Hobbyists and Those Interested in Joining a Court Reporting School, Read This

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If you are just getting into steno for the fun of it or if you are new to all of it and are looking into attending a school, I will tell you what I told my brother. You only need THREE things initially.

(1) student machine – I recommend the Wave (900)
(2) theory book – I recommend the Stenomaster theory book (200)
(3) student software – I recommend Eclipse (300-400) or DigitalCAT (Free)

If you are a hobbyist, you might want to start off with the software Plover because DigitalCAT is only free to students enrolled in a school. Plover is truly free, though it will not come with many advanced features. However, you don’t need these if you’re not monetizing this craft.

Also, if you are a hobbyist, you may prefer a theory that requires more strokes because there is no use in remembering short forms for words if it’s just something you will do in free time, not regularly. So I recommend StenEd for those who plan to never monetize.

Finally, the only other things you will need is tuition, which Mark Kislingbury’s school offers free dictation with the tuition cost. So that eliminates the 500 you would want to spend on tuition over the course of school. So that’s (4) tuition and (5) dictation.

The only other things you will need during school is three books: one legal, one medical, and one grammar. That’s it! The big costs come at the end as you’re about to graduate (testing fees, membership fees, and professional software/machine).

Please view my post on everything you will want to know before enrolling into a school, the questions you should ask yourself if this career is for you: here.

4 thoughts on “Hobbyists and Those Interested in Joining a Court Reporting School, Read This

  1. Are you still doing Court Reporting? If so, how do you like it as a career now? Do you work in a court room, or somewhere different? I was watching your youtube videos but haven’t seen an up to date one for Stenography. I’m just now getting prepared for school and was just looking for more information about it. I’m hoping that I have made the right career choice, there are so many articles online that say it’s not a good career to go into and then there’s also the ones that say it’s one of the best careers to go into so I have no clue.
    Hope to talk to you soon! Thanks!
    – Haley

    • Haley, I’m still doing court reporting. Even though YouTube has become a second career for me, I do not want to quit steno because I enjoy it too much. Court reporting is not enjoyable for people for three reasons: (1) They did not expect it to be so much work. I knew what I was getting myself into. School is a reflection of what the real work is like: challenging and all-engrossing.

      (2) Reporters are not realtime. Court reporting is in no way enjoyable if you cannot write cleanly soon after school because you will spend so many hours editing and also will not be able to take the highest paying jobs. I was providing realtime about a year after graduating (the average time to realtime is about 3 years). During those three years, a lot of new reporters quit because it is too demanding for the pay. That is the nature of it, however. The money and enjoyment comes with realtime. There is a pride you get in your work as well, which contributes to confidence and skill.

      (3) Reporters are not choosy with their jobs and the sector/firms they choose to work in. I knew I could never be happy in freelance because of the scheduling (no predictability or autonomy) and ever present backlog. So I moved on to the facets that I knew I would like that provided balance (with pay less): captioning and radio.

      Knowing these three things, court reporting as a career will not disappoint. My one tip: Freelance is usually the first students walk into, yet the most challenging. Only the tough as nails women do well there. It’s impossible to be sweet and not let the firms and attorneys walk over you. These are things to consider, when deciding which would be the best fit for you.

  2. I am a stay at home mom and will be for the next 4 years. So I want to start studying (I’ll only have about 2 hours per day 6 days a week). So my question is…is this career feasible to accomplish by studying intermittently?

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