If you live in the state of Alabama and have an interest in becoming a court reporter, then you will be happy to know there are many wonderful educational and advancement opportunities that you can choose to take advantage of to get to where you wish to be.
The level of education you will need to work as a court reporter will depend upon the exact type of court reporting that you wish to do. Novice voice writers, for example, are often working in just a few months time. Real time stenographic court reporters, which are what most people think of when they think of court reporters, however, often must complete around three years of schooling.
Once you have decided which type and level of court reporting is right for you, your next step is to find a school that can teach you the skills that you will need to succeed. Fortunately, Alabama is home to many such schools and programs. For best results, do try and pick a program that has been approved and certified by the National Court Reporters Association whenever possible.
Attending one of these schools will ensure that you get the exact right training you need for success in the field. Do be aware, however, that they often have stricter entry guidelines as well as qualifications for graduating. For those who are serious about succeeding in the field, though, there really are no better schools to attend.
The two main colleges for court reporting in Alabama include Gadsden State Community College, which is located in Gadsden, and the Prince Institute, which is in Montgomery. Both of these schools are certified by the National Court Reporters Association. Gadsden State Community College and the Prince Institute are both fairly small schools, but they offer big opportunities.
Gadsden State is a traditional community college, and the Prince Institute is a trade school. Either choice is good, and there are also some good non-certified schools throughout the state as well. It is up to you to pick the school that fits both your career goals in the field as well as your budget.
Once you do have a degree in court reporting, you can then, if you wish, pursue one or several different certifications. Certifications are optional but, once earned, they allow you more career opportunities and greatly increase your chances of advancement in the field.
Available certifications that you might consider include Registered Merit Reporter, Registered Diplomate Reporter, Certified Realtime Reporter, Certified Broadcast Reporter, Certified Broadcast Captioner, or Certified CART Provider, all of which are offered by the National Court Reporters Association.
While this association is certainly the most well known and prestigious organization that deals with court reporting as a profession and with certifying court reporters and their learning institutions, there are also many other organizations out there, many of them worthwhile, offering their own unique certifications. Do your research to see if one of these might be a good fit for you as well.