[Washington, D.C.] – According to an independent study conducted by Ducker Worldwide (Ducker),
one of the nation’s leading marketplace analyst firms, demand for court reporters will exceed supply
within five years, yielding a nationwide shortage. By 2018, there will be 5,500 new court reporter
jobs available in the U.S. with the greatest demand occurring in: California, Texas, Illinois and New York,
according to the 2013-14 Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report.
Currently, there are approximately 32,000 court reporters working in the U.S. However, the workforce
population is aging, as 70 percent of court reporters are 46 years or older, researchers note. Retirement
rates are a primary driving force for the projected shortfall. Additionally, new rules adopted by the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) in 2014 to improve the quality of broadcast captioning will result in a
greater need for court reporters in the coming years.
“Projected shortages in the stenographic court reporting profession come at a time when manygraduates
with traditional four-year degrees are struggling to find employment,” said Jim Cudahy, CAE and Executive
Director of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). “Court reporting is a career path with above
average job security and earning potential, as compared to its more traditional counterparts. With
opportunities for court reporters on the rise, students who graduate will hold more than a piece of paper –
they’ll hold a job.”
With recent updates released to the Budget and Economic Outlook this August, the CongressionalBudget
Office (CBO) projected lower wages and salaries for Americans in the years ahead. Couple that with the
CBO forecast which shows our economy will grow by just 1.5 percent in 2014 – a result of poor
performance during the first quarter – and it makes job surges within professions like court reporting even
Shortage of Court Reporters Projected cont.
Ducker reports that the average starting salary for a court reporter is $43,000. According to the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics, the growth rate for court reporting salaries is expected to increase by 14 percent through
the year 2020.
Those who perform well in the profession tend to exhibit the ability to text or type quickly, stronggrammar skills
and impeccable attention to detail. Court reporting also offers a technology-forward career and post-secondary
certifications that promote continuous education and specializations within the field.
“Knowing that our profession as a whole will be experiencing a surge of opportunity in the coming years,
NCRA encourages any potential student grappling with career choices to take note of stenographic court
reporting,” said Christina Lewellen, MBA, NCRA Senior Director of Marketing & Communications. “I have the
honor of working alongside court reporters every day who not only tout strong job security and earning
potential, but the fact that their work is meaningful and rewarding in today’s marketplace.”
Despite the terminology, only 28 percent of stenographic court reporters actually work inside acourtroom
day-to-day. Most operate in a freelance capacity for legal depositions or provide ADAcompliant captioning for
medical transcriptions, educational settings and business meetings.
While there have been technological advances with voice-activated software, stenographic courtreporters
continue to provide the most accurate, reliable solutions for converting the spoken word into text. Court
reporting schools are quickly able to connect their graduates with jobs, a trend that will strengthen as the
shortage takes hold in the coming years.
For the full 2013-2014 NCRA Industry Outlook Report, or to learn more about the court reportingprofession