Court recording monitor salary & career outlook
Court reporters transcribe verbatim accounts of trials, meetings and other legal proceedings. Their transcriptions must be accurate and thorough, and they may be used as legal proof.
In the past, court reporters relied on stenotype machines and voice writing to create real-time accounts of what was happening, but now audio recording technology is playing a larger role. Court recording monitors create transcriptions based on audio recordings and notes taken during proceedings. They must ensure that the audio equipment is recording properly and take notes on speakers, exhibits, witnesses and jurors. Later, they use their recording and notes to create a verbatim transcript of events.
Court recording monitors are responsible for each step of the transcription process, from taking care of audio equipment to creating a written transcript. Recordings are generally done on digital equipment, but occasionally analog tape recorders are used.
Court recording monitors must be familiar with a variety of equipment and know how to ensure high sound quality. They should also have excellent listening skills and a firm grasp of English grammar and language.
Court recording monitor salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median national salary for court reporters, which includes court recording monitors, was $47,810 in 2009. The top ten percent earned $89,240 and above, and salary varied based on location, industry and experience.
The BLS reports the following states had the highest average salaries for court reporters in 2009, with cost-of-living rank from ACCRA:
- Oregon: $100,590, number 38
- New York: $80,920, number 45
- Colorado: $78,300, number 33
- California: $77,780, number 48
- Washington: $69,200, number 37
Court reporter salaries in Oregon, Colorado and Washington are favorable considering the states' relatively low costs of living.
Business support services and local government are the industries employing the largest number of court reporters. In 2009, local government paid the highest average wages at $56,570 per year, while business support services paid less, with an average salary of $47,290.
Court recording monitors wishing to earn more money or advance their careers may benefit from certification from the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers. To become certified, court recording monitors must have two years of experience and pass written and practical exams.
Becoming a court recording monitor
While stenotype court reporting positions generally require at least two years of training, there is no formal training program for court recording monitors. Often, court recording monitors receive on-the-job training that introduces them to the required equipment and technology. Courses in legal proceedings, computer technology and transcription may help court recording monitors succeed when they begin their careers.
Court recording monitor career outlook
The BLS expects employment of court reporters as a whole to increase by 18 percent from 2008 to 2018. This faster-than-average growth will be driven by an increased demand for real-time transcription and captioning services. Court recording monitors, in particular, should experience increased job prospects in the courtroom as some courts replace stenotypists with audio recording equipment. Job prospects are expected to be especially strong in rural areas and large cities.
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