Court reporting ranks among the top 10 jobs that don't require a four-year degree, according to 2012 "Forbes" article. One reason may be that the median wages of court reporters are higher than those of most associate degree graduates. Court reporters usually qualify for jobs through post-secondary certificates or associate degree programs in technical schools and colleges, and additional on-the-job training. In some states, they must be licensed or certified to work in a legal environment.
The average hourly income of the 19,200 court reporters nationwide was $26.33 as of 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This equals $54,760 annually for full-time work. Most court reporters receive full-time pay transcribing proceedings in local or state courts and legislative houses. However, some reporters work variable hours freelancing as broadcast captioners or taking pretrial depositions.
Range and Median
The highest-paid court reporters received more than three times as much as the lowest earners. The lowest 10 percent earned $26,340 per year or less as of 2013, while the top 10 percent received $93,240 annually or more, according to the BLS. The median annual income of reporters -- meaning half earned more and half earned less -- came to $49,560. In contrast, the median pay of workers 25 and older with any associate degree was $40,404 annually that year.
Finding Your Industry
In 2013, court reporters worked mostly in three industries. Local governments employed the most -- 6,650 reporters -- and paid an average of $57,660 per year, according to the BLS. State government was the second largest employer, paying an average annual income of $56,850 to 6,440 reporters. Business services companies employed an additional 5,230 court reporters and paid them $46,870 annually.
Choosing a State
Five states employed more than 1,200 court reporters in 2013, according to the statistics bureau survey. The state with the most jobs was California, where 2,770 reporters earned an average of $78,220 annually. Maryland, with 2,410 reporters, came second for jobs and reported annual wages averaging $39,890, the lowest among these five states. Florida came in third for employment, with 1,460 jobs and reported average yearly pay of $43,290. New York state reported 1,390 jobs and the highest pay of all 50 states, an average of $86,130 per year, while Texas had 1,240 positions and $59,530 in average annual pay.
Looking to the Future
The BLS predicts a 10 percent increase in positions for court reporters between 2012 and 2022, compared to 11 percent for all jobs. Advances in digital audio recording will eliminate some positions. However, new graduates of training programs will enjoy very good prospects. Courts adopting the new technology will still need reporters to check transcripts. In addition, the aging population will need more reporters trained in Communication Access Real-Time Translation for assistance at medical appointments and public meetings.
2016 Salary Information for Court Reporters
Court reporters earned a median annual salary of $51,320 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, court reporters earned a 25th percentile salary of $36,870, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $72,400, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 19,600 people were employed in the U.S. as court reporters.