Court Reporting School or Home Study? Which Is Better?

mailbag.jpgI got a question via email yesterday from a prospective court reporting student. I thought the question was interesting so I've posted it here for others to read.

I hope you can take a minute to help me do my due diligence in the cour reporting field. I am looking at going to school for Court Reporting, so I am contacting as many agencies as possible. I am in Arizona. When you hire reporters to you look for an associates degree or simply the state certification requirements being met? I am very torn between a 2-3 year program iwth a degree (AAS) or doing a short term home study course. Thank you for your time, your response is very appreciated.
-KB From Arizona
Dear KB,
Thank you for writing to me! I personally think that court reporting is the best profession in the world! Maybe I'm biased, but I know no other career that affords as much flexibility and good pay as does court reporting.Now about your questions... When I hire court reporters to work for me they are actually independent contractors. They actually don't work for anybody but themselves. They all receive 1099s at the end of the tax year. They are responsible to pay their own taxes throughout the year. (Remember what I said about flexibility!) But to answer your question, I do not care about an associate's degree. I look for the state cert and professionalism and that's it.

Not to sway you either way regarding the 2-3 year program versus the home study course -- BUT -- I've never met a working court reporter who did it through the home study method. Now that's not to say they do not exist. They probably do and perhaps I've just never run into them. However, the vast majority -- in fact all -- of the working court reporters I know have all attended programs either at private or community colleges. I personally went to a private school and can attest to the program being a success.

(My school is

And I know that many people do very well from the community college programs as well.I guess in a nutshell, the advantage that I perceive about the AAS program is not the degree. It's the focused intensity of the program itself. Again -- not to say you can't be focused and intense on your own via a short term self-study course. You personally probably have the drive and the dedication to get through court reporting school or anything else. But maybe for a lot of people having the accountability and teacher support system that a school provides is key to getting out quickly and getting working as a court reporter.

Still, go with whichever one you think is the wisest choice for you!  I'm rooting for you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Todd Olivas

Todd Olivas is a court reporter and entrepreneur.
He founded TO&A in 2003.

  Comment by Ms Williams | Saturday, August 30, 2008
This was very helpful as I am an ex-court reporting student who attended a private school in Los Angeles; my family obligations forced me to put school on hold. But I have always seen court reporting in my future and will continue. I am currently an online student at University of Phoenix with aspirations of attending a junior college in Phoenix that offers a degree program for court reporting in which I plan on pursuing.

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