If you live in the state of Illinois and are interested in becoming a court reporter, then you will be happy to know that this state, unlike many others, offers a multitude of fine educational opportunities for prospective court reporters. People in other states often have to settle for only one program or to go to only online schools, often based far away from their home state.
For you, though, there are a wealth of opportunities available, but it is up to you to take full advantage of them and to make them work for you.
Top choices for prospective courtroom reporters in the state include MacCormac College, which is located in Chicago; Midstate College in Peoria; South Suburban College in Oak Forest, and Sparks College, located in Shelbyville. The reason these schools, specifically, are named is because they are all certified by the National Court Reporters Association.
This distinction is looked at very kindly by potential employers and can be a real asset to you. However, there are still many other fine colleges in the state with programs in court reporting. It is up to you to do your research and to determine not only which school can best help you to reach your specific career goals, but also which one realistically fits in with your budget, and with your own personal educational background and level.
No matter which school you attend, you are going to need to become licensed in order to work as a court reporter in the state. Not all states require licensure for court reporters, but Illinois is one of the ones that does. While many people view this requirement as a negative, don’t think of it that way.
See it as a way of learning more about your career and being the best court reporter that you can be. In truth, that is what licensure does; it weeds out the serious and suited to the career from those who are in it for all the wrong reasons.
As in most states, licensure in Illinois requires prospective court reporters to take and pass an examination. This examination consists of three parts, general dictation, definition, and testimony. The general dictation portion of the exam requires prospective court reporters to be able to reach at least 200 words per minute for five minutes without making more than 50 errors.
The definition portion of the test evaluates students’ knowledge of words commonly spoken and used in the court room, during depositions and arbitrations, and in speeches and/or hearings. The testimony portion of the examination requires prospective reporters to be able to take a two voice testimony at 225 words per minute for five minutes without making any more than 57 errors.
Once the licensure test has been passed successfully, the individual is now ready to go out and start looking for jobs in court reporting. Generally, the higher one’s scores, the more quickly he or she will get hired in the field.