If you dream of becoming a court reporter in and/or for the state of Wisconsin, then you should know, plain and simple, that you have quite a long road ahead of you. Becoming a court reporter is not something that can happen overnight. It takes formal education and/or extensive training, and the work itself, once you are employed, can be challenging at times.
However, there is an upside to jobs in the field. In addition to the work being work that many people come to find personally rewarding, court reporters tend to earn above average salaries and to enjoy excellent job security. IF you want to take advantage of these things and to have them for yourself one day, then it is up to you to take the steps necessary to get off to a proper start in the field.
The first step doesn’t really require much “real” work from you at all. Instead, all you are asked to do is to spend some time researching the field in general. This may sound overly simplistic, but you would be shocked at the amount of people who enroll in court reporting programs without having a real clue as to what court reporting is all about or what they will study or even do in the industry.
Don’t let this happen to you! Commit yourself to learning all that you can about the court reporting field. Also, as you learn, spend some time assessing your own personal strengths and weaknesses and your own reasons for wanting to become a court reporter.
To be well suited to the job you should be patient, hardworking, attentive to detail, a good listener, capable of working both alone and in groups, and you should, most importantly, truly like this line of work and have a real interest in and passion for it.
You should not become a court reporter just for the salary, benefits, or security. While these are all great bonuses to a career in the field, they are not good reasons to go into it. They will not see you through the hard work days and the stresses that sometimes come up for court reporters. No, the only thing that will do that is a true love for this job, and that is not something that can be manufactured. You either have it or you don’t, so be honest with yourself.
When you have taken a good, long look at yourself and at the court reporting industry and how well the two of you match up, then it is time to consider the many different jobs within the field; there are several. Many people do not realize it, but court reporters can actually work in a wide variety of different capacities.
You should familiarize yourself with all of them in an effort to find the job that you are the best suited to. This is also a good time to think back to those strengths and weaknesses you came up with earlier, and to match your skills to a job of your choosing.
When you have found a job that you think you would like to do in the field and that you would be well suited to, then you need to learn about the educational and/or training requirements for that job.
Be realistic about how much schooling you are willing to attend and about your own budget and what kind of education you can afford to finance. Remember that as you plan your education, it is up to you to tailor it to meet your specific career goals.
Depending upon what you wish to do in the field, you may require an associate’s degree or even a bachelor’s degree. Associate’s degrees can usually be earned in only about two years, typically from community colleges or online schools, and many of these programs are designed to work around busy professional or family schedules, making it possible for anyone to go back to school.
Other jobs in the field will require bachelor’s degrees. These higher level degrees are usually earned in about four years time, most often from traditional colleges and universities.