In the beautiful state of Maine, there are a multitude of options available for those who wish to pursue careers in court reporting. Many professionals in the field simply attend a program at a trade school or a community college, which may or may not result in an actual degree, in order to work in a particular capacity as a court reporter.

The majority of professionals, however, enter into court reporting after having a career in or studying some broader aspect of the law and/or the criminal justice or judicial system. It is these candidates that tend to earn the highest pay, the most benefits, and the most prestige.

However, neither one is the “right” answer; the right choice is simply to do what is the best fit for you and your career goals.

No matter what you decide, there are some wonderful schools offering court reporting and related programs in the state of Maine. Popular options include Husson University, located in Bangor, and offering various level programs in criminal justice, paralegal studies, and criminal justice administration; Saint Joseph’s College, located in Standish, and offering online programs in addition to traditional education programs.

Southern Maine Community College in South Portland; Thomas College in Waterville; the University of Maine at Augusta, which has certification programs in addition to traditional undergraduate programs; and the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

While the above choices certainly represent some of the most common picks in the state of Maine, they are in no way your only options. This is especially true thanks to the onslaught of online schools in today’s society. Maine residents today can choose to attend a school that is thousands of miles away and that they never have to visit in person thanks to the wonders of modern technology.

In addition to offering a much wider choice to students, online schools also tend to be much cheaper than traditional schools and, best of all, allow students to set their own hours and schedules, making it easy to balance a full course load with work or family responsibilities.

Do be careful, however, when choosing an online school, or any school really, to make sure that it is fully accredited. Remember that there are a lot of scams out there, so be selective, keep your eyes peeled, and research each and every school and its accreditation status thoroughly before enrolling and certainly before paying any tuition.

Also, even after you have completed your initial degree and/or started working in the field, your education should not just abruptly end. It is wise for you to continue seeking out professional and personal growth opportunities that are related to the field. Many people, for example, seek out certifications in specific areas of court reporting.

Certifications, which are granted by a number of institutions and bodies, are like stamps of approval saying that you know your stuff and are capable and competent at your job. They can usually be earned in a brief amount of time, in a highly specialized subject area, and are affordable.

While they are certainly not a substitute for an education, they can greatly help to improve your salary, your chances of employment if not yet employed in the field, and your chances of promotion if you are already working.

Your entire education will go a lot more smoothly if you plan it out from start to finish now. Sure, you might have to make some changes or adjustments along the way, but generally, you can stay on track better and accomplish your goals more quickly with a plan in place