction in civil and criminal judicial systems (discovery, trial, and appellate processes), and the legal terms used in court reporting.

Second Semester- Machine Shorthand II 
Continued development of realtime shorthand skills through readback, machine practice, and transcription. Students will also have in-depth coverage of grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, vocabulary, and proofreading skills necessary to produce transcripts and will be introduced to medical terms and anatomy as it relates to court reporting.

Prerequisite course: Machine Shorthand I

Third Semester- Court Reporting Technology II
Continued development of realtime shorthand skills through readback, machine practice, and transcription. Students will also receive continued instruction in the operation, maintenance, and assembly of a computer-aided transcription system, inlcuding the computer functions necessary for transcript production.

Prerequisite course: Machine Shorthand II

Fourth Semester- Literary/Jury Charge Dictation I 
In-depth coverage of realtime machine shorthand theory and continued skill building through readback, machine practice, and transcript production. Students will also receive continued instruction in the skills necessary to develop speed and accuracy in writing and transcribing literary/jury charge dictation and will receive instruction in the role of the court reporter in court proceedings and/or depositions.

Prerequisite course: Court Reporting Technology II

Fifth Semester- Literary/Jury Charge Dictation II
In this course, students continue to develop and finalize speed requirements in machine shorthand writing. Students are given question and answer, literary, and jury charge dictation material at speeds of 200 to 225 words per minute. Students will continue to apply the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation to produce quality transcripts. For successful completion of this course, 95% accuracy on 5 minutes of unfamiliar dictation at 225 words per minute (wpm) is required.  Once students reach 200 wpm, they become eligible to participate in an internship. Students will benefit greatly from this interaction with professional court reporters through exposure to real-world scenarios and life on the job. The internship is required as part of the program and requires a total of 40 hours, as well as the production of a 40-page transcript. 

Prerequisite course: Literary/Jury Charge Dictation I                                                                   

Sixth Semester- Court Reporter Certification Preparation
In this course, students continue to finalize speed requirements in machine shorthand writing. Students are given question and answer, literary, and jury charge dictation material at speeds of 200 to 225 words per minute. Students will continue to apply the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation to produce quality transcripts. For successful completion of this course, 95% accuracy on 5 minutes of unfamiliar dictation at 225 words per minute is required. Students are also given materials to study on their own, including materials on state laws regarding court reporting practice in order to maximize their success on official certification testing for becoming a professional court reporter.

Tuition and Scholarships

Tuition for each semester is $1,500 and the total cost of tuition is $9,000. All payments are non-refundable after the registration deadline. 

Payment Options

  1. Installment Plan - Monthly payment of $500 is due on the 1st of each month for 18 months. Each semester will have to be paid in full to progress to the next semester.
  2. Scholarships - Scholarships from the school are given on a case-by-case, need basis, and only after completion of an interview scheduled with school administration. If approved, this scholarship will only cover a small portion of the total tuition.
  3. Loans - LSCO has partnered with Sabine Federal Credit Union to offer a low-rate educational loan.
    • Maximum Loan Amount: $10,000
    • Payback: up to 48 months
    Features:
    • Only one loan per student per member at a time
    • A loan will be made to the member with the ability to repay the loan (credit will be pulled and the member must qualify)
    • Repayment will start immediately (no grace period)
    • The loan requires proof of registration or enrollment
    The best rate is 5%, and that will be for the best-rated credit score. It will go up in 2 percent increments with the highest rate being 13%. Students will be required to open at least a $5 savings account to become a member before the loan can be funded. A savings account does not have to be opened prior to applying for the loan.

Admission Requirements

  • Students must be at least 17 years of age or older.
  • All applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent GED to graduate from the program.
  • All applicants must have good hearing ability or use a hearing device.
  • Students must be able to listen carefully and sit for short periods of 60-90 minutes uninterrupted.
  • All applicants must complete a pre-admitting interview with a school director prior to enrollment. Previous court reporting, captioning or CART experience are not required to be admitted to the school.
  • All applicants must complete a background check with Precheck, the cost is $38.00.

Enrollment Calendar

Fall 2021 (Online 2021-2022 Academic Year)

Last day to enroll: August 21, 2021

All documents/payments due for enrollment: August 21, 2021

Student Books and Equipment Purchase List

Students are required to purchase all their own textbooks, CAT software, and steno writer.  Book information will be given by the instructor at the appropriate time.

Equipment: (You will need these for your first day of class.)

      Laptop:

  • MUST run on Windows, Vista, 7,8, or 10
  • Should have at least one USB port, 8 GB or more of RAM, at least a 256 GB SSD drive, and a 2.0+ GHz processor.
  • Microsoft Office and Adobe PDF reader required.

     CAT Software:

     Steno Writer: (You may use any make/model of steno writer as long as it has the required features below; whether it is a professional/student steno writer and/or new/used, is your preference.)

     Required steno writer features:

  • Extended-DZ key and asterisk key to the right (Stenograph #38616)
  • Realtime cable

Recommended steno writer models and purchasing sites:

Recommended models: Luminex/Luminex CSE, Wave, Diamante

Recommended purchasing sites:

CSR Exam Requirements

In order to work in the state of Texas as a court reporter, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Pass the state certification exam (CSR)
  • Pass a state and federal criminal history background check

(CSR) Court Reporters Certification

Applicants must first qualify through the Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC) each time they sit for an exam. Visit the Texas Judicial Branch Court Reporters Certification Exam webpage for more information. Applicants must then register for the certification exam with the Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA), which is administering the exam on behalf of the JBCC. Visit the Texas Court Reporters Association CSR Skills Exam webpage for more information. Registration must be completed at least 30 days before each exam.

Written Exam $75

Oral/Skills Exam $125 

General Information/Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are you accredited and do you participate in FAFSA or federal funding?

A: Lamar State College Orange is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate of arts, associate of science, associate of applied science degrees, and certificates of completion. At this time, we are not participating in FAFSA or any federal funding but other payment options are available. 

Q: What are the prerequisites for this program?

A: Basic computer skills are vital in the program and necessary for the class. A student must be at least 18 years-old with a high school diploma or GED and pass a background check prior to obtaining your license. 

Q: Is this program offered online and/or face-to-face?

A: Our program is designed to be accessible to everyone, anywhere in the world. At this time our program is only offered online; but in order to remain as accessible as possible, this program is offered as an interactive online experience. 

Q: How long is the court reporting program?

A: Court reporting is a highly specialized skill, and this program is about the development of that skill. Our program is designed to be completed in 18 months. It is possible that some of the students might take longer to complete the program. It is imperative that students are focused, disciplined, and willing to put in the work required.  Attendance, Listening/Testing to Live Dictation, and practice at home are essential elements that will complement your natural ability and move you toward completion. 

Q: Do you teach captioning or CART?

A: We do not teach the courses for certification in those specific career fields. Court reporting and stenography is, however, the foundation on which you will build the skills needed for those certifications.

Q: How much time will I need to devote to this?

A: You will spend approximately four hours a day, five days out of the week on class and homework, and two hours on the other two days - at the required minimum. It is highly possible that you might find that you require more study and practice time than what we require at the minimum. 

Registration

To register for this course, complete the Registration Form.

For more information contact:

Community and Workforce Education at Workforce@lsco.edu
320 Green Ave. (office)
410 Front St. (mail)
Phone: (409) 882-3321
Fax: (409) 882-5096
Director - Thera Celestine
Instructor - Cristy Smith